Wallenpaupack Area girls track team celebrates Spagna Meet championship

·5 min read

SCRANTON — First, the Lady Bucks captured the crown at the 2022 Icebreaker Relays.

Then, the local lasses finished first at the Godek Twilight Invitational.

They closed out the regular season with a 4-0 Lackawanna League Record and then took second place at the Jordan Relays, edged out by Abington Heights.

That one blemish faded fast on May 10 when the Wallenpaupack Area girls track & field team was the overall winner and brought home the AAA league crown from the Robert Spagna Championships held at Memorial Stadium.

Ladies Night, Oh What a Night!

Leading the way for the Lady Buckhorns was senior Anastasia Ioppolo.

The senior sensation topped the podium in four events to account for 40 of Paupack's 102.5 points.

In the 100M Hurdles, Ana edged out Riverside’s Avery Meredick by 0.22 seconds to win the event in 15.61.

Sophomore Abby Kimler added to the Purple & White’s score with five points by taking fourth place.

The duo mopped up in the 300M Hurdles as well. Ioppolo grabbed gold and beat her own school record with a 46.60 time, 3.31 seconds over Meredick. Kimler hit a personal record with 50.86 to finish fifth.

Ioppolo landed a 36-0 triple jump for the victory, then put the icing on the cake with a 17-11.50 long jump to break the Spagna record previously set by Scranton Prep’s Elizabeth Pattera in 2015 at 17-6.25.

“I didn’t even know what the old record was until they told me that I beat it,” Ana admitted. “I’m still not fully back to where I want to be with jumps.

“Last year between the COVID and the shin splints it really affected me, but I’m doing better in hurdles than I ever did before.”

Paupack also landed a big win in the 4x800M relay, traditionally a signature event for the team.

Senior Meg Desmet, a staple in the quartet, was out sick so sophomore Lexi Kapschull filled in. Freshmen Ella Smith and Darby Brennan ran the middle legs while senior Sam Sassi closed it out in 10:10.35, 2.55 ahead of Elk Lake.

Also adding point to the overall tally were senior Devon Kiesendahl in the 100M at 13.34 for sixth. She teamed up with freshman Soleil Wright, and seniors Genna Terry and Caitlyn Posdon to capture fourth in 4x100M relay with a 52,33.

Sassi PR’d in the 400M with a 1:02.27, as did Smith in seventh with a 1:02.85. Sassi added another PR in the 800M at 2:28.15 for fourth and Smith PR’d in the 200M for fifth with a 27.02.

Smith, Kiesendahl, Sassi and senior Hannah Karp nabbed third in the 4x400M relay with a 4:19.69.

The Paupack gals excelled in the field as well.

Junior Grace Steffen took third in the shot with a 31-11.25 throw and second in the discus at 110-3.

Terry landed a 8-0 pole vault for a PR, but fell short of the points margin ending up 10th.

Consistent Improvement

North Pocono took the boys title with 100 points, but Paupack finished seventh with 38.

The 4x800M relay team of sophomore Daniel Salvati, seniors Chris Maurice and Alec Crouthamel, and sophomore Nick Tighe earned fourth with 8:50.04.

Sophomore Dominic Cresta took sixth in the 110M hurdles with a 16.31.

Cresta partnered with senior Shadrak Agyei, freshmen Michael Passenti and Dylan Shorten to place third in the 4x100M relay in 44.80. Senior Chris Quigley PR’d in the 400M laying down a 52.62 time.

Senior Andrew Cerciello took eighth in the 300M hurdles with a 43.52.

Crouthamel fell short of points but PR’d in the 800M with a 2:06.78 for ninth. Shorten finished similarly in the 200M with a PR of 23.72.

Finally on the track, Quigley, Passenti, Shorten, and Cerciello cruised to fourth in the 4x400M relay with a 3:35.76.

Junior Chase Gramling placed eighth in the pole vault with a 9-0. Quigley took fifth in the high jump at 5-6. Passenti landed a 20-2 in the long jump for fourth.

Senior Dane Watson PR’d in the javelin with a 136-8 loft for seventh. Also in seventh was sophomore Ben Ostrowski with a 117-6 discus.

Onward and Upward

“We don’t have superstars with the boys but there’s a lot of kids putting in the effort and constantly improving,” said Head Coach Mark McHugh. “The younger guys show a lot of potential for the future and the seniors are providing great leadership on and off the field.”

This was the first time the Lady Bucks won the AAA League title.

With AA schools dominating the sprints, it leaves a lot of things up in the air for the AAA District Championships on May 16-17, back once more at Memorial Stadium.

Despite the success at the Spagna Meet, a district title is not a sure thing. Abington closed to within 10 points of victory in the final event and Wyoming Valley Conference teams such as Crestwood and undefeated Dallas will likely play into it.

“The kids had a great day and stepped up but we’re nervous about districts,” McHugh said. “We have a chance to win it and it would be the first AAA District Two title for our girls, but there’s still a lot of strong kids out there from other schools.

“Our girls are doing great but it’s going to come down to who steps up the most this coming week.”

This article originally appeared on Tri-County Independent: Lackawanna League girls track and field Wallenpaupack Area Spagna Meet