MESHOPPEN – The Wyoming Valley Conference’s regular-season unbeatens ruled the day Wednesday at the Wyoming County Fairgrounds.
All four defending champions repeated as Dallas took three titles and Holy Redeemer’s Lindsey Williams joined Jack Zardecki and the two Mountaineers teams as champions when the WVC Coaches conducted their Ed Narkiewicz Conference Championship Meet.
The Dallas teams and Zardecki had perfect records by winning every meet of the season. Williams won five of the six weekly cluster meets and missed the other because of concussion concerns after getting hurt in gym class.
With wins becoming routine for all the champions, Williams said there are other ways to judge performance.
The Holy Redeemer senior slipped as she went from grass to concrete and nearly took a wrong turn where the course has changed from previous seasons.
“Today was kind of a boatload of me zoning out and not paying attention,” she said.
Even with the brief lapses, Williams was able to run out in front from early in the race, lower her time from a year ago and post a 12-second victory over Megan Borton from Dallas in 20:00.
“As long as I drop time,” Williams said. “I think that’s the most important thing – time. Place is nice; medals are nice; but I think what’s best is knowing that you’re improving year after year.”
Zardecki, who was second to eventual state champion Dominic Hockenbury from Lake-Lehman as a sophomore, also showed improvement by lowering his winning time to 16:01.
“Today was just about testing my fitness out and I came in where I wanted to,” Zardecki said.
Zardecki beat Berwick’s Mitchell Martin by 22 seconds.
Teammates Josh Wyandt, Mitchell Rome, Adam Borton and Josh Jarden followed in third, sixth, ninth and 13th places for a 25-point team win over Holy Redeemer, as the two-time defending state champions won their second battle with Holy Redeemer, a state top 10 team a year ago.
The teams will meet again Oct. 25 at Lakeland in the Class 2A race at the District 2 championships and, if they can place 1-2 in some order again, could also go against each other in Hershey like they did in 2016.
“Josh Wyandt had a great race and Josh Jarden, our fifth man, had a great race, which is something we need,” Zardecki said.
Borton’s second-place finish, along with the combination of Madison Baloga, Rebecca Balara, Kaitlyn Hodakowski, Abby Zolner and Emily Finnegan placing in succession from eighth to 12th, gave Dallas the girls team title.
“The second half of the race is usually the better half of my race,” Baloga said. “I really caught up a lot of ground. In the first mile, I was not in the top 10.”
Lake-Lehman, the second-place team in the regular season, closed the gap, falling to Dallas, 40-46, by putting three runners in the top seven.
Jade Fry, who joined Williams with five cluster meet wins during the regular season, along with a third-place finish, led the way for the Black Knights by placing third again. Abby Paczewski followed her in fourth and Jace Garnick got in ahead of the Dallas pack in seventh.
All the teams compete against each other in one league during the regular season, but for the conference meet, the coaches association recognizes champions according to their postseason classifications as well as the overall team champions.
Plaques went to both Dallas teams as well as the two Hanover Area teams that won both Division 3 (Class A) titles.
The Hazleton Area boys and Pittston Area girls won Division 1 (Class 3A).
With Dallas winning the overall titles, the Holy Redeemer boys and Lake-Lehman girls received plaques for Division 2 (Class 2A).
The varsity races were followed by junior high races.
Steve Domanski won the boys race while leading Hazleton Area to the team title.
Crestwood’s Molly DeMarzo and the Holy Redeemer team each posted convincing wins in the girls race.
1. Dallas 32, 2. Holy Redeemer 57, 3. Crestwood 104, 4. Hazleton Area 120, 5. Berwick 131, 6. Lake-Lehman 197, 7. Wyoming Valley West 215, 8. Tunkhannock 225, 9. Hanover Area 244, 10. Pittston Area 286, 11. Coughlin 301, 12. Wyoming Seminary 315, 13. GAR 375, 14. Wyoming Area 392, 15. Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech 408, 16. MMI Prep 453, 17. Northwest 497.
1. Jack Zardecki, DAL, 16:01; 2. Mitchell Martin, BER, 16:23; 3. Josh Wyandt, DAL, 16:29; 4. Franklin Cunningham, HAZ, 16:31; 5. Clay Kimsal, CRE, 16:39; 6. Mitchell Rome, DAL, 16:52; 7, Bryce Zapusek, HR, 17:08; 8. Conner Stevens, HR, 17:23; 9. Adam Borton, DAL, 17:32; 10. Dominic Capaci, HR, 17:36; 11. Jacob Kobusky, WVW, 17:36; 12. Matthew Brunetti, CRE, 17:38; 13. Josh Jarden, DAL, 17:45; 14. Scott Williams, HR, 17:47; 15. Riley Newman, LL, 17:57; 16. Ben Tidball, TUNK, 17:59; 17. Griffin Keller, BER, 18:00; 18. George Strish, HR, 18:01; 19. Zack Kelner, HAZ, 18:02; 20. Chris Holmes, HR, 18:03; 21. Spencer Riccio, CRE, 18:05; 22. Kyle Price, CRE, 18:07; 23. Nick Pikul, HR, 18:10; 24. Tony Caravaggio, DAL, 18:11; 25. Joey Rowley, HAN, 18:14.
1. Dallas 40, 2. Lake-Lehman 46, 3. Holy Redeemer 62, 4. Pittston Area 124, 5. Hazleton Area 158, 6. Hanover Area 162, 7. Wyoming Area 197, 8. Crestwood 207, 9. Wyoming Seminary 240, 10. GAR 282, 11. Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech 293, 12. Northwest 329, 13. MMI Prep 369.
1, Lindsey Williams, HR, 20:00; 2. Megan Borton, DAL, 20:12; 3. Jade Fry, LL, 20:36; 4. Abby Paczewski, LL, 20:53; 5. Nicole Zambetti, PITT, 20:59; 6. Anna Capaci, HR, 21:05; 7. Jace Garnick, LL, 21:10; 8. Madison Baloga, DAL, 21:12; 9. Rebecca Balara, DAL, 21:27; 10. Kaitlyn Hodakowski, DAL, 21:28; 11. Abby Zolner, DAL, 21:33; 12. Emily Finnegan, DAL, 21:35; 13. Olivia Vasey, LL, 21:40; 14. Cameron Marcinkowski, HR, 21:46; 15. Katie Balay, HAZ, 21:46; 16. Alicia Ozechowski, HAN, 21:47; 17. Catherine Shuleski, COUGHLIN, 21:48; 18. Emma Fortune, COUGH, 21:54; 19. Destiny Andes, HR, 21:57; 20. Caitlyn Bly, HAN, 22:12; 21. Lauryn Pembleton, LL, 22:18; 22. Lizzy Blaski, LL, 22:18; 23. Morgan Patla, LL, 22:25; 24. Shawna Rodzinak, PITT, 22:27; 25. Genevieve English, PITT, 22:28.