NEPA Sports Nation

Abington Heights runners sweep both Lackawanna championships

Freshman Anna Pucilowski posted her third straight course-record performance to close out the regular season and Abington Heights turned a season-ending, championship-deciding battle of unbeatens into a runaway Oct. 18.

Pucilowski led a 1-2-3 finish by the Comets, who also placed a fourth runner in the top five of a six-team cluster meet, as they handed host Montrose its first defeat, 18-39, as one of three victories in the Lackawanna League season finale.

Abington Heights also defeated Elk Lake and Blue Ridge by the maximum, 15-50 margin.

Pucilowski finished the 2.93-mile course in 18:29.3 to win by 51.9 seconds.

Abington Heights had four of the six runners who broke the 20-minute mark.

Emma Horsley and Reese Morgan finished second and third, putting an early clinching on the victory over Montrose that was part of the Comets completing a 23-0 season in both the girls and boys leagues.

North Pocono’s Emily Franklin was fourth, followed by Maia Arcangelo from Abington Heights and Stephanie Summerville from Montrose.

Montrose defeated Valley View and North Pocono both by 21-34 scores to finish 22-1 and alone in second place in the 24-team league.

Riley Mackrell from Valley View was seventh, followed by the Montrose combination of Avery Kerr and Mary Pichette.

Hailey Hirtz completed the Abington Heights scoring by placing 10th.

Abington Heights went through the season winning all 23 Lackawanna League duals by at least a dozen points.

After handling a difficult opening combination by defeating Delaware Valley by 12 points, Honesdale by 15 and Wallenpaupack by 17, the only team to come as close as Montrose was Scranton by a 20-41 score.

The Abington Heights boys also made it to 23-0 with a sweep that included a 23-38 victory over Elk Lake, along with a 21-40 win over Montrose and a 16-47 romp over Blue Ridge.

Valley View’s Ethan Williams, Elk Lake’s Kendall Jones and Montrose’s Nate Sinkovich finished 1-2-3, but Abington Heights dominated from there with seven of the next 12 finishers.

Tommy Walsh and Nicholas Booth finished fourth and fifth to lead the Comets.

Williams won in 16:05.

Without a dominant frontrunner like Pucilowski, extreme balance and depth was the key to the season for the Abington Heights boys, who faced just one meet closer than 10 points.

“We have had multiple illnesses and injuries and because of our depth, we’ve been able to respond,” Comets coach Frank Passetti said of the boys team. “Our seventh, eighth and ninth runners have really stepped up and filled spots.”

The perfect record was seconds from being ruined in the home meet against Scranton Sept. 29.

Any team can mathematically clinch a victory by grabbing the first three spots in dual competition.

“Scranton was scary,” Passetti said. “Less than 100 meters from the finish, we were getting 1-2-3’d.”

Tommy Walsh, just returning to the lineup following an absence, rallied to take third in the dual with Scranton and fourth overall in the six-team race, allowing for the 29-30 victory in the only close call of the season.

“Then our fourth through eighth runners came in before their fourth and fifth,” Passetti said. “The depth – and kind of the next-man up approach – have gotten it done in assuring that we not only have remained competitive, but are also winning.”

And, remained on top of the Century Dental Associates Cross Country Power Rankings of District 2 teams for every week of the season.


Complete scores from all three Lackawanna League, season-ending boys and girls cluster meets can be found at: Tuesday’s District 2 scoreboard – NEPA Sports Nation.

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