DALLAS — As a standout swimmer, Annalise Cheshire has regularly been submerged in success.
Funny, then, that her leaping ability had such a big role in taking the Dallas girls track and field team over the top.
Sam Mazula set a school record and won in four events Wednesday, emergency high jumper Cheshire provided the clinching points and Dallas edged Pittston Area, 78-72 in a girls battle of Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 unbeatens that clinched at least a share of first place for the 6-0 Mountaineers.
“It feels very good,” Cheshire, a senior, said. “I think I did well, did what the coaches needed me to.”
What Dallas needed was one more point.
Cheshire gave them three.
Entering the high jump, the final event of the day, the Mountaineers held a 74-67 lead — meaning Pittston Area would earn nine points and the victory with a sweep of the three point-producing spots in the event. And that seemed possible after the Mountaineers lost their regular high jumper, Emily Farrell, to a season-ending stress fracture last week.
Enter Cheshire, who not only gave the high jump a shot by joining the competition for the first time in her career Wednesday, but gave the Mountaineers just enough for the victory.
Cheshire finished second to Pittston Area’s Ashton Ashby by clearing 4-8, as the Mountaineers boosted their team point total to 77 and wrapped up the victory.
“It was my first time doing high jump,” Cheshire said. “Someone got hurt and they were like, ‘Do you want to try it?’ I said, ‘Sure.’ Maybe that’s where I’ll be for the rest of the season. It was something very interesting. I think everybody contributed in their own way. I was especially proud of my performance today.”
Alex Haas and the Pittston Area boys performed well enough to take another step toward securing a Division 1 title by besting Dallas, 88-62, in another battle of league unbeatens.
Haas won the 100 and 200 dashes and ran on the winning 400 relay team and Phil Cocco led a Patriots sweep of the shot put as Pittston Area moved to 5-0.
“It feels great,” Haas said. “We’ve been working real hard. I think we can do it. We came in here thinking we can do great and just work hard and succeed.”
Now, the Patriots are thinking championship.
They can clinch at least a tie for the top of Division 1 by beating rival Wyoming Area on Tuesday, then close the season with a makeup meet at Tunkhannock next Wednesday. A loss in either one of those meets would let Dallas and Hazleton Area, both 5-1, back into the title picture.
“We’re not there yet,” cautioned Pittston Area boys coach Jason Mills. “You can’t take anything for granted. But it does feel good. This is a big hurdle.”
Mazula put the Dallas girls in the clear, winning the 100 and 200 dashes, the long jump and anchoring the winning 400 relay team to pile up 20 of the Mountaineers’ 78 points.
Her time of 25.6 in the 200 broke the old Dallas school record of 25.77, set by Catie Gawlas in 2014.
“She was big in the 100, our 4-by-1 (400 relay), too,” Dallas co-coach Ed Radzinski said. “Our sprints and distance races came up big.”
So did Cheshire, a regular district champion and state performer during her swimming career. Cheshire picked up a point for Dallas by setting her personal record with a 16-4.75 to finish third in the long jump, then clinched the win by stepping out of the water to perform in high jump.
“I’ve always done track as a side thing, I always really enjoyed it,” Cheshire said. “Swimming is a different level for me. I think swimming has taught me very well, but in swimming, I don’t get nervous, I know what I have to do. In track, it’s a different type of sport and it’s not really in my comfort zone.
“So to do what I did was great.”
The Mountaineers couldn’t agree more.
“Anna tried it and didn’t look too bad,” Radzinski said. “Anna did well. She picked up a key four points for us today.”
Valley West 94, Coughlin 56
Ashley Blannard and Karaline Stelma were both triple winners as the Spartans evened their record at 3-3.
Stelma won the 100 and 200 dashes, Blannard took the long jump and triple jump and both ran on the winning 400 relay team.
Wyoming Area 88, Tunkhannock 61
Shelby Stackhouse set a new school high jump record while becoming a triple winner, Valerie Gerchak and Kayla Kiwak joined her in winning three times and Maddie Resciniti won two throwing events as the Warriors became the last WVC Division 1 team to break into the win column.
Stackhouse cleared 5-4.5 in the high jump to establish a new Wyoming Area standard and also won the 100 hurdles and pole vault. Gerchak took the long jump and triple jump, Kiwak won the 100 and 200 dashes and both ran on the winning 400 relay team.
Resciniti took first in the shot put and discus and Olivia Kwiatkowski won the 1,600 run and was on the winning 3,200 relay team.
Coughlin 82, Valley West 68
Cole Horan and Rafael McCoy were triple winners as Coughlin won its second straight meet after an 0-4 start.
Horan won the long and triple jumps, McCoy placed first in the 100 and 200 dashes and both ran on the winning 400 relay team. Hunter Jones swept both hurdles events in the victory.
Wyoming Area 77, Tunkhannock 72
Kayne Burton was a triple winner and Cameron Carr won two field events, leading the Warriors to their first win in six meets.
Burton placed first in the 100, 200 and 400 dashes, while Carr captured the shot put and discus.
Tunkhannock swept all three relays, but Steven Yordy and Carr lifted Wyoming Area to victory by finishing second and third, respectively, in the high jump to earn four points for the Warriors in the meet’s final event.
Dallas 78, Pittston Area 72
3,200 relay — 1. PA (Mary Silinskie, Charity McLeod, Hannah Robbins, Nicole Zambetti), 10:50. 100 hurdles — 1. PA, Andrea Ruby, 16.0; 2. PA, Giavanna Inamoranti; 3. Dal, Abby Zolner. 100 — 1. Dal, Sam Mazula, 12.4; 2. PA, Olivia Norwillo; 3. PA, Jenna Smith. 1,600 — 1. Dal, Megan Borton, 5:36; 2. PA, Zambetti; 3. Dal, Kaitlyn Hodakowski. 400 — 1. PA, McLeod, 62.6; 2. Dal, Emily Fleming; 3. PA, Brynne McGoff. 400 relay — 1.Dal, 50.6. 300 hurdles — 1. Dal, Zolner, 47.7; 2. PA, Ruby; 3. PA, Inamoranti. 800 — 1. Dal, Melissa Leonard, 2:26; 2. PA, Zambetti; 3. PA, Silinskie. 200 — 1. Dal, Mazula, 25.6; 2. PA, O. Norwillo; 3. Dal, Hill. 3,200 — 1. Dal, Hodakowski, 13:28; 2. Dal, Emily Finnegan; 3. Dal, Caputilo. 1,600 relay — 1. PA.
High jump — 1. PA, Ashby, 4-10; 2. Dal, Annalise Cheshire; 3. Dal, Wakely. Pole vault — 1. PA, Abby Norwillo, 12-0; 2. Dal, Hollie Holthaus; 3. PA, Elizabeth Williams. Long jump — 1. Dal, Mazula, 15-10.25; 2. PA, A. Norwillo; 3. Dal, Annalise Cheshire. Triple jump — 1. PA, Abby Norwillo, 34-1.25; 2. Dal, Zolner; 3. PA, Ashton Ashby. Shot put — 1. Dal, Alicia Langan, 33-1.5; 2. Dal, Sara Krokos; 3. PA, Leah Hodick. Discus — 1. Dal, Langan, 111-9; 2. PA, Hodick; 3. PA, Katelyn Wesp. Javelin — 1. PA, Emma Coles, 97-8; 2. Dal, Montgomery; 3. Dal, Sara Krokos.
Pittston Area 88, Dallas 62
3,200 relay — 1. Dal (Adam Borton, Josh Wyandt, Jordyn Meade, Tony Caravaggio), 8:40. 110 hurdles — 1. Dal, Nate Maransky, 15.4; 2. PA, Nick Barbieri; 3. PA, Shane Syms. 100 — 1. PA, Alex Haas, 11.2; 2. Dal, Alex Solano; 3. PA, Trevor Tigue. 1,600 — 1. Dal, Wyandt, 5:11; 2. Dal, Mitchell Rome; 3. Dal, Noah Cooper. 400 — 1. PA, Michael Mikitish, 55.2; 2. Dal, Brad Adams; 3. Dal, Chamberlain. 400 relay — 1. PA, 45.5. 300 hurdles — 1. PA,Barbieri, 42.5; 2. PA, Syms; 3. Dal, N. Maransky. 800 — 1. PA, Hunter Kraklio, 2:09; 2. Dal, Wyandt; 3. Dal, Borton. 200 — 1. PA, Haas, 23.2; 2. PA, Tigue; 3. Dal, Jacob Fenske. 3,200 — 1. Dal, Rome, 11:28; 2. PA, Dominick Angradi; 3. Dal, Brendan Fleschut. 1,600 relay — 1. PA, 5:29.
High jump — 1. PA, Menendez, 5-4; 2. Dal, Frank; 3. Dal, Zardecki. Pole vault — 1. Dal, Matt Maransky, 12-6; 2. Dal, N. Maransky; 3. Dal, Fife. Long jump — 1. Dal, Matt Maransky, 19-7.5; 2. PA, Joyce; 3. Dal, Jarrod Frank. Triple jump — 1. PA, Joyce, 39-3; 2. Dal, Frank; 3. PA, Menendez. Shot put — 1. PA, Phil Cocco, 47-7.5; 2. PA, Jacob Rutkowski; 3. PA, Walter Coles. Discus — 1. PA, Rutkowski, 121-10; 2. PA, Coles; 3. Dal, Hunter. Javelin — 1. PA, Coles, 157-3; 2. PA, Rutkowski; 3. Dal, Hunter.
Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-991-6392 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloski