HS TRACK AND FIELD: Wallenpaupack’s Turner Heads To States As One Of Best All-time In LTC
SCRANTON — As she waited to have a gold medal draped around her neck, Wallenpaupack’s Mackenzie Turner sat calmly in the shadows on the infield just behind the awards platform.
That medal would soon cover a necklace she wears for every big meet.
On it, is a charm of the iconic Superman Shield.
It may not give her the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but she gave evidence that it might help her to at least challenge being faster than a speeding bullet.
Turner, an already respected and decorated champion in the mid-distance races and a Division I athlete who is headed to Bucknell University, put herself among the all-time greats in District 2 and the Lackawanna Track Conference.
Her gripping sprint around the 400-meter oval track at Scranton Memorial Stadium clocked in at 57.51 seconds. It eclipsed a District 2 Class 3A record and ranked as the fourth-fastest time recorded by a female athlete in the LTC.
Only Delaware Valley’s Ashley Holgate, who ran 56.54 at the state meet in 2010, Montrose’s Diane (DiPhillips) Koloski, who had a 57.24 in 1983, and Abington Heights’ Julie Nicholas, who ran a 57.43 in 1998, have completed the lap in less time.
It’s been a long, training-filled road to that meet record for Turner, who started as a gold-medal winner in the 300 hurdles as a sophomore.
She adopted the 400 as her own, an event most sprinters shy away from because of the combination of speed, endurance and toughness it requires.
As a junior, Turner closed the postseason with the ferocity she does the race. Over the course of a month, she posted times better than 59 seconds in four championship races. But it was her 11th-place finish at the PIAA Championships in a then-best 57.82 that had been her motivation.
This spring, Turner — who even competed in the 1,600 during the regular season — nearly set a meet record at the Robert Spagna Championship meet with her time of 58.08, just shy of the 58.01 that North Pocono’s Kaitlyn Lewis ran in 2015.
At the District 2 Championship Meet, Turner was pushed the whole way by Delaware Valley’s Taliyah Booker, who ran a 57.63, to earn that coveted record.
That wasn’t all, though.
In the final event of the night, Turner took the baton in the 1,600 relay behind the team from Dallas and looked determined to make up the ground.
She took the lead around the fourth turn.
When Turner crossed the finish line, Wallenpaupack had won a gold medal in a time of 4:03.99. Her 400 meters completed in an eye-popping 56.33 seconds.
Two 400-meter races.
Two incredible times.
Lakeland senior Mikayla Marino put the finishing touches on a rewarding four years in the throwing events in the District 2 Class 2A Championship meet.
For the second straight season, Marino won the gold medal in the shot put and the discus. She added a silver in the javelin, giving her nine District 2 medals in her career.
In the discus, Marino posted a mark of 138-0, which is the best recorded by an athlete from the LTC, surpassing the distance of 137-1 set by North Pocono’s Jessica Slagus in 2012.
Marino’s season-best put in the shot of 39-11 is the fourth-best in LTC history, trailing Lakeland’s April Doyle, who topped out at 43-1; Honesdale’s Cycerli Ash, who hit 42-2¾; and Dunmore’s Jillian Korgeski, whose best was 40-6.
■ Carbondale Area senior Sarah Korty, who attends Forest City and finished second to Marino in the discus, hit a distance of 131-5 which made her only the fifth athlete in the LTC to surpass 130 feet in the event.
■ Wallenpaupack freshman Anastasia Ioppolo not only made a sparkling debut by winning four gold medals at the District 2 Class 3A Championships, she also landed among the best of all time in the LTC.
Her winning, and meet-record, distance of 18-2½ in the long jump is second in LTC history, behind only Montrose’s Julia Koloski, who leaped 18-4¼ in 2009.
Even with Abington Heights senior Antonio Maletta dominating the 110 hurdles race all season, it appears the future of the event in the LTC will be bright.
In the Class 2A championship meet, Lakeland sophomore Chase Nolan ran a 15.66 to finish second and advance to the PIAA Championship meet.
Montrose junior George Thompson was third in 15.74; Susquehanna sophomore Cory Bricourt finished fourth in 16.27; Dunmore sophomore David Reilly placed sixth in 16.66; and Mid Valley junior Josh Zarnowski, who stumbled in the final, had a qualifying time of 16.07.
In Class 3A, Scranton sophomore Sam Jones finished third in 15.73; Delaware Valley sophomore Will Gianesses finished fifth in 15.94; and Valley View sophomore Spencer Duffield was sixth in 16.15.
Doing it all
Blue Ridge senior Karris Fazzi rebounded from a frustrating night of missteps at the Robert Spagna Championship meet to qualify for the PIAA Championships for the first time since her freshman year when she traveled with the 1,600 relay team.
She ran a time of 16.17 and earned the second automatic qualifier in the Class 2A 100 hurdles race.
Fazzi also added a pair of fifth-place finishes in the 400 (1:04.09) and the 800 (2:31.60), and a seventh with a personal-best distance of 15-11¼ in the long jump. She accounted for all 18 team points for the Lady Raiders.
Lakeland became the first program from the LTC to win seven straight boys championships when it won the Class 2A crown. The Chiefs now have 18 district titles, including 16 in the last 23 seasons.
Wallenpaupack won its seventh championship to break a tie with North Pocono, which won six straight from 1992 to 1997, for second among LTC schools.
Abington Heights won its fourth straight girls Class 3A title. It’s the second time the Lady Comets achieved that milestone, also winning four straight from 2007 to 2010. They have the most district titles among LTC schools.
Western Wayne and Lakeland are tied for second each with four district titles in girls track and field.
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