Scoop Smith has made such a large impact in multiple sports early in his high school career that it’s sometimes easy to forget he’s only a sophomore.

Smith, a 5-foot-6, 145-pound speedster who attends Woodland Hills, has been named all-conference in football twice and all-section in basketball once, and last football season earned all-state honors for the first time. He owns college offers in both sports.

And while Smith already has an impressive resume in those sports, this teen who was given the nickname Scoop after a character on the children’s television show “Bob the Builder” has been building quite the reputation as an outstanding sprinter, too.

Smith was one of the stars of last Friday’s Butler Invitational, winning titles in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Smith bolted to personal records in both events, running the 100 in 10.62 seconds and the 200 in 22.10. The 10.62 he ran in preliminaries set a new meet record and, according to MileSplit, is the No. 4 mark in the state this season. Smith ran the final in 10.82.

“It definitely surprised me,” Smith said of the 10.62. “My first couple of meets weren’t as good as I hoped. I had run a 10.9 and an 11-flat. My starts had been bad, so I just kept working on my technique. I got out there, got out of my block, and everything felt really good.”

Smith’s performance in the 200 might have been even more surprising considering he was close to not even running in the event. His father talked him into it, though, and Smith’s time of 22.10 helped him comfortably defeat Butler’s Landon Lacey and Mt. Lebanon’s Matt Nguyen, both of whom finished in 22.54.

“It was a long day and I was tired. I just wanted to go home,” Smith said. “But my dad said, ‘You have to run the 2.’ So I did.”

As a freshman, Smith placed third in the 100 at the WPIAL Class 3A championships after running a then-PR of 10.76. He was edged out by New Castle’s Kaevon Gardner (10.70) and Canon-McMillan’s Austyn Winkleblech (10.73). Winkleblech graduated, but Gardner is back this season. He ran an 11.28 at the Butler Invitational to finish in third place.

Smith is unsure as to how much he will run the 200 this season, but he definitely has big goals in the 100. They include a WPIAL title and pushing his PR to 10.5.

“I definitely want to win WPIAL’s. That’s a big goal,” he said. “And I want to go up to states and place.”

As he pretty much always does, Smith will juggle multiple sports this spring and summer, but his load is a little lighter than it was last year.

“I’m not playing AAU basketball this summer,” he said. “I want to get bigger and stronger for football.”

Smith, who played AAU for All Ohio in the past, averaged a team-best 19 points per game for Woodland Hills his sophomore season.

There will be lots of football, though, as Smith and some of his Woodland Hills teammates will once again compete in the 2/10ths 7-on-7 league at the Wolvarena, which kicks off May 7. He’ll also play for his travel 7-on-7 team, 412 Elite. Smith said he also hopes to attend a couple of football camps, mentioning West Virginia and Penn State being among the possibilities. As a sophomore, the fleet-footed wide receiver had 44 receptions for 851 yards (19.3 yards per catch).

Smith holds football scholarship offers from Nebraska, Toledo, Temple, UNLV, Massachusetts and Robert Morris, and basketball offers from Stony Brook and Lincoln Memorial. And at this pace, it’s only a matter of time before collegiate track programs start calling, as well.

“It’s definitely a goal,” he said. “I’m only a sophomore, so hopefully my time keeps going down and down.”

Derry’s Sophia Mazzoni broke a 22-year-old meet record while winning the javelin title at last Friday’s Butler Invitational. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Mazzoni catches on quick

Since unleashing the state’s top throw on March 27, no girls javelin thrower in Pennsylvania has been able to catch up to Derry’s Sophia Mazzoni, whose background as a softball catcher has helped her become a track and field star.

Mazzoni, a junior, produced a career-best heave of 156 feet, 10 inches in her first meet of the season, and most recently won a title in the event at the Butler Invitational. Her throw of 144-5 broke a 22-year-old meet record. Mazzoni, a longtime softball player, participated in both that sport and track her freshman season before giving up softball. That was because she turned out to be a quick study in her first season throwing the javelin, as she placed third at the WPIAL Class 2A championships and qualified for the PIAA championships.

“After I made it to states I was like, ‘I think I can do something like this,’” Mazzoni recalled. “So I said my goodbyes to softball. I did it my whole life, so it was a very hard situation for me, but it was probably the best decision I’ve ever made.”

For Mazzoni, the transition from softball catcher to javelin thrower was natural. While she didn’t know it, she had essentially been grooming herself to be a javelin thrower for years.

“It’s definitely the shoulder strength and the continuous reps of throwing,” Mazzoni said when asked how softball has helped her as a javelin thrower. “I was a catcher, so I had that explosiveness off my legs. Honestly, it’s the same idea. That run up and then you just throw it as hard as you can. You build up and then you let it go.”

And go it does. After winning a WPIAL title and placing second at states last season, Mazzoni has been ever better this season. According to MileSplit, only four girls in the country have thrown farther this spring. In addition, only six girls in WPIAL history have thrown farther, according to WPIAL track historian Jim Faiella. Connellsville grad Madison Wiltrout ranks No. 1 on the WPIAL all-time list after throwing 185-8 in 2015.

After falling just short at the Butler Invitational, Butler’s Drew Griffith will again chase a sub-4-minute mile Friday when he competes in the Penn Relays. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Penn Relays

The WPIAL is stacked with high-end distance runners, and a few of them will be in Philadelphia on Friday competing in the country’s oldest and largest track and field competition.

Butler’s Drew Griffith, Ringgold’s Ryan Pajak, Mohawk’s Jaxon Schoedel and Mt. Lebanon’s Logan St. John Kletter will take part in the Penn Relays at historic Franklin Field. Griffith and Pajak will run the mile, Schoedel the 3,000, and St. John Kletter the girls 3,000. Pajak and St. John Kletter both participated in the meet last year, with Pajak finishing third in the mile and St. John Kletter second in the mile.

Griffith will shoot for a sub-4-minute mile a week after running a 4:00.77 to win the Butler Invitational. It was a new PR for Griffith, who hopes to soon be added to the list of 21 U.S. high school runners to go sub-4.

“It’s so close,” he said. “It’s a snap of a finger every single lap. I think it’s definitely possible.”

Weekend rewind

Washington’s Ruben Gordon produced one of the top performances of the weekend, as his leap of 6-7 in the high jump was a PR and earned him a title at the Washington-Greene County Championships at Peters Township. Gordon’s mark was also the best in the WPIAL this season. He’s the defending WPIAL Class 2A champ in the high jump and long jump. Canon-McMillan’s Colton Dean was named meet MVP after claiming titles in the 100, 200, 300 hurdles and long jump. … Competing at the same venue where he won the PIAA Class 3A discus title last season, Hempfield’s Peyton Murray launched a new PR of 186-3 to win the event at the Roddick Invitational, which was held at Shippensburg University’s Seth Grove Stadium. Murray’s throw was the best by a Pennsylvania athlete this season, topping the mark of 185-7 achieved two days earlier by Penn-Trafford’s Matt Sarnowski. Murray’s previous PR was his throw of 185-9 at last year’s PIAA championships.

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Brad Everett

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at