FORTY FORT — The boys handled the formality of the final cluster meet of the season while the girls stood up to their closest challenge of the season from the other remaining unbeaten.
When Wednesday’s meet at the Luzerne County Rec Field was complete, another Wyoming Valley Conference cross country season had ended with both Dallas teams undefeated and at the top of the standings.
With three more routine wins by margins of at least 27 points, the Dallas boys finished 18-0, extending their unbeaten streaks through seven seasons and 120 meets.
The Dallas girls joined the boys team in perfection for the fifth time in six seasons, improving their record in that stretch to 100-1 with the help of a 26-33 win.
Dallas coach Matt Samuel said he hoped Wednesday’s twin titles were just a beginning.
“We have the coaches’ meet next week and that’s a big one, then we have the district meet after that and that’s a very big one,” Samuel said. “Without those, we’re not going anywhere.”
The last two Dallas boys seasons have ended in state Class 2A championships. The girls team missed out on a state meet appearance last season but had produced either a team or individual state champion in three straight years before that.
“These are nice,” Samuel said of the division titles, “but I think everybody’s kind of got their eyes on the prize.”
Megan Borton led the Dallas win, finishing second in the six-team meet and ahead of every Lake-Lehman runner.
When she was done, however, Borton echoed her coach’s sentiments.
“We knew that Lehman would be our biggest competition, but as a team, we’re really focused on districts,” Borton said. “We were just trying to get through this and win the conference, but we’re really focused on districts.”
While attention was on the front of the pack, Dallas was winning the team race with what was happening almost a minute behind April Kupsky of Wyoming Seminary and Borton becoming the first two WVC runners to finish ahead of Lake-Lehman’s Jade Fry this season.
Lake-Lehman brought its second and third runners to the finish line ahead of their counterparts from Dallas, but the Mountaineers depth took over from there.
Dallas had the next six finishers, giving it eight of the top 12 in the meet. The Mountaineers had their five scoring runners, two displacers and even a non-scoring runner finish ahead of Lake-Lehman’s fourth and fifth scoring runners.
“We have a very strong pack,” Samuel said. “I think a couple of our girls are a little disappointed with their own finishes, but I’m of the mind that it’s the pack which makes this thing work. I know they realize that, and it’s a good thing.
“They’re going to push themselves to do better things when their sights are set a little bit higher.”
Borton took charge of much of the second half of the race before Kupsky caught her with about 200 meters to go.
“We’ve been running against April Kupsky all season, so we know what kind of quality runner she is,” Samuel said. “ … April had just a little bit more than she did at the end, but I’m happy with the performance, that’s for sure.”
Behind Fry, Abby Paczewski of Lake-Lehman had rallied late to edge Madison Baloga from Dallas by a second. Jace Garnick, running well behind the top five and well ahead of the deciding pack, came in a comfortable sixth place for the Black Knights.
Sydney Tellis put together a surge to the finish line to end up leading a group of six Dallas runners within 24 seconds. Abby Zolner, Kaitlyn Hodakowski, Grace Jarden, Emily Finnegan and Rebecca Balara followed Tellis.
Once Hodakowski reached the finish line, Dallas had the title mathematically clinched.
Dallas also defeated Tunkhannock and Wyoming Valley West, 15-50.
Lake-Lehman went 2-1 on the day to finish 17-1. Wyoming Area and Wyoming Seminary also won two of their three meets.
Jack Zardecki led the Dallas boys to a sweep of the top four spots. Josh Wyandt, Mitchell Rome and Adam Borton followed Zardecki.
The Mountaineers defeated Wyoming Valley West, 17-42, while beating Lake-Lehman and Tunkhannock both by 15-46 scores.
Jack Kobusky and Tavian McKenna from Wyoming Valley West finished fifth and sixth.
Josh Jarden gave Dallas five of the top seven finishers.
Wyoming Valley West, Lake-Lehman and Tunkhannock each won two of their three boys meets.
Redeemer squads prevail
Holy Redeemer runners took the top four finishes at the Kirby Park Olmstead Trail. The Royals placed eight runners in the top 10, including the top-four finishes. Bryce Zapusek finished first in 17:24, Connor Stevens placed second in 17:46, Domonic Capaci placed third in 17:51 and Scott Williams placed fourth in 18:00.
Holy Redeemer and Hanover Area picked up three team wins apiece. Coughlin, GAR and Pittston Area all had one team win each. Hanover Area’s Joey Rowley placed fifth in 18:03, and Pittston Area’s Nate Ridgley placed 10th in 19:13.
On the girls side, the Royals had five runners place in the top 10. Holy Redeemer’s Lindsey Williams placed first in 20:00, Pittston Area’s Nicole Zambetti placed second in 21:02 and Holy Redeemer’s Cameron Marcinkowski placed third in 21:20.
Holy Redeemer had three team wins, Hanover Area and Pittston Area had two team wins each and GAR had one team win.
Coughlin’s Emma Fortune placed fifth in 21:31, and Hanover Area’s Alicia Orzechowski placed seventh in 21:56.
Dallas 17, Wyoming Valley West 42; Dallas 15, Lake-Lehman 46; Dallas 15, Tunkhannock 46; Tunkhannock 17, Wyoming Seminary 42; Tunkhannock 19, Wyoming Area 42; Lake-Lehman 18, Wyoming Seminary 45; Lake-Lehman 20, Wyoming Area 41; Wyoming Valley West 19, Wyoming Seminary 36; Wyoming Valley West 19, Wyoming Area 42
at Luzerne County Rec Field
1. Jack Zardecki (D) 15:55; 2. Josh Wyandt (D) 16:27; 3. Mitchell Rome (D) 16:33; 4. Adam Borton (D) 16:40; 5. Jake Kobusky (WVW) 16:42; 6. Tavian McKenna (WVW) 17:13; 7. Josh Jarden (D) 17:15; 8. Riley Newman (LL) 17:20; 9. Ben Tidball (T) 18:21; 10. Leighf Brown (T) 17:34; 11. Mike McCann (WVW) 17:40; 12. Chandler Long (LL) 17:52; 13. Adam Sutton (D) 17:57; 14. Noah Cooper (D) 17:59; 15. Mike Branley (WA) 18:14.
Holy Redeemer 15, Coughlin 50; Coughlin 15, Meyers 50; Hanover Area 22, Coughlin 34; Holy Redeemer 15, GAR 50; GAR 15, Meyers 50; Hanover Area 22, GAR 33; Holy Redeemer 15, Pittston Area 50; Pittston Area 15, Meyers 50; Hanover Area 23, Pittston Area 33
at Kirby Park Olmsted Trail
1. HR, Bryce Zapusek, 17:24; 2. HR, Connor Stevens, 17:46; 3. HR, Domonic Capaci, 17:51; 4. HR, Scott Williams, 18:00; 5. HAN, Joey Rowley, 18:03; 6. HR, George Strish, 18:06; 7. HR, Nick Pikul, 18:21; 8. HR, Chris Holmes, 18:29; 9. HR, Larry Corridoni, 19:06; 10. PIT, Nate Ridgley, 19:13.
Dallas 26, Lake-Lehman 33; Dallas 15, Tunkhannock 50; Dallas 15, Wyoming Valley West 50; Lake-Lehman 15, Wyoming Area 49; Lake-Lehman 22, Wyoming Seminary 39; Wyoming Seminary 25, Wyoming Valley West 30; Wyoming Seminary 15, Tunkhannock 50; Wyoming Area 15, Tunkhannock 50; Wyoming Area 26, Wyoming Valley West 29
at Luzerne County Rec Field
1. April Kupsky (WS) 19:09; 2. Megan Borton (D) 19:15; 3. Jade Fry (LL) 19:32; 4. Abby Paczewski (LL) 19:44; 5. Madison Baloga (D) 19:45; 6. Jace Garnick (LL) 20:10; 7. Sydney Tellis (D) 20:30; 8. Abby Zolner (D) 20:31; 9. Kaitlyn Hodakowski (D) 20:36; 10. Grace Jarden (D) 20:39; 11. Emily Finnegan (D) 20:50; 12. Rebecca Balara (D) 20:54; 13. Tara Kupsky (WS) 21:01; 14. Olivia Vasey (LL) 21:13; 15. Morgan Patla (LL) 21:24.
Holy Redeemer 15, Coughlin 50; Hanover Area 15, Coughlin 50; Holy Redeemer 15, GAR 40; GAR 15, Meyers 50; Hanover Area 15, GAR 46; Holy Redeemer 19, Pittston Area 36; Pittston Area 15, Meyers 50; Pittston Area 27, Hanover Area 29
at Kirby Park Olmsted Trail
1. HR, Lindsey Williams, 20:00; 2. PIT, Nicole Zambetti, 21:02; 3. HR, Cameron Marcinkowski, 21:20; 4. HR, Anna Capaci, 21:29; 5. COU, Emma Fortune, 21:31; 6. COU, Catherine Shuleski, 21:49; 7. HAN, Alicia Orzechowski, 21:56; 8. HR, Emily Thomas, 22:22; 9. HAN, Caitlyn Bly, 22:24; 10. HR, Destiny Andes, 22:32.