Honesdale is building for a solid future at the varsity level
If the performance of this year's junior high teams is any indicator, the future of Honesdale track & field appears bright indeed.
Under the direction of head coach Tiffany Leventhal, the Hornets more than held their own against perennial powers in the Lackawanna League.
Honesdale's girls team battled its way to a 5-2 regular season record, while the boys finished up the campaign at 3-4.
“This was a great group of kids,” Coach Leventhal said. “Going to practice with them was the highlight of my day. They were a lot of fun, but they weren't afraid to work hard either.”
The Red & Black closed out their spring season with a solid showing at the league meet. Each team notched a Top 5 performance with the girls placing third and the boys winding up fifth.
“All in all, it was a very good year,” said Coach Leventhal. “We didn't have great numbers, but the kids we did have were versatile and resilient. They were a pleasure to work with.”
Honesdale recently held its annual awards banquet at which both the varsity and junior high teams were recognized.
Connor Schmitt and Rachael Collins were the top honorees this year.
Schmitt is a freshman who is expected to have an immediate impact at the varsity level next year.
Connor showed his versatility and dominance in sprints and jumps. He went undefeated in the 100M, 200M, 400M and high jump during the regular season.
Schmitt then closed out the spring in fine fashion at the league meet. He earned gold in the high jump and three silvers in the sprints.
“Connor scored the most points for the boys team this year,” Coach Leventhal said. “He was a real force on the track and in the jumping pits as well.”
Collins is a talented eighth grader who also went unbeaten in regular season. Rachael excelled in both sprints and relays.
She put an exclamation point on her season with a dazzling effort at the league meet, finishing first in the 400M, second in the 100M and fourth in the 200M.
Collins capped her day by combining with teammates Madison Meagher, Anna Coar and Hannah Rybak to win the 4x400M relay.
“Rachael was the girls' top point scorer this year,” Coach Leventhal said. “She's very fast. Rachael could run anything from the 100M to the 400M for us and win easily.”
Andrew Tucker and Madison Meagher were also honored at the banquet.
Tucker is a freshman who excels in middle distance events. At this year's league meet, Andrew took gold in the 800M (2:14) and silver in the 1600M (5:05).
Meagher set a brand new school record in the triple jump, soaring to an eye-popping distance of 31-7. She also added a runner-up finish in the 400M.
For their efforts, Andrew and Madison were named “Most Versatile” at the awards banquet.
Rowan Murray (a multi-sport standout who also stars in basketball and field hockey) and Hailey Boehmer also contributed key efforts in the hurdles and jumps.
Taylor Wendell chipped in with solid performances in the sprints and relays. The frosh advanced to the final heat in the 100M, then anchored the 4x100M relay to a platform finish … joined there by teammates Pauline Ames, Jenna Bodnar and Anna Coar.
On the boys' side of the ledger, Honesdale's 4x100M relay team came out of the “slow heat” to earn a spot in the finals. There, the quartet of CJ Hinton, Anthony Farina, Jeffry Santos and Billy Eisloeffel combined to finish up fifth.
Eight grader Jimmy Davis volunteered to run the 3200M at Abington, while freshman Zack Wilken stepped up to anchor the 4x100M at several different events.
Ryan Gross, an eighth grader who specializes in the pole vault, also made key contributions. He was coached by Hornet alum Don Stiles.
Freshmen Josh Clark and Julia Armetta were the Red & Black's top throws. Clark also earned this year's “Academic Excellence” award at the banquet.
Natalie Mozga, another member of Honesdale's talented freshman class, was the girls' Academic Excellence honoree.
Honesdale is coming off its first varsity season under the watchful eyes of rookie coach Pete Casazza.
The Hornets struggled a bit this spring, finishing a combined 1-7 in the rugged Lackawanna League.
However, enthusiasm ran high all season long. That fact, combined with the expected infusion of many talented freshmen, has local fans giddy with anticipation for the 2020 campaign.
“We're sending up a very good group of kids from junior high,” Coach Leventhal said. “I think they're going to have a really positive impact.”