Good Wednesday, everyone.
Boy, Tuesday sure was fun. First, there is just a real energy any time the sun is out and it is warm. I made the drive to Lake Wallenpaupack for the big No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup between North Pocono and the host Buckhorns. I couldn’t wait to see some of the best track and field athletes in the Lackawanna Track Conference. And they didn’t disappoint.
Let’s start with this budding rivalry. North Pocono head coach Jason Sepkowski and Wallenpaupack coach Mark McHugh were teammates during the Golden Age of North Pocono football and track and field. They are dear and longtime friends. McHugh had Sepkowski as a groomsman in his wedding. They are old school track and field coaches. This sport means something to them both, and that was bred in them when they were part of a dominant program at the conference and District 2 Class 3A levels. They are great for the sport. They promote their kids and they motivate each of them to take pride in their teams and programs.
- North Pocono has won 14 LTC Division titles, including 2 of the last 4 in Division II.
- Wallenpaupack has won 8 LTC Division titles, including last season.
The intensity was evident throughout the meet. Then the performances started rolling in. North Pocono’s Matt Slagus set a school record in the shot put with a mark of 55 feet, 9 inches. It’s the second meet in a row where he broke the mark in the event for the South Dakota commit. This kid is going to graduate as one of — if not the — most accomplished throwers in the history of the LTC. His career-best distances are mind-boggling.
Slagus By the numbers
Best distance in history of LTC for the discus. Set Jack Roddick Invitational at Shippensburg University.
North Pocono school record in shot put.
Nationally ranked distance for the Hammer Throw.
No. 2 in the state for the indoor season for the Weight Throw.
North Pocono school record for shot put during indoor season.
That just got things started. Teammates Matt Craig (100, javelin) and Joey Thiel (long, triple) each won two events, and David Haines ran a time of 10:08.34 to win the 3,200. North Pocono had a big day overall, combining its balance across the entire 18 events in winning 82-68.
Wallenpaupack had its share of outstanding performances, as well. Senior Chad Vasey won the 400 in 52.44 seconds and the 200 in 23.24. He also finished second in the first 100 race of his career and helped the Buckhorns win the 1,600 relay.
Sophomore Tyler Wirth really put on a show. He ran on the winning 3,200 relay, then used a strong finish to turn back Haines in the 1,600 with a blistering time of 4:23.14. That is unofficially the No. 8 time in the state this season according to pa.milesplit.com. Then, Wirth pushed past Randy Bocan to win one of the best finishes I have ever witnessed in the 800. He crossed in 2:01.24, only .02 ahead of Bocan.
For this early in the season, those times are almost off the charts.
Wrapping it all up, the meet really got the juices going. It’s just unfortunate that the LTC only has 5 meets this season and 2 are already in the books. This was a good one, and it was neat to see Sepkowski and McHugh shake hands after and share in the great competition their teams just had.
Here is video from the North Pocono-Wallenpaupack meet:
Around the track
OK, yes, the No. 1 vs. No. 2 battle will always take the spotlight, but it was a very good Tuesday across the LTC.
Congratulations to West Scranton boys. The Invaders, who have some of the most gifted athletes in the conference this spring, defeated Scranton Prep, 97-38, and put an end to a 25-meet losing streak in division meets. DaShawn Minnick, a state-medal winner in the long jump last season, won the long and triple jumps, Tamon Brown won the 100 and 200, and Colin Kelly won the 400 and high jump for West Scranton. The team also has a couple of pretty formidable relay teams at the 400- and 1,600-meter distances.
- Montrose got three wins from Collin Chidester and Colin Mondi to open its season with a victory over Elk Lake. The Meteors have established themselves as the class of the LTC Division IV. They have won four straight championships and haven’t lost to a Division IV team since the conference moved to four divisions, a stretch of 21 meets.
- Abington Heights ran its dual-meet winning streak to 65 straight in LTC girls action. The Lady Comets defeated Honesdale, 106-44, and have won 75 of their last 77 dual meets since 2005.
Record Roll Call
Another track and field day, another day to break records. Clearly, with the weather so nice, athletes are going to rise to the occasion. There were four school records set:
- Matt Slagus, North Pocono: Hit a mark of 55-9 in the shot put
- Greg Miller, Scranton: Set a school mark for the second straight meet in shot put at 48-10.5
- Dani Heine, Abington Heights: Cleared a school-record height of 11-2 in the pole vault
- Victoria Atkinson, Scranton Prep: Set school record at 9-6 in the pole vault.
Just keep an eye on the developing story in the boys Class 3A shot put. Matt Slagus is the favorite and has the best distance of the season at 55-9. Scranton’s Greg Miller has set and broken the school record twice now too and has a mark of 48-10.5. Delaware Valley’s Nick Haydu hit a distance of 48-5.75 in a win over Western Wayne.
Weather permitting (and all teams should run even if there is a drizzle), there are meets scheduled in Division’s III and IV. The only person I know who melted from a little water is the Wicked Witch of the West.
Here’s the schedule:
Riverside at Carbondale Area
Dunmore at Holy Cross
- This has the potential to be a pretty good meet on the girls side with Dunmore’s speed against Holy Cross’ distance standouts.
Mid Valley at Lakeland
Blue Ridge at Lackawanna Trail
Mountain View at Susquehanna
That’s all for today.
I’ll have another blog post on Thursday recapping Wednesday’s meets.