SCRANTON — The gold medal hanging around Payden Montana’s neck representing her first-place finish in the district shot put was pretty much a given.
The one awarded to her for the discus throw?
That one was a little more difficult to get.
This year, though, Berwick star thrower Montana did it with ease, setting a new shot put standard after shattering the discus record by more than six feet with a toss of 154-8 Monday, while erasing the burning memory of last year’s district double fault in the event to walk away from the District 2 Class 3A girls track and field championships with two gold medals — and two new records.
“It feels really great,” Montana said.
Ashley Blannard knows that feeling. The Wyoming Valley West senior jumper won the long jump in 17-11 and the triple jump with a leap of 37-7.25, bouncing into first place twice to join Montana as the only girls from the Wyoming Valley Conference to win a pair of gold medals at Scranton Memorial Stadium.
“It’s awesome,” Blannard said. “They (her jumps) were both pretty good, I got the qualifying mark for states. The hard work pays off, I’ve work really hard.”
For Montana, hard work led her to some payback.
Montana, a senior and the defending District 2 and PIAA Class 3A gold medal shot put champion, unleashed a throw of 50-4.25 to crush the old girls shot put mark of 44-9 she set last year. But Montana missed out an opportunity to challenge for the 2017 district discus title when she twice hit the pole with throws, leaving her saddled with a 12th-place finish.
Not this time. Not a chance.
Montana hurled her first attempt in Monday’s district finals at 154-8 feet, besting the old record of 148-6 set by Lake-Lehman’s Emily Johns in 2015 and giving her two trips into the district record books as well as spots on the top of the medal stand.
“I’ve been waiting to be back on top of the discus for a year now,” Montana said. “It’s awesome. I had a little trouble at times. That throw clicked a little bit. I think I could have thrown farther, but I’m happy with it.”
She wasn’t the only champ who found the road to the top filled with obstacles.
Pittston Area’s Abby Norwillo locked down her first District 2 Class 3A pole vault gold medal, but not before fighting off Victoria Atkinson of Scranton Prep.
Both went to a third attempt at clearing 12-6. Norwillo, who has jumped over 13 feet this season, cleared the winning height, while Atkinson settled for silver.
“It always feels good to clear a height here,” said Norwillo, a senior who snagged a fifth-place medal in the long jump and also ran on the Patriots 400 relay team that earned a sixth-place medal. “It was a little bit of a tough day, I’m not going to lie. It was a combination of being very warm and windy. I wouldn’t say it’s a bummer because I won a gold medal. Being able to push through and clear it on the third jump feels good. It always feels good to know your perseverance pays off.”
In other events, Wyoming Area’s Shelby Stackhouse won the girls high jump by clearing 5-5.25; Dallas’ Abby Zolner was first to the finish in the 300 hurdles in 46.18; Hazleton Area’s Paige Bonin won the javelin by hitting 126-4; and Nanticoke Area’s Amiah Lukowski walked away with three silver medals — in the 100 and 200 dashes and the triple jump.
Then came the big finish, where Montana unleashed a monster shot put throw that turned out to be her second-best of the season and gave her a second district record that may stand up for a while.
“They’re both special,” Montana said, while trying to decide which mark meant more to her. “It’s a toss-up. Maybe the discus, because it wasn’t mine. The shot was, I was just improving my own record. I probably could always throw farther. But I’m happy with the distances. It was great conditions and I was ready for this meet for awhile.
“I was gearing up for this.”
DISTRICT 2 CLASS 3A
1. Abington Heights (AH) 104.5; 2. Dallas (Dal) 61; 3. Scranton (Scr) 60; 4. Pittston Area (PA) 55; 5. Berwick (Ber) 51; 6. Scranton Prep (Prep) 49; T-7. Hazleton Area (Haz) 48; T-7. Wallenpaupack (Wal) 48; 9. Nanticoke Area (Nan) 37; 10. Valley View (VV) 35; 11. Wyoming Area (WA) 30; 12. Wyoming Valley West (WVW) 25; T-13 North Pocono (NP) 19; T-13. West Scranton (WScr) 19; 15. Coughlin (Cou) 17.5; 16. Honesdale (Hon) 15; 17. Tunkhannock (Tun) 13; 18. Delaware Valley (DV) 10; 19. Crestwood (Cre) 5.
3,200 relay — 1. Wal (Samantha Killiany, Mackenzie Turner, Lexi Gumble, Kara Campbell) 9:43; 2. AH (Anna Marchetta, Zoe Detter, Elyse Simakaski, Hannah Hughes); 3. Prep (Anna Brier, Adiya Golden, Mia Bellucci, Kate Welby). 100 hurdles — 1. Calista Marzolino (AH) 15.86; 2. Giavanna Innamoranti (PA). 100 — 1. Kyahni Harbin (Scr) 12.57; 2. Amiah Lukowski (Nan) 12.83; 3. Sam Mazula (Dal). 1,600 — 1. Katie Dammer (AH), 4:45*; 2. Adiya Golden (Prep) 5:13; 3. Emma Fortune (Cou). 400 — 1. Mackenzie Turner (Wal) 58.93; 2. Maryam Hamidi (Scr); 3. Madison Nakielny (Wal). 400 relay — 1. Scr (Awnshae Smith, Maryam Hamidi, Samara Haigler, Kyahni Harbin) 50.28; 2. Dal (Alondra Church, Celia Reabuck, Ally Francis, Sam Mazula); 3. VV (Shay White, Julie Maddage, Ava Angeloni, Abby Pidgeon). 300 hurdles — 1. Abby Zolner (Dal) 46.18; 2. Abby Pidgeon (VV); 3. Awnshae Smith (Scr). 800 — 1. Samantha Killiany (Wal) 2:20.10; 2. Hannah Hughes (AH); 3. Charisse Mulherin (VV). 200 — 1. Kyahni Harbin (Scr) 26.04; 2. Amiah Lukowski (Nan); 3. Jillian Buchman (Haz). 3,200 — 1. Katie Dammer (AH) 10:55; 2. Mia Bellucci (Prep); 3. Emma Marion (AH). 1,600 relay — 1. Wal (Samantha Killiany, Mackenzie Turner, Madison Nakielny, Kara Campbell) 4:05; 2. AH (Dani Beamish, Anna Marchetta, Hannah Hughes, Katie Dammer); 3. Scr (Maryam Hamidi, Samara Haigler, Kyahni Harbin, Anna Cipriano).
High jump — 1. Shelby Stackhouse (WA) 5-5.25; 2. Calista Marzolino (AH) 5-3, SQS; 3. Mariel Curra (AH). Pole vault — 1. Abby Norwillo (PA) 12-6; 2. Victoria Atkinson (Prep) 12-0, SQS; 3. Danielle Heine (AH) 12-0, SQS. Long jump — 1. Ashley Blannard (WVW) 17-11.5; 2. Amiah Lukowski (Nan); 3. Danielle Heine (AH). Triple jump — 1. Ashley Blannard (WVW) 34-9.75; 2. Amiah Lukowski (Nan); 3. Calista Marolino (AH). Shot put — 1. Payden Montana (Ber) 50-4.25*; 2. Keturah LeGette (Haz); 3. Madelyn Resciniti (WA). Discus — 1. Payden Montana (Ber) 154-8*; 2. Jessica Slagus (NP); 3. Alicia Langan (Dal). Javelin — 1. Paige Bonin (Haz) 126-4; 2. Gabrielle Roote (Tun); 3. Renny Murphy (Ber).
SQ – State Qualifier.
Note: District 2 champion automatically qualifies for PIAA championships.
* – District 2 record.
Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-991-6392 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloski