NEPA Sports Nation

DISTRICT 2 TRACK: Team champs shared multiple characteristics

By Tom Robinson,

SCRANTON – The Valley View boys, Abington Heights girls, Mid Valley boys and Lake-Lehman girls took similar approaches to landing on top of the final team standings at the District 2 Track and Field Championships May 15-16 at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

The Cougars, Comets, Spartans and Lady Knights all wound up winning the standings races despite having an opponent that won as many or more of the events.

The biggest individual stars in District 2 track this season resided elsewhere, but the four championship teams used the same ability to score points across multiple events that led to regular-season, dual-meet success to arrive at the top of the district standings.

When they reached the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Championships Friday and Saturday at Shippensburg University, none of the teams had the individual firepower available to score high in events on the state level. Therefore, none of the four were the district’s highest-scoring team at the state meet.

Valley View, Abington Heights and Mid Valley each won their Lackawanna Track Conference divisions and their classification titles in the Jordan Relays and Robert Spagna LTC Championship Meet. Lake-Lehman did not quite meet that level of success, but the Class 2A girls champions went 5-1 in dual meets with the only loss coming to an unbeaten Class 3A team, Wyoming Area, that is positioned in the same division.

Mid Valley matched Riverside with four event wins in Class 2A boys, but the other three team champions had fewer gold medalists than at least one team that they went against.

A look at how each of the district team champions arrived at the title:

Class 3A boys

Valley View thrived on its relays and used one to pull out the closest of the team title races, the only one to go down to the last event of the meet.

The Cougars trailed until winning the closing, 1600-meter relay to beat out Hazleton Area, 86-77½, for the championship.

Valley View won that relay and finished second in two others.

The only individual gold for the Cougars was produced by long jumper Jacob Nielsen, who went on to score the team’s only point at the state meet with an eighth-place finish.

“It was amazing being a part of all the championships,” Nielsen said in an interview after receiving his state medal in Shippensburg. “It was all of my friends, competing at their highest level, pushing each other to do their best.

“Going in, we definitely did not think we were going to win out the whole year because we lost so many people from last year. But, so many people stepped up – getting one point, getting three points. Wherever we needed points, we got them.

“It was amazing; such a great team to be a part of. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Connor Swartz anchored the win in the 1600 relay and the second-place finish in the 3200.

Connor Hilling anchored the second-place 400 relay and was part of the 1600 relay win.

James Liparulo, who was also on the 400, and Jamie Heid completed the winning relay team.

Hilling added a bronze medal in the 200-meter dash and Swartz did the same in the 400,

The Cougars scored in 13 of the 18 events and had multiple individuals score in four events.

Nielsen’s win in the long jump was combined with a third-place finish by A.J. Kucharski for 16 points in the event.

Liparulo added a fifth in the 200 to Hilling’s third.

Bryce Sokoloski was third and Jacob Seamans sixth in the 1600 while Ethan Williams was fifth and Seamans eighth in the 3200.

Nielsen placed fourth in the triple jump; Fiorelli fifth in the shot put; Kucharski sixth in the 300; and Kucharski and Liparulo eighth in the 110 high hurdles and 100 dash.

Nielsen and Adam Howanitz completed the 400 relay lineup while Seamans, Williams and Sokoloski all joined Swartz on the 3200 relay.

Class 3A girls

Abington Heights outscored Dallas, 103½-80, and also took its team title with just one individual and one relay team champion.

The Comets scored in 15 of the 18 events, including placing three in the 800 and two each in the discus, high jump and 200.

The top eight in each event scored points for their teams and the top six earned medals.

Madison Zalewski, who went on to a sixth-place state finish, won the javelin with a throw of 120-7.

Maggie Coleman, Kaylyn Elliott, Emma Horsley and Marygrace Sabatini teamed for a 6.4-second win in the 1600 relay.

“We knew it would be a very tight race and everyone would have to work their hardest to make this happen,” Sabatini said. “We were all just preparing mentally to make it happen.”

The Comets scored 24 points in relays with the 1600 win, a second in the 3200 and a third in the 400.

“I think our runners are all pretty well-rounded and we mesh together well as a team,” Sabatini said. “We practice our handoffs every practice.”

Sabatini was part of each relay.

Coleman also ran on the 400 relay while Horsley also ran on the 3200.

Lilia Calvert and Alea Dorunda completed the 400 lineup while Reese Morgan and Maia Arcangelo were the others on the 3200 relay.

Sabatini was one of three runners to place in the 800 where Morgan was third, Sabatini was fourth and Horsley was sixth.

Calvert placed second in the 400 and was fifth in the 200 where Coleman took second.

Zalewski added a third in the high jump to her javelin win. Teammate Emily Dennis took seventh in the high jump.

Tomara Seid was third in the triple jump and fifth in the pole vault.

Gianna Julian placed third and Gineva Reese fourth in the discus. Reese was also eighth in the shot put.

Anna Pucilowski placed sixth at 3200 meters and seventh at 1600.

Julia Schuster was eighth in the 300 hurdles.

Class 2A boys

Mid Valley posted the highest point total at 137½ and the highest victory margin, topping Holy Redeemer by 49½ points.

Gabe Pacyna (800), Dylan Holt (high jump), Jordan Chmieleweski (pole vault) and Cody Michaels (300 hurdles) each won events for the Spartans.

Michaels and Shamus Lesher were 1-2 in the 300 hurdles for 18 points while all three Mid Valley relays took second for 24 more total points.

Pacyna and Zach Popko were both on the silver-medal 1600 and 3200 relays.

Chmielewski was on the 400 and 1600 relays.

The Spartans scored in 12 of the 15 individual events and remarkably averaged two place-winners in those events.

Lesher was part of Mid Valley piling up points in four different events.

In addition to the 300 hurdles, he was third behind Chmielewski’s win in the pole vault; he was second while Michaels was fifth in the 110 high hurdles and he was fourth while Charles Davey was fifth and Kaleik Cook eighth in the triple jump.

While Dylan Holt was winning the long jump, Victor Holt was third. They were fifth and seventh in the long jump.

Popko placed third in both the 200 and 400. Chmielewski was fifth and Timothy Kramer eighth in the 200 while Michaels was fifth in the 400.

Kramer was sixth and Victor Holt eighth in the 100.

Davey, in the javelin, and Nicholas Jackson, in the shot put, each placed sixth.

Kramer, Victor Holt, Jayden Mansen, Michaels, Matthew Repecki and Josh Florence were each on one silver-medal winning relay team.

Class 2A girls

Lake-Lehman defeated Lakeland, 122½-96½, with two champions, points in 15 events and 6 events in which it placed two or more athletes.

The Lady Knights scored 18½ points in the high jump where Kathryn Morgan won while Lydia Vivian was second and Erica Moyer tied for third.

Kalee Raczkowski supplied the other win with a school record time in the 800 where Hannah Sayre was fourth.

Raczkowski also added a third in the 300 hurdles while contributing to the second-place 1600 and 3200 relay teams.

“The seconds and thirds added up,” said Raczkowski, who recalled the disappointment of losing to Holy Redeemer by less than two points in the district team race two years ago. “Then, at the end of the first day, we found out we were in first place and we just knew we had to run our hearts out to win it.

“We were able to pull through.”

Sophia Lenza was second in the long jump and triple jump along with third in the 100 dash and 400 relay, all with personal-best distances or times.

“Once coach (John Sobocinski) told me he really thought we had a chance to win this, I was in demon mode,” Lenza said.

Autumn Palka was fifth in the long jump, seventh in the 100 and part of the second-place 1600 and third-place 400 relay teams.

Faye Post took third in the javelin.

Amanda McGurk placed fourth in both the pole vault and discus.

Hannah Sayre was fourth in 3200 and ran on the 3200 relay.

Molly Jenkins finished fifth in the shot put.

Alana Palmaioli was sixth in the 3200, eighth in the 1600 and a member of the second-place 3200 relay.

Olivia Corcoran was sixth in the 1600 and a member of the 3200 relay team.

Alexi Chervenitski was on both the 1600 and 400 relay teams.

Ava Smith was the other 400 and Brynleigh Bennett the other 1600 relay team member.

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