Pittston Area boys track team clinches at least a share of WVC title

By Paul Sokoloski - [email protected]
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YATESVILLE — After a season that shredded a struggling image and a decade-long drought, there’s only more thing for the Pittston Area Patriots to accomplish.

An undefeated season.

The Patriots reached just about all of their other regular-season goals after hurdler Shane Syms and his Pittston Area teammates chased down at least a tie for the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 boys track and field championship Tuesday by bolting past rival Wyoming Area 94-56 at Charley Trippi Stadium.

“It feels amazing,” Syms said. “To come out here with this group of guys, we come out here, work hard every day and just perform.”

The 6-0 Patriots can wrap up their first unbeaten season since 2007 — the last time the school won a boys track title — along with sole possession of the league champinship by winning a makeup meet at Tunkhannock on Wednesday.

“Of course it’s a big goal,” Syms said. “Every team wants to be undefeated through the entire year and be champion of the division.”

For the first time in 11 years, no team will finish higher than Pittston Area.

Syms made sure of that, stepping in to help make sure Pittston Area’s hurdlers didn’t miss a beat, despite missing star hurdler Naseem Guillaume — who has been out with an injury the past few weeks.

Syms captured the 300 hurdles right after running on the 400 relay team and picked up another point for the Patriots by finishing third in the 110 hurdles.

“We work hard on trying to make it as much of a program as we possibly can,” said Pittston Area boys coach Jason Mills, whose team is now 11-2 over the past two seasons. “That’s the key, because track’s such an individual sport, it’s hard to keep everyone together. But you know what we have? A group of three hurdlers and senior boys who have been together for years in the field.

“We outnumbered a lot of teams in the field.”

That showed again Tuesday, as Jake Rutkowski led a Patriots sweep of the shot put, Walter Coles led them to a sweep of the discus and Pittston Area took eight of the nine points spots in throwing events.

Now, Pittston Area will try to make its final launch to a perfect season.

“I just hope, physically, we can run,” Mills said, worrying about competing on back-to-back days. “We pulled back a little once we hit 76 (points) to try and save it. Tunkhannock’s a good team. It’s going to be a battle up there.”

The Pittston Area girls won a battle with Wyoming Area, as Abby Norwillo set a new school record by clearing 13 feet in the pole vault and also captured the triple jump.

Nicole Zambetti captured the 800 and 1,600 runs.

Maddie Resciniti won the discus and shot put for the Wyoming Area girls, while Kane Burton won the 100 and 200 dashes for the Warriors boys.

BOYS

Hazleton Area 92, Dallas 58

Joey Grula was a three-time winner and Hazleton Area kept alive its hopes of tying for the WVC Division 1 title by finishing 6-1 while capturing its final regular-season meet.

Grula won the long jump, triple jump and javelin, then finished second to his Cougars boys basketball state semifinalist teammate Jeff Planutis in the high jump.

A Pittston Area loss to Tunkhannock on Tuesday would move Hazleton Area into a share of the Division 1 championship.

Lake-Lehman 78, Hanover Area 72

Chandler Longstreth and Casey Kaminski both won two individual events to lead the Black Knights.

Longstreth captured the 1,600 and 3,200 runs, while Kaminski won the 100 dash and high jump.

Crestwood 76, Coughlin 74

Nick Brown was a triple winner and Tyler LeCompte finished second in the high jump to give the Comets just enough points for the victory.

Brown captured the 400 dash and helped the 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams to victory.

GIRLS

Dallas 96, Hazleton Area 54

Sam Mazula won in four events and Abby Zolner was a triple winner as the Mountaineers finished a 7-0 season and claimed sole possession of the WVC Divsion 1 title.

Mazula finished first in the 100 dash and long jump and as part of the 400 and 1,600 relay teams. Zolner won both hurdles and the triple jump.

Lake-Lehman 86, Hanover Area 64

Jade Fry and Jace Garnick came out triple winners and the Black Knights came away with a 7-0 season as the WVC Division 2 champions.

Fry won the 1,600 and 3,200 runs and joined Garnick on the winning 1,600 relay. Garnick also competed on the 3,200 relay and captured the 400 dash. Natasha Mihalko placed first in the 100 and 200 dashes for Lehman.

Coughlin 86.5, Crestwood 63.5

Emma Fortune won four times and Arianna Brittingham and Le’June Berry were triple winners as the Crusaders closed their regular season with a victory.

Fortune won the 1,600 and 800 runs and helped the 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams to victory.

Brittingham ran on the 1,600 relay and placed first in the 100 and 200 dashes. Berry won the long jump, triple jump and high jump.

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By Paul Sokoloski

[email protected]

Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-991-6392 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloski

Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-991-6392 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloski