The Pittston Area girls track team had an eye on Abington Heights and its six-year championship streak from the moment it arrived at the Jordan Relays in Scranton Thursday night.
Their ears were part of the pursuit as well.
“We were watching them,” Allie Barber said. “Especially in that last race, when they announced the scores.”
Just before stepping to the starting line for the closing 4 x 400 meter relay, the Lady Patriots learned they had a one-point lead on the Lady Comets and could clinch a team championship by finishing ahead of Abington Heights in the event.
Barber took it from there, opening a significant lead over Abington Heights in the second leg of the relay on the way to a fifth-place finish in the event that secured the team championship.
Pittston Area outscored Abington Heights, 42-40, to take the title.
“We were looking at them the whole time,” said Pittston Area coach Joe Struckus, who arrived at Memorial Stadium believing his team had a strong chance of ending the Abington Heights title run in a showdown between the two teams that are unbeaten and on top of the big school divisions of their leagues.
The Pittston Area girls won two events on a record-setting night. The Patriots also won two events in Class AAA boys to finish third in those team standings.
The Lady Patriots scored more points elsewhere, but needed a clutch performance in the final event for their first Jordan Relays titles.
With the teams separated by six lanes and a large stagger, it was tough to determine who had an advantage in the first leg, but Liz Waleski managed to make the first handoff ahead of the Abington Heights leadoff runner, giving Barber a lead of about a second.
Barber took it from there, running her best 400 meters of the season, in under 61 seconds. By the time, she passed the baton to Madison Mimnaugh, the lead over Abington Heights was at close to five seconds.
Mimnaugh, running a 400 in competition for the first time this season, nearly matched Barber’s time, giving Catherine Lombardo a large lead over the Lady Comets to protect for the final 400 meters.
The Lady Patriots finished in 4:09.67, within a second of their school record, to finish more than six seconds ahead of Abington Heights, which took sixth in the event.
“We just all strive to do our best,” Barber said. “We broke a bunch of records.”
Pittston Area, the only Wyoming Valley Conference team entered, set records in each of its girls wins.
The Lady Patriots shattered the meet record by 12 seconds winning the opening distance medley relay in 9:36.06. Lombardo, Samantha Mayers, Waleski and Mimnaugh formed the winning team.
Adding Mimnaugh, who runs the 1600 and 800 in dual meets, to the relay combination provided a big boost. She joined Lombardo and Mayers on another record-setting team, establishing a school mark in the 4 x 800 relay in 9:42.8.
Tara Johnson completed the 4 x 800 team.
The Lady Patriots added two third-place and two fifth-place finishes.
Jamie Chisdock and Taylor Powers were on the third-place teams in the 4x100 and the 1600 medley. Sierra Williams and Barber joined them in the 4 x 100. Eastin Ashby and Katilynn Kutcha completed the 1600 medley.
Barber, Powers, Tiffany Tubioli and Williams finished fifth in the 1200 sprint medley.
The Pittston Area boys won the 4 x 100 and 1200 sprint medley and added a second-place finish in the 4 x 400 relay where they fell five-hundredths of a second short in a battle with Delaware Valley.
Austin Naples, Ronnie D’Eliseo and Mike Harth were on all three teams. Josh John joined them twice and Angelo Aita led off the 4x100.
The Patriots finished with 33 points, behind first-place Scranton Prep’s 39 and North Pocono’s 36 among 11 Class AAA teams.
PA 115, Berwick 35
Catherine Lombardo raced on two winning relay teams and won the 400 meter dash as Pittston Area defeated Berwick 115-35 on Tuesday in Berwick.
The win sets up a chance for the Lady Patriots to clinch the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 title outright against Dallas at Charley Trippi Stadium on Tuesday in the final regular season meet.
The LPs are 6-0. Dallas and Hazleton are 5-1. Hazleton defeated Dallas back in March in week two.
Against Berwick the LPs won all but two events.
Also winning for PA were: Johnson, Mayers, Kuchta with Lombardo on the 3200 relay. Lanza won 100 hurdles, Giambra won the triple jump and long jump, Powers the 100, Mimnaugh, 1600 and 800; Chisdock, Williams, Barber, Powers, 400 relay; Waleski, 300 hurdles; Senese, pole valut; 8’0”; Barber, 200; Johnson, 3200; Parrent, javelin; Waleski, Barber, Mayers, C. Lombardo, 1600 relay; Sheerer, high jump.
Lake Lehman 94, WA 56
Hayley Stackhouse and Emily Shemanski won two individual events apiece to lead Wyoming Area. Shemanski won both the 100 and 300 hurdles and Stackhouse won the high and long jumps. Kraynak won the pole valut.
Cayle Spencer won every throwing for Lehman. The WA girls are 2-4.
Wyoming Area 110, Lake-Lehman 36
Isiah Peoples won the 100 and 200-meter dashes and raced on two winning relay teams to lead Wyoming Area to a victory over Lake-Lehman.
Condry, Steve and Hale teamed up with Peoples on the 400 relay and Hale Pardini and Harding on the 1600. Also winning for PA were: Condry, 110 hurdles; Hine, triple jump and long jump; Harding, 400; Fernandes, 300 hurdles; LaNunziata, pole vault; Filipiak, 3200 and Buczynski, high jump.
The Warriors (5-1) are one point behind Northwest (6-0). Northwest is at Hanover (3-3) Tuesday, the last day of the regular season.
Berwick 78.5, Pittston Area 71.5
Colin Tracy won both hurdling for PA but it wasn’t quite enough as Berwick pulled out a seven-point win.
Also winning for PA were: Harth, 400; Crawford, long jump and high jump; Harvilla, 3200 run and Naples, Johns, Tracy, Harth, 1600 relay.
The PA boys are 1-4-1.
Tuesday (End regular season)
Dallas at PA
Meyers at WA