Good Wednesday everyone!
I can sum up last night’s Robert Spagna Championship meet in one word. “WOW!”
Hard to believe they pay me to come up with ways to describe what I saw, and all I am left with is a single, three-letter word. But, honestly, what more needs to be said? Well, a lot actually and that’s what I will be sharing here.
Look, the return of the Lackawanna Track Conference Championship meet, which honors the late Robert Spagna, “Mr. Track and Field,” is one of the great improvements to the local track and field landscape. It is my favorite meet of the year, because this is the best against the best on the track, in the field and on the jumping runways. Yes, the conference rightfully so awards team championships for the top scoring teams in Class 3A and Class 2A, but this is the one meet where the final races are run with no separation with regard to classification. If you win your event, you are the Lackawanna Track Conference champion. And too me, that is at the very least equivalent to, if not better than, being a District 2 champion.
You could tell how significant this meet is to the athletes. I said it last year after Matt Kravitz, who went on to win a PIAA Class 3A title in the 3,200, turned in his most impressive effort of the year in leading North Pocono to the Class 3A team title at the Spagna meet. That type of effort gives me goosebumps. This meet is where legends are born in this storied conference. Just watch the competition. It’s more intense than any district meet I have attended. The euphoric feeling of gratification is overwhelming when the kids take the medal stand.
This year’s crop of athletes stormed Scranton Memorial Stadium and gave anyone who attended a lasting memory of the talent this area is producing in a sport that measures speed, strength, athleticism, character and most important, heart. Run one lap around an oval track. Go ahead. Do it at a slow, brisk pace. Tell me how you feel after you have completed the 400 meters. Now try to do it in 1 minute. Or try going 300 meters with barriers in the way. You want to see stars after a workout? Go ahead and try going around the track twice in less than 2 minutes. Or better yet, take a spear and launch it more than 200 feet. How about pushing a 12-pound iron ball better than 50 feet. These are the accomplishments teenage athletes were achieving on a brisk, cool, autumn-like night in May.
So allow me to say this, to ALL those who poured all their energy into every event — THANK YOU!
Naturally, with the fast pace of the meet last night, and trying to post to Twitter and Facebook, and typing (I use the search and peck system) in the results, sometimes I get so caught up in doing my work, I don’t get a chance to truly breakdown what happened.
Thank goodness for these 7-day work weeks.
With my morning cup of coffee (actually 4 cups), I went through and did some research. Heading into the meet, I knew we were going to have some really good performances. But, with the way the weather has been it’s hard to anticipate just how well the athletes will perform. First place is first place, obviously, and worth a gold medal. But there are certainly different levels of first place.
A Closer Look: Girls results
Abington Heights, to nobody’s surprise, won the Class 3A title for a fifth straight season. And again, based upon the Junior High championship meets, this reign is not ending soon. Lakeland won the Class 2A girls title for a sixth straight season. The Lady Chiefs led the way with six individual event wins. That’s Class 2A athletes beating Class 3A athletes.
What more needs to be said about the careers of Lakeland’s Madison Harding and Brooke Estadt? I know, I can hear you already. Lakeland kids. Here’s the deal folks, take a look at what these two have achieved in their varsity careers in the LTC.
HARDING AND ESTADT BY THE NUMBERS
Undefeated regular seasons, LTC Division III championships and Robert Spagna Class 2A team championships.
Jordan Relays Class 2A team championships.
Jordan Relays Class 2A medals, including 8 gold medals each.
Robert Spagna individual gold medals.
Total individual points scored at the Robert Spagna Championships for Estadt (93) and Harding (92) out of a maximum of 240 points.
GIRLS PERFORMER OF THE MEET
Had to be. She won three individual events, the 100 hurdles where she defended her championship in 15.11 seconds, the 300 hurdles in 45.25 and the 200 in 26.37. She also ran the anchor leg of the 1,600 relay which won a bronze medal. She maxed out with 30 individual points for the team, which scored 87.5 on its way to a team title. Her time in the preliminaries of the 100 hurdles (15.01) is PA No. 2 in Class 2A according to pa.milesplit.com and her 300 hurdles time (45.25) is PA No. 4 in Class 2A.
This is getting all too common. She ripped up the track in the 3,200 relay, cruised to a win in a very competitive 1,600 and then smashed the meet record in the 3,200 with a time of 10:40.45 that eclipsed the mark held by Scranton Prep graduate Erin Feeney, who is at the University of Pennsylvania, by six seconds. Her time in the 3,200 is good enough for PA No. 3 in Class 3A. But, I am sure she is focusing in on the 1,600 this postseason.
Making the list
Estadt’s triple jump of 36-9.25 is PA No. 3 in Class 2A.
- Carbondale Area’s Jennifer Korty, who placed second in the 800 at 2:19.92, is now PA No. 5 in Class 2A.
- Montrose freshman Hannah Perkins had a time of 11:17.72 in the 3,200, which is PA No. 8 in Class 2A.
- Holy Cross senior Abby Corrigan finished second in the 1,600 with a time of 5:14.08, which is PA No. 9 in Class 2A.
- Western Wayne’s 1,600 relay team posted a time of 4:09.09 , which is PA No. 8 in Class 2A.
- Western Wayne freshman Trina Barcarola, who scored 22 individual points, cleared 10-6 to finish second in the pole vault for a PA No. 9 mark in Class 2A.
- Honesdale’s Gabby D’Amore had a winning toss of 134-1 in the javelin, which is PA No. 9 in Class 3A.
North Pocono freshman Lila Gaughan earned silver medals in the 400 (1:01.37) and in the long jump (17-0) where she set a school record. She broke the mark of 16-10 set by Julie Videto in 1982 (that’s a long time ago).
- Dunmore’s Gillian Coar won two gold medals. She dashed to victory in the 100 and captured the 400 by scorching the track in 1:00.11 in the 400 out of the slow heat.
- North Pocono’s Jessica Slagus won the discus at 126-4 and Lakeland’s Mikayla Marino won the shot put at 34-7.5 as both defended their LTC titles.
- Abington Heights also got wins from Dani Heine in the pole vault and Calista Marzolino in the high jump on its way to the team championship.
A Closer Look: Boys results
One of the great things at a meet like this is, inevitably, somebody emerges as a breakout start. Valley View’s Seth Ver-Non or Seth Vernon (I will get this right eventually), was that athlete last night. He started coming on late in the regular season against some of the top sprinters in the LTC Division I. At the Spagna meet, he won the 100 in an impressive time of 11.29 seconds. He added a win in the 200 at 22.66 and joined with Jake Osborne, and twins Ethan and Evan Carey to set a meet record in the 400 relay with a winning time of 43.62 seconds. The Cougars take a lot of pride in that event and after this performance, I expect Ver-Non to be one of the impact athletes at the District 2 Class 3A Championship meet next week.
BOYS PERFORMER OF THE MEET
The junior won three gold medals to account for 30 of his team’s points on the way to a team championship in Class 3A. He went after the meet record in the high jump, but fell short. His winning height of 6-6 is a PA No. 3 in Class 3A. He also posted a winning distance of 22-7 in the long jump, good enough for PA No. 8 in Class 3A. His third win came in the triple jump where I expect him to also be ranked among the top 10 tout suite.
The University of South Dakota commit smashed his meet record in the discus with a distance of 186-0, easily surpassing his 170-5 last season. His 186-0 is a PA No. 2 in Class 3A. Then, he added a win in the shot put with a meet record distance of 54-8.5, which is a PA No. 7 in Class 3A.
It happened outside Scranton Memorial Stadium, but Gavin Darcy’s winning javelin throw made noise across the state. He hit a mark of 212-10 which beat the meet record of 207-7 set in 2014 by Scranton Prep graduate and Duke University javelin thrower Nick Solfanelli. It is also the best distance for any athlete in the state of Pennsylvania in either Class 2A or Class 3A. It ranks him No. 2 in the USA, behind only Liam Christensen of Academic Magnet in South Carolina who hit 220-2 at the Penn Relays.
- Wallenpaupack’s Tyler Wirth had 20 points with two wins, including a 4:20.58 in the 1,600 and a meet record in the 800 at 1:57.15.
- Western Wayne’s Ryan Atcavage won the pole vault at 13-0, an event where he is already PA No. 2 in Class 2A, and added a win in the 300 hurdles in 40.02, which is Pa No. 3 in Class 2A.
- Montrose’s Zach Mead placed fourth in a loaded field for the 1,600, but his time of 4:24.41 earned him a PA No. 2 in Class 2A. Abington Heights’ dynamic duo of Kyle Burke (4:22.06) and Dan Uhranowsky (4:22.53) finished second and third behind Wirth.
- Carbondale Area’s Marcos Ortiz won the 110 hurdles with a time of 14.96 to set a school record and put himself at PA No. 2 in Class 2A. His teammate, Jason Jablonowski, hit a distance of 181-1 in the javelin to be a PA No. 5 in Class 2A.
- Lakeland junior Cyril Babcanec won the 400 in 50.18 for a PA No. 7 in Class 2A. He also finished second to Ver-Non in the 100 and 200 to lead the Chiefs to the Class 2A title.
The District 2 Class 2A Championships are set for Monday at Scranton Memorial Stadium at 3 p.m. The weather doesn’t look great, but it sure does look superb for that rain date of Wednesday. … WINK! WINK! HINT! HINT!
The District 2 Class 3A Championships are set for Tuesday, same bat place and same bat time.
NOTE: Athletes can only qualify for the state meet at District Championship meets.
That’s all for today.
Again, great job by the athletes. I can’t wait for the District 2 Championship meets now. Look for my list of favorites for all of the individual races in The Sunday Times.