Feb. 28—WPIAL's Finest almost was the finest in the nation.
The top-level 3,200-meter relay grouping of Greensburg Salem's Quintin Gatons, Knoch senior Mike Formica, Riverside senior Colby Belczyk and Deer Lakes junior Carson McCoy finished second in the championship race Saturday evening at Adidas Nationals in Virginia Beach, Va.
The team, which came in as the No. 1 seed, ran to a time of 7 minutes, 53.83 seconds, about two seconds behind No. 4 seed and event winner IMG Elite (7:51.92) from Bradenton, Fla.
"I thought we ran a great race today," Formica said.
"The race played out a little weird. It was more of a tactical race. I think we gave it everything that we had. At the end of the day, that's all we could do."
The team was a couple of seconds off the 7:50.60 qualifying mark it recorded at a meet at Youngstown State on Feb. 13.
That time had surpassed the previous top national mark by six seconds and also crushed the previous YSU facility record.
"It was really cool to see how we were able to come together and accomplish what we did," McCoy said.
"It was nice to come down (to nationals) and really enjoy ourselves."
Both Formica and McCoy will return to the track at 3:10 p.m. Sunday for the championship mile.
They are two of four from Pennsylvania and the only two from the WPIAL entered in the race.
Gatons ran the Open mile on Friday and placed eighth overall in a time of 4:24.12, just three seconds off the winning time of 4:21.07.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .