Dallas Girls, Hazelton Boys Win WVC Titles
HAZLE TWP. — The Hazleton Area boys track and field team isn’t loaded with superstars and record-breakers.
That hasn’t stopped the Cougars from overpowering all opponents this spring. You can now add previously-unbeaten Dallas to the list.
On Tuesday at Cougar Park, Hazleton Area stormed past the visiting Mountaineers, 95-54, capping an undefeated season and giving the team its third Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 championship in the last six years.
“Dual-meet wise, it was a very strong season because we have a lot of depth,” said veteran Cougars head coach Lou Gunderman. “We’re not great in too many places, but we’re good everywhere. If someone beats us in one area, we’re going to come and beat them in two areas.”
Meanwhile, the Dallas girls concluded their own unbeaten dual-meet season yesterday with a 90-60 victory over runner-up Hazleton Area. It was the Mountaineers’ second straight WVC Division 1 title, and marked the seventh time in the last 10 seasons that they have either won or shared the crown.
Hazleton Area’s depth was once again on display Tuesday. In addition to winning 11 of 18 events, the Cougars swept the 400, 800 and all three relay events. They tucked the meet away with a whopping 10 seconds and 10 thirds, giving them 40 of a possible 65 points there.
The 45-point triumph marked the closest margin of victory this season for the dominant Cougars (7-0), who felt they had a date with destiny after coming up one win short of the title last year. They dropped their season-opener to Pittston Area in 2018, and the Patriots went on to run the table.
“It feels pretty good,” said senior sprinter Michael Bradley, one of several seniors honored prior to the final home meet of the season. “After last year we got beat by Pittston, it was pretty sad. We weren’t ready for it. This year, we were coming. We knew what we wanted. We were on a mission the whole season.”
Fittingly, Bradley and his classmates helped the Cougars reach the finish line Tuesday, taking down a Dallas team that came in with an identical 6-0 record.
The senior sprinter clocked a 51.3 in taking the 400-meter dash, anchored the winning 4x400 relay team, and also earned one of the team’s 10 seconds in the 200.
Fellow senior Henry Polanco won the 100 (11.3) and ran a leg of the winning 4x100 relay team, classmate Charlie Valdez took home the 800-meter run in 2:09, while seniors Bobby Earley, Jacob Hunsinger, Kyle Franek and Warren Seigendall were on winning relay teams Tuesday.
“This feels good,” beamed Seigendall, a four-year letterman. “I won this as a sophomore, and I wanted to come back as a senior with all the other seniors and do it again. We had a lot of fun together. Hopefully we’re going to make some more memories at districts.”
The seniors got some heavy lifting from the underclassmen all season, helping to put the team over the top. Tuesday’s meet was no different.
Sophomores Jean Portes (110 high hurdles), Junior Diaz (triple jump), Zach Keiner (1600) and Kelvin Gonzalez (high jump) all pocketed individual firsts against Dallas. In addition, junior Scott Campbell uncorked the top javelin throw in District 2 this season with a winning heave of 176-7.
“We lost Joey Grula from last year in the jumps and javelin, so there are some sophomores and juniors that have really stepped up and helped us out, got some big points when we needed them,” Seigendall said.
“It was pretty special. I’ve known some of these guys for six-plus years,” added Bradley. “Some of them were new, the first year for a couple of them, but it felt like they fit right in. All-around, we’re pretty good.”
Dallas’ Michael Anderson continued his dominance in the throws, winning the shot put (50-10 1/2) and discus (122-9), while Matt Maransky took the long jump (20- 3/4) and pole vault (12-0) to pace the Mountaineers.
The teams will spend the next week prepping for the annual District 2 Track and Field Championships, set for next Tuesday at Scranton.
With the Dallas girls entering the meet a perfect 6-0, the once-beaten Lady Cougars knew they’d have their hands full if they were to knock off the Lady Mounts and gain a share of the title.
“The girls put out a tremendous effort today,” said Hazleton Area girls’ coach Mark Otterbine. “We knew Dallas was tough and they had a lot of depth, but our girls went out and performed well, so I’m proud of them.”
Dallas sprinter Alondra Church was a one-person wrecking crew, however, winning the 100 (12.9), 200 (26.3) and 400 (60.3), and turning a leg of the winning 4x400 relay team to help power her team’s 30-point victory. Dallas also swept the three relays.
For the Lady Cougars (5-2), freshman Lauren Festa leaped a personal-best 34 feet, 1 1/2 inches to win the triple jump, one of her three firsts on the afternoon. She also took the long jump (14-9) and shared the high jump win at 4-6.
Senior Keturah LeGette (shot put, discus) and sophomore Isabella Colyer (pole vault, 100 hurdles) were both double winners for the Lady Cougars.
“Two of our girls had their best time in the hurdles, Isabella Colyer and Brooke Kuehn. Lauren Festa had a personal-record in the triple jump. All around, we’re where I want to be going into districts,” Otterbine said. “Now we need to get a couple people healthy, and we have a week to do that and to tweak what we need to tweak.”
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Boys Hazleton Area 95, Dallas 54 100 — 1. Henry Polanco (HA) 11.3, 2. Alex Solano (D), 3. Ramady Melendez (HA); 200 — 1. Solano (D) 22.6, 2. Michael Bradley (HA), 3. Melendez (HA); 400 — 1. Bradley (HA) 51.3, 2. Kyle Franek (HA), 3. Warren Seigendall (HA) 54.4; 800 — 1. Charlie Valdez (HA) 2:09, 2. Zach Keiner (HA), 3. Gabe McKittrick (HA); 1,600 — 1. Keiner (HA) 4:44, 2. McKittrick (HA), 3. Mitchell Rome (D); 3,200 — 1. Bradley (D) 10:52, 2. Nicholas Hebel (HA), 3. Bobby Earley (HA); 110 HH — 1. Jean Portes (HA) 16.0, 2. John Sidari (HA), 3. Ben Fife (D); 300 IH — 1. Fife (D) 41.7, 2. Portes (HA), 3. Justin Gonzalez (HA); 400 relay — 1. Hazleton Area (Ryan Zamonas, Polanco, Jacob Hunsinger, Fylis Rodriguez) 44.6; 1,600 relay — 1. Hazleton Area (Portes, Franek, Seigendall, Bradley) 3:46; 3,200 relay — 1. Hazleton Area (Earley, Charles Everdale, McKittrick, Hebel) 9:22; High jump — 1. Kelvin Gonzalez (HA) 5-9, 2. Angel Cruz (HA), 3. Frank Lojewski (D); Long jump — 1. Matt Maransky (D) 20- 3/4, 2. Junior Diaz (HA), 3. Franek (HA); Triple jump — 1. Diaz (HA) 41-10 1/2, 2. Maransky (D), 3. Cruz (HA); Shot put — 1. Michael Anderson (D) 50-10 1/2, 2. Ryan Fisher (D), 3. Jonathan DeBellis (HA); Discus — 1. Anderson (D) 122-9, 2. Fisher (D), 3. Russel Blew (HA); Javelin — 1. Scott Campbell (HA) 176-7, 2. Maransky (D), 3. DeBellis (HA); Pole vault — 1. Maransky (D) 12-0, 2. Mercedes (HA), 3. no third.
Girls Dallas 90, Hazleton Area 60 100 — 1. Alondra Church (D) 12.9, 2. Jillian Buchman (HA), 3. Francis (D); 200 — 1. Church (D) 26.3, 2. Francis (D), 3. Stacy Geronimo (HA); 400 — 1. Church (D) 60.3, 2. Buchman (HA), 3. Seyonna McKittrick (HA); 800 — 1. Claudia Carver (D) 2:36, 2. Megan Borton (D), 3. McKittrick (HA); 1,600 — 1. Borton (D) 6:06, 2. Kristie Semanchik (HA), 3. Katie Balay (HA); 3,200 — 1. Kaitlyn Hodakowski (D) 12:23, 2. Sarah Myers (HA), 3. Hailey Kaschak (HA); 100 HH — 1. Isabella Colyer (HA) 16.5, 2. Brooke Kuehn (HA), 3. Pocono (D); 300 IH — 1. Calli Ogurkis (D) 51.0, 2. Pocono (D), 3. Jade Sency (HA); 400 relay — 1. Dallas (Isabella Hill, Olivia Maniskas, Francis, Raybock) 51.1; 1,600 relay — 1. Dallas (Church, Francis, Hill, Ogurkis) 4:25; 3,200 relay — 1. Dallas (Hodakowski, Maniskas, Carver, Borton) 10:33; High jump — 1. (tie) Lauren Festa (HA) and Ferrell (D), 4-6, 3. Maniskas (D); Long jump — 1. Festa (HA) 14-9, 2. Hill (D), 3. Dalsanto (D); Triple jump — 1. Festa (HA) 34-1 1/2, 2. Hill (D), 3. Dalsanto (D); Shot put — Keturah LeGette (HA) 36-2, 2. Shannon O’Donnell (D), 3. Olivia Krokos (D); Discus — 1. LeGette (HA) 99-8, 2. O’Donnell (D), 3. Krokos (D); Javelin — 1. Abbey Hengst (HA) 113-9, 2. Ferrell (D), 3. Krokos (D); Pole vault — 1. Colyer (HA) 9-0, 2. Ferrell (D), 3. Ogurkis (D).