Hello. … How are you?
Great start to a song by the Electric Light Orchestra’s hit “Telephone Line” and a great way to start our final Thursday in April. Hard to believe, but it’s almost over. That’s right, the high school track and field regular season is almost finished. And you can tell.
Teams are starting to clinch championships and athletes are beginning to make the training shift to the postseason. This is when things get really exciting, but it’s important to remember that track and field is a team sport first, and any time you can attend a big dual meet and see the performances and the support in a collective effort of individual talent toward a team goal it becomes a pretty inspiring competition to witness.
That’s what I had the pleasure of doing Wednesday. It was a big day in the Lackawanna Track Conference Divisions II and III.
First, Wallenpaupack girls defeated Western Wayne and claimed at least a tie for the Division II championship. The Lady Buckhorns really had outstanding performances across the board, including season-best times from All-Region standout Alyssa LaFave, who is headed to Marist College. And because of the condensed schedule, track and field does not break ties for division titles, so Wallenpaupack earned no worse than a team title with its win.
Wallenpaupack girls have won 6 LTC Division titles: 1991, 1992, 2000, 2003, 2014, 2016.
Here are some highlights from Wednesday’s meet:
Also, Western Wayne has some really outstanding young athletes in girls track. This is a program that will be heard from in the next few seasons, and will have an impact this postseason to say the least.
Second, shortly after Wallenpaupack won, I received a text message that Lakeland girls defeated Dunmore on the final event of the meet in an epic battle in Division III. Sorry, I missed this one as Lakeland’s Brooke Estadt set a school record in the long jump at 17-2 and Dunmore’s Gillian Coar continued her assault on the record books with a wins in the 100 and 400. (More on this later). The Lady Chiefs’ Taylor Flynn and Madison Harding took first and second in the javelin to give their team 8 points and an 82-68 win that kept their winning streak going at 26 straight, while clinching a fourth straight Division III title.
Lakeland girls have won 16 division titles in the last 24 years: 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.
That was an exciting day, but the championship dominoes started tumbling on Tuesday. Abington Heights, which has its division finale at West Scranton today, clinched a tie for the girls Division I title with a win over Scranton Prep as Katie Dammer won the 1,600 and 800. The Lady Comets also won their 61st straight dual meet. Again, the pursuit of history will end with the final two dual meets of this regular season, but even my Lafayette College education can figure out if the Lady Comets win out that will put the number at 63 straight. The record of 69 straight held by Carbondale Area will then be under attack in 2017. If the LTC approves a 7-meet schedule, guess what? The finale would be the record-breaker. Great stuff going into next spring, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.
Abington Heights has won 17 division titles, including 10 in a row: 1978, 1979, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.
Elk Lake girls earned at least a tie for the Division IV championship with its win over Mountain View. Justine Johns had the unusual double with wins in the 3,200 and the pole vault. The Lady Warriors still have a challenging meet in the finale against Montrose, but the worst that could create is a tie for the division crown.
Elk Lake has won 6 division titles in the LTC: 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016.
On the boys side, things are a lot less clear.
First, Lakeland defeated Dunmore for its 25th straight dual-meet win that earned at least a tie for the LTC Division III crown. Garth Estadt won the 300 hurdles, long and high jumps for the Chiefs. The Lakeland program also secured a record 27th division title. This winning streak is just the latest for the Chiefs, who had two separate 51-meet win streaks (1984-1990 and 1994-2000) and have another of 29 straight wins (2002-2005).
Lakeland competed in Division I until 2013: 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.
Now the rest of the LTC is coming down to the wire.
- Division I: Both Scranton and Valley View posted wins to improve to 4-2 overall, but they are also both unbeaten in Division I. I should have seen this one coming. They will meet Monday at Scranton Memorial Stadium. The Knights and the Cougars shared last season’s title.
- Division II: It doesn’t get any better than two unbeaten teams facing off in the finale. North Pocono (6-0 overall, 3-0 in division) and Wallenpaupack (6-0, 3-0) will got to battle in what promises to be a great dual meet on Tuesday.
- Division IV: Elk Lake and Montrose are both unbeaten in the division. Montrose has won the last three division crowns and while it had its dual-meet winning streak stopped two weeks ago, it has never lost in Division IV — a stretch of 19 meets.
Abington Heights at West Scranton
Lasagna Invitational at Wyalusing High School
Valley View at Scranton — Both boys teams are unbeaten in division
West Scranton at Scranton Prep
Western Wayne at Delaware Valley
Division I-II Crossover
Honesdale at Abington Heights
Mid Valley at Lakeland
Riverside at Carbondale Area
Dunmore at Holy Cross
Elk Lake at Montrose — Both boys teams are unbeaten in division
Mountain View at Susquehanna
Blue Ridge at Lackawanna Trail
North Pocono at Wallenpaupack — Both boys teams are unbeaten overall
61st Jordan Relays, Scranton Memorial Stadium, 6 p.m.
- Girls AAA: Pittston Area
- Girls AA: Lakeland
- Boys AAA: Scranton Prep
- Boys AA: Lakeland
Here is the best track and field poll, because here at the High School Sports Blog, we don’t need to give trophies to everyone.
1. Abington Heights (5-0). Beat Scranton Prep, 94.5-45.5. Note: See above! The Lady Comets have already clinched 10th straight LTC Division I title.
2. Lakeland (6-0). Beat Dunmore, 82-68. Note: Lady Chiefs have won four straight LTC division titles and finish against Mid Valley.
3. Wallenpaupack (6-0). Beat Western Wayne, 104.5-45.5. Note: Lady Buckhorns clinched tie for second division title in three seasons.
4. Elk Lake (6-0). Beat Mountain View, 91-58. Note: Clinched tie for Division IV title and have won fourth in last six years.
5. Western Wayne (4-2). Lost to Wallenpaupack, 104.5-45.5. Note: A young team and still has a win over North Pocono to stay in poll.
Watch list: North Pocono (5-1), Dunmore (4-2), Holy Cross (4-2), Montrose (4-2).
1. North Pocono (6-0). Beat Honesdale, 100-50. Note: The Trojans are seeking their 15th LTC Division title when they run against Wallenpaupack on Tuesday.
2. Lakeland (6-0). Beat Dunmore, 110-40. Note: Chiefs are aiming for the program’s 21st undefeated regular season when they face Mid Valley.
3. Wallenpaupack (6-0). Beat Western Wayne, 99-55. Note: Wallenpaupack is seeking its first LTC division title since 2005.
4. Scranton (4-2). Beat West Scranton, 106-44. Note: Knights are trying to win third LTC division title in program history when they host Valley View.
5. Valley View (4-2). Beat Delaware Valley, 89-61. Note: The Cougars are trying to win their 11th LTC division title overall and 10th in 11 years when they face Scranton.
Watch list: Elk Lake (6-0), Carbondale Area (5-1), Montrose (5-1).
HIGHLIGHTS (Hidden Stars edition)
Shannon Vennie, Wallenpaupack
When you are in a big dual meet you need big efforts from everybody. Vennie had three individual wins, taking the long jump (15-1) and the discus (111-10) with season-best marks and the pole vault (8-6) in win over Western Wayne.
DaShawn Minnick, West Scranton
Sure, he had second-place and third-place finishes in a showdown with Scranton’s Ky’Ron Harbin and Nick Batian, but Minnick had a great day. He set a school record at 22-1 and also landed past 40 feet for his first meet competing in the triple jump. He was also a member of the school-record setting 400 relay for the Invaders.
Taylor Flynn, Lakeland
The Lady Chiefs have their fair share of standouts and Flynn has done more than her part during their four-year undefeated stretch. A past LTC champion in the discus, she led a Lakeland sweep in the discus (95-4.5) and a 1-2 in the javelin (93-0) and took second in the shot for 13 team points in a win over Dunmore.
David Haines, North Pocono
With Matt Kravitz moving around the lineup, Haines has been a solid No. 2 in the distance races for the Trojans. He picked up a win in the 1,600 with a time of 4:44.3 and was second in the 3,200 in a key win over Honesdale.
Mikaela Meaders, Elk Lake
She does any event the Lady Warriors need. In the division-clinching win over Mountain View, she grabbed wins in the 100, javelin and the triple jump, while also running on the winning 400 relay.
Zach Mead, Montrose
Starting to hit his stride at the right time. He posted wins in the 1,600, the 800 and as a member of the 1,600 relay. His time of 4:34.9 for the 1,600 is one of the best in the entire LTC.
Gillian Coar, Dunmore
Ok, it’s almost getting silly. Every time out, she is smashing records. Against Lakeland, she posted the best time in the 400 at 59.8 in the conference and she tied the school record with a 12.7 in the 100.
Yes, Cy is a two-time state medal winner already in his brief career, but the sophomore won the 100, 200, and 400 in a win over Dunmore to lead the Chiefs to their 25th straight dual-meet win. Cy’s brother, Drew, is also a past state- and district-medal winner at Lakeland.
Skyla Wilson, Susquehanna
Uh, huh. I had a feeling this was going to be the case. Skyla ran a 15.3 in the 100 hurdles and a 45.9 in the 300 hurdles, and at most schools those would be school records. But, at Susquehanna, Skyla’s mother, Teresa Covert, has those marks and she was one of the greats of all time.
In addition to the ones who appeared above, there were several other athletes who etched their names in the record books either Tuesday or Wednesday.
Here is a list:
- Ky’Ron Harbin, Scranton: Set marks in the long jump (22-11) and triple jump (47-8). Also added a win in the high jump for the Knights in a win over West Scranton.
- Taylor Robinson, West Scranton: Ran a super time of 12.3 in the 100 against rival Scranton.
- Brooke Estadt, Lakeland: Set school mark of 17-2 in the long jump. She also owns the school record in the triple jump at 38-0 set last season.
- Maddy Swartout, Valley View: Broke her own school record in the pole vault by clearing 9-8 against Delaware Valley.
- Gavin Darcy, Dunmore: Broke his school record that he set last week with a heave of 188-9 against Lakeland.
- Matt Kinback, Lackawanna Trail: Broke his record in 1,600 with time of 4:36.9 in finishing second to Zach Mead from Montrose.
That is it for today.
Look, all our athletes need is a break with the weather. When it is sunny and in the 60s the records, time, distances and heights all get much better. But, Mother Nature has something personal against spring sports athletes whose season is all of about 4 weeks long in NEPA. I mean, picture the high school football season ending after 4 games, or the high school basketball season over after 8 games? That;s what these kids have to deal with and that is a shame.
Any way, it looks troublesome for next week. It’s tough to postpone too because Jordan Relays will be Thursday and ADs and coaches have to weigh the value of a dual meet over trying to win the Jordan Relays, which has become a very exciting night for the kids.
I can only hope for the best and you should too, because judging by what we have seen from our LTC athletes this regular season, they are ready to make a big statement in the postseason.