First Posted: 4/4/2012

The Lackawanna League track and field season is underway and there are plenty of storylines with local teams. The Abington boys team features one of the top distance runners in the district, if not the state, in Sean Burke. The Lady Comets girls team is looking to continue an impressive streak. The Lakeland boys are under the leadership of a new head coach as are the Lackawanna Trail girls and boys teams. The Lakeland girls have many returning starters back, including state qualifier Tori Doyle and picked up an impressive win in their first meet.

Abington Heights Boys

After finishing last season with a 1-6 record, the Comets are looking to find more success with a mix of seasoned veterans and promising underclassmen this season.

They return senior Sean Burke and junior Pat Haggerty as starting distance runners. Sophomore Pat Stoughton and freshman Jacob Ross also start as distance runners.Senior Ben Kalmanovich and junior Jamie Henzes return as starting sprinters. Sophomore Dustin Eyerman also starts as a sprinter.

Senior Jake Fitzpatrick returns as a pole vaulter and jumper. Sophomore Sam Kontz is the Comets other starting vaulter.

Senior Dylan Berardelli and Joe Dolan return as throwers. Senior Kevin Murray, junior Brian Morgantini and freshman Zach Bird are the starting jumpers. Murray, Fitzpatrick and freshman Michael Sebastian are the starting hurdlers. Head coach Frank Passetti is pleased with the way the team is coming together.

“We have already equaled our win total from last season in the first week,” he said. “We still have a lot of underclassmen and are hoping to build experience. I expect the team to improve steadily with each match and am optimistic that we can have a quality season both as a team an individually.”

Abington Heights Girls

The Abington Heights girls track team has dominated the league for several years. They finished last season 7-0 and Passetti is confident they can continue their reign.

Senior Elisia Cadman returns as a starting sprinter and hurdler and does sophomore Isabelle Clauss. Sophomore Missy Burke returns as a sprinter and jumper, junior Kelsey O’Donnell returns as a sprinter, senior Erika Sarno returns as a jumper, juniors Taylor Ross and Jessica McMinn along with sophomores Jen Burke and Erin Jaeger return as distance runners. Junior Alex Chapman returns as a thrower. Sophomore Mia Gurganus returns as a pole vaulter and junior Jessica Kurey is back as a hurdler and vaulter. Sophomore Kaitlinn Mitrow is a starter as a thrower, senior Lauren Hoyt is a starting sprinter and jumper, sophomore Brianna Toro is a starting jumper, sophomore Tessa Barrett is a starting distance runner, freshman Chloe Shook and Justene Bartkowski are starting throwers. Freshman Michaelina Holmes and Abigail McMinn are starting jumpers. Brianna Jaeger is a starting distance runner.

The program has won 32 straight league matches and has lost just one meet in the last eight years.

Passetti thinks the Lady Comets have a legitimate chance to continue that streak for years to come.

“The nice thing is that we have very few seniors,” he said. “There is a lot more parity in the league this season so they can’t take anyone for granted, but I’m optimistic they should continue to be successful.”

Lakeland Boys

The Chiefs suffered through a winless season a year ago, but are hopeful to have a successful campaign under a new head coach. They must replace hurdler Steve Munley and thrower Al Tuzze, but have many starters back on the team.

Brandon Carlo, David Scalzo, Paul Szustakowski and Tim Von Storch return as starting distance runners. Junior Bruce Lindmuth returns as a hurdler, junior Zach Krieger returns as a mid distance runner, junior Brandon Newberry returns as a sprinter, senior Chris Burcheri as well as juniors Willie Demyan, Jon Sekelsky and Billy Thomas return as throwers, senior Stan Kaminsky and junior Jake Noldy return as pole vaulters.

Freshman Mark Arzie and Nathan Morgan are starters as distance runners. Senior J.J. Rojenches along with junior Casey Albino, sophomores Tim Hackenberg and Koda Smith, and freshman Alex Rieder start as sprinters. Rojenches is also a jumper. Sophomores Gavin O’Donnell and Chet Anuszewski are starters as hurdlers and jumpers. Sophomore Cody Morcom is starting pole vaulter. Junior Dante DeAntonio along with sophomores Frank Bauman and A.J. Rupp are starting throwers. Sophomore Scotty Cortez is a starting mid distance runner.

First-year head coach Art Davis is hoping to restore the Lakeland program back to glory.

“We expect to have a winning season and take Lakeland track and field back to relevance in District 2,” Davis said. “The kids are ready to compete. We are young, but ready for the challenge.”

Lakeland Girls

The Chiefs finished last season with just one win, but opened this season with a victory.

Senior Tori Doyle returns as a starting jumper, senior Alex Miller is back as a starting distance runner. Junior Ashton Boyarsky returns as a jumper and sprinter, juniors Julie Kozuch, Sarah Larkin and Emily Williams return as sprinters. Junior Tia Newberry returns as a pole vaulter and thrower. Junior Mackenzi Kaiser is a starting sprinter, sophomore Breann Clauss-Walton is a starting thrower, sophomores Sarah Beecroft, Mandy Jadick are Natalie Tuffy starting jumpers. Freshman Lauren Holt starts as a distance runner while freshman Cassidy Jenkins is a starting hurdler.

Lackawanna Trail Boys

Senior Peter Lengel returns as a starting sprinter and senior Jamie Reese is back as a mid distance runner. Senior Andrew O’Brien returns as a starting sprinter.

Junior Justin Barber is back as a starting thrower. Junior Isaac Barbolish is back as a distance runner. Juniors Matt Goodrich is back as a sprinter and jumper, junior Zach Goodrich is back as a sprinter and thrower. Junior Zach Wetzel returns as a distance runner while junior Dylan Harris is back as a hurdler and junior Anthony Urban is back as a mid distance runner, sophomore Devon Clark is a starting distance runner and sophomore Jake Adcroft is a starting thrower.

Matt Decker joined the team as a junior and is a starting sprinter. Freshman Nathaniel Barbolish is a pole vaulter.

Petrewski has been pleased with the development of Barber.

“He placed fourth in the discus at districts last year and is looking to improve in both the discus and the shot put.”

Lackawanna Trail Girls

The Lackawanna Trail girls’ will look to build off last season’s success when they won five meets.

Senior Gabrielle Bellanco returns as a starting jumper and senior Alexa Rzucidlo is back as a thrower. Senior Alicia Breria returns as a distance runner and senior Courtney Wood is back as a sprinter and vaulter. Junior Aliza Furneaux returns as a hurdler, junior Kiernan Daugherty returns as a distance runner and junior Mollie Seigle returns as a distance runner.

Sophomore Chelsy Stuble is back as a sprinter and sophomores Amanda Madans are Katie Seigle are back as a distance runners. Freshman Lauren Stanton is a starting jumper.

Petrewski expects Furneaux and Daughery to lead the girls’ team

“They are both returning place winners at districts,” he said. “We will look to both of them to help lead the girls’ team this year.”

He has a positive outlook about both teams’ chances of having a successful season.

“We have a good core of returning starters coming back this year,” he said. “The kids and coaches are working hard to improve everyday. We expect to be competitive in the league, and have some individuals do well at districts.”

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