Western Wayne's girls varsity track & field team won the District Two Class AA title
In a classic confrontation that will be remembered for many years to come, Western Wayne and Lakeland battled right down to the final event in a quest for a district title.
The Lady 'Cats and Chiefs squared off Wednesday evening at Scranton Memorial Stadium in this year's edition of the Class AA Track & Field Championships.
And, with hundreds of fans cheering themselves hoarse, the local lasses rallied to win the final event and capture the team title.
Samantha Atcavage, Annie Skirpan, Caitlin Henneforth and Trina Barcarola combined to blow away the competition in the 4x400M relay.
This lightning-quick quartet combined to post a time of 4:08.47, good for a four-second cushion over Dunmore, gold medals and the AA championship.
“We had the meet pretty much all mapped out and I knew that it could very easily come down to the last event,” an emotionally and physically drained head coach Justin Collins said.
“I'm incredibly proud of this team. These girls faced some adversity during the season, but they worked hard and persevered.”
Western Wayne finished all alone atop the standings with 101 team points.
Lakeland earned runner-up status with 94.5 points, followed by Lake Lehman 79, Holy Cross 78 and Holy Redeemer 57.
The Lady 'Cats didn't dominate in any one aspect of this year's District Two Meet; however, they turned in a relentlessly consistent performance across the board to cop the AA crown.
“Everything had to fall into place for us to win,” Coach Collins said.
“I knew that Lakeland, with their two future Division I athletes would be right there with us at the end. So, all we asked of our girls was to go out, give us their best effort, and let the chips fall where they may.”
Trina Barcarola and Kaila Johnson led the way for Western Wayne on this day.
Barcarola is a versatile freshman who excels at just about every event.
On Wednesday, Trina won a gold medal in the pole vault by clearing the bar at 11 feet. She then took a fourth place in the 300M hurdles (48.20) and a fifth in the 100M hurdles (15.77)
Barcarola saved her best for last, though, running the anchor leg of the 4x100M relay team whose victory saved the day.
“Trina is still just a sophomore, but I'm not at all surprised by what she did here,” Coach Collins said. “Trina is a very good athlete, but she's also one of the hardest workers around.
“She's very humble and a pleasure to work with. I have no doubt this young lady has an incredibly bright future ahead of her.”
Johnson also authored a clutch performance on the sport's biggest stage. The unflappable sophomore is quickly developing into one of the region's top jumpers, as she showed Wednesday.
Kaila finished first in the high jump, clearing the bar at a height of 5-2 and delivering team points that proved crucial to a Western Wayne triumph.
“We all knew that Kaila had potential, but she's really blossomed this year,” Coach Collins said. “Kaila is a gamer. She has a lot of natural ability and she loves to compete.”
While Barcarola and Johnson paced the Lady 'Cat attack with individual gold, several other Western Wayne athletes also found spots on the podium.
Samantha Atcavage, Annie, Skirpan, Kallie Jones and Caitlin Henneforth teamed up to finish second in the 3200M relay with a time of 10:17.
Morgan Wagner chimed in as well, battling her way to a seventh place finish in the triple jump (32-6.75).
Next up were the sprints and Elizabeth Pulice made her presence there known in no uncertain terms. She placed third in the 100M (13.49) and fifth in the 200M (28.01).
Zoey Rosensweet also contributed a pair of medals to the cause. The senior took seventh in the discus (96-5) and fifth in the shot (30-5.5).
Western Wayne's relay squads struck again at this juncture of the meet.
The 4x100M team of Brianna Neales, Gianna DeBastiani, Noelle Orehek and Elizabeth Pulice put together a fourth place time of 51.53.
DeBastiani also checked in with a third place effort in the long jump with a leap measuring 16-8.75.
Skirpan rocketed her way to a silver medal in the 800M, stopping the clock at 2:26.58.
All winners at the 2017 District Two Class AA Meet advance to the PIAA State Championships.
This year's edition of the event is scheduled for May 26-27 at Grove Stadium on the campus of Shippensburg University.
Barcarola, Johnson and the members of Western Wayne's 4x800M relay team will all be there.
“It's been a fantastic year,” Coach Collins said.
“I'm a little overwhelmed right now, so it will probably take some time to process it all. But, I'll tell you what: This is a night that I'll remember for a very, very long time.”