NEPA Sports Nation

Dallas girls shine in title showdown

By Tom Robinson,

YATESVILLE – Dallas and Pittston Area staked out their usual positions as the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 girls track and field progressed – at the top of the standings.

Then, their April 28 meeting at Pittston Area was postponed and rescheduled to the end of the season.

It was easy to see what Thursday’s meet was going to mean.

“Usually, for the last seven, eight, nine years, it comes down to us and Pittston or us and Hazleton,” Dallas coach Ed Radzinski said after his team’s championship-clinching, 97-53 victory. “We were supposed to have Pittston on the 28th, but then it got (postponed) because they had a COVID situation.

“When they put it on the 13th, I said, ‘you’re kidding me. The stars are going to be aligned and we’re both going to be undefeated and going for the championship’.”

For the 10th time in the past 13 seasons, at least a share of that championship belongs to Dallas after the Mountaineers used a 31-1 scoring advantage in the distance events and four wins from Alondra Church to dominate the meet.

A school-record effort of 15.0 seconds by Pittston Area’s Giavanna Innamorati in the 100-meter hurdles and a second-place finish to Church by Jakiya Kroon in the 100 dash kept the Lady Patriots within 15-8 after three events, but Dallas quickly took control from there.

“Our weakness is distance and they exploited that,” Pittston Area coach Joe Struckus said, “and, that was probably the best sprinting team we’ve seen.”

Church won the 100-, 200- and 400 dashes. She also got a win as the anchor of the 1600 relay team that ran unopposed as the last event on the track in a meet that had gotten away from Pittston Area.

“Jakiya Kroon has definitely been my biggest competition in the conference,” Church said. “Today, she really pushed me and I’m sure I pushed her.

“I couldn’t thank her enough for actually being that sort of competition that I needed. They made a lot of our girls step up to the plate.”

Just five days before competing in the District 2 Class 3A Championships, Dallas came up with a strong all-around performance. That could bode well for Tuesday.

“These kinds of meets make kids rise to the occasion,” Radzinski said. “We have a bunch of kids who are peaking at the right time and we have depth in a bunch of events.”

Scarlett Hobson-Tomscik won the 1600 and Kaitlyn Hodakowski won the 3200, events in which Dallas finished 1-2-3. Hobson-Tomscik also won the 800 and Hodakowski anchored the winning 3200 relay team.

Calli Ogurkis picked up wins in the pole vault and 300 hurdles along with leading off the 1600 relay team.

Aria Messner led the way for Pittston Area winning all three jumping events – the long, triple and high – and running a leg of the winning 400 relay. Leah Zambetti won the discus and javelin. Innamorati set her record while winning the 100 hurdles and was also on the 400 relay.

Dallas, which won its third straight title and fifth in the last six seasons, finished 6-0 in the division. Pittston Area was 5-1.

This was the eighth straight season in which Pittston Area finished either first or second in the division. Prior to Crestwood finishing third this season, Dallas, Pittston Area and Hazleton Area had been the top three, in some order, for eight straight seasons.


(Top 3, 2012-21)

YearFirst PlaceSecond PlaceThird Place
2021DallasPittston AreaCrestwood
2019DallasPittston Area (tie)Hazleton Area (tie)
2018DallasPittston AreaHazleton Area
2017Pittston AreaHazleton AreaDallas
2016DallasPittston AreaHazleton Area
2015DallasPittston AreaHazleton Area
2014Pittston AreaHazleton AreaDallas
2013Pittston AreaHazleton AreaDallas
2012Dallas (tie)Hazleton Area (tie)Pittston Area

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