SCRANTON – Katie Dammer displayed excellence and endurance while winning the three longest races while Calista Marzolino helped Abington Heights pile up points in two of her three event wins Tuesday night when the Lady Comets overwhelmed the field to win their latest title at the Robert Spagna Lackawanna Track Conference Championships.
It was a night full of Abington Heights success stories at Scranton Memorial Stadium, right through the final race of the night when the boys beat a strong field in the 1600-meter relay to complete a third-place finish in Class 3A.
With Dammer and Marzolino leading the way, Abington Heights won the Class 3A girls team title while scoring more points than any two opponents combined. The Lady Comets piled up 115 points. Wallenpaupack beat out Scranton Prep for second place, 59-54.
Dammer won the 800-, 1600- and 3200-meter runs and even had enough left to run the team’s fastest leg as anchor of the sixth-place 1600 relay team.
The performance helped Dammer and coach Mike Ludka assess what is ahead for the District 2 Class 3A Championships Monday where Dammer, a Georgetown commit and state contender, will try to find the right balance of seeking multiple wins and posting potentially historic times in her senior year.
“We bounce ideas around,” Ludka said. “Tonight was kind of a trial run to see how she could respond to a bunch of races.
“She really likes to go out and run a lot of races. It’s kind of the attitude that ‘I’ve worked really hard to get in the position I’m in so I want to go and show it to the world a little bit.’ At this point, who am I to hold her back? I imagine she’s going to be really ready to go for districts, but she’s also looking at time. She’s looking to leave some records and do some great things.”
Dammer destroyed the Spagna meet record in the 800, winning in 2:14.96, almost four seconds faster than the mark set by North Pocono’s Kaitlyn Lewis in 2012. She won the 1600 by more than 22 seconds in 4:55.99, coming within 36-100ths of a second of the meet record set by Penn State’s Tessa Barrett when she was at Abington Heights. Dammer did not challenge her own record in the 3200, but still won by nearly 11 seconds in 11:34.11.
Marzolino won the long jump with 16-6 ¾ while teammate Danielle Heine was second with 16-5.
“I’m glad that we can do it together and push each other,” said Marzolino, who also won the triple and high jumps while adding a fourth-place finish in the 100 hurdles. “There’s always someone there helping you and pushing you.
“Even if it’s not your best day, you can still be happy for them because that’s what teammates do.”
Marzolino cleared 5-2 to win the high jump. Mariel Curra tied for second at 5-0.
“You get those big chunk points and it’s really hard for other teams to keep up with that,” Ludka said. “We’re just fortunate that we have so many good kids that can contribute at that high level.”
Heine was also second in the pole vault, losing out on a tiebreaker to Scranton Prep’s Victoria Atkinson after both cleared 12 feet.
The Abington Heights girls were third in the 3200 relay with the team of Anna Marchetta, Zoe Detter, Elyse Simakaski and Hannah Hughes.
Scranton won the boys team title in Class 3A with 93 points. Delaware Valley had 87, Abington Heights 81 and Wallenpaupack 75 in a competitive team race.
Kyle Burke was involved in what may have been the three most exciting finishes of the night, winning two of them to lead the Comets.
Wallenpaupack’s Tyler Wirth and Burke both went well under the existing meet record in the 1600 with Wirth winning by three-hundredths of a second in 4:14.13.
Andrew Healey opened a bit of a cushion on Burke in the seventh of eight laps in the 3200, but Burke rallied to win by 13-hundredths in 9:54.23.
Delaware Valley’s Jack Doyle caught Burke on the anchor leg of the 1600 relay in which four teams ultimately finished within a second of each other. Burke fought back to catch Doyle at the line, winning by 15-hundredths in 3:26.74.
Chris Schimelfenig, Dan Uhranowsky and Antonio Maletta ran the other legs on the relay.
“They had a tough defeat at the Jordan Relays and that really motivated them to come out tonight and really race hard,” Ludka said. “There were four great legs there and you could say something about every one of them, but Kyle coming off the two mile and closing in 49 seconds is really impressive.
“All four of them had really good times.”
Maletta also finished second in the 300 hurdles and third in the 110 high hurdles. Uhranowsky added a second in the 800 and fourth in the 1600.
Tucker Schimelfenig was second in the high jump and the Comets were third in the 3200 relay.
Victoria James was third in the 800 and fourth in the 1600 for the best finishes by either Lackawanna Trail team.
The Abington Heights girls also repeated as Class 3A champion at the 63rd annual Jordan Relays May 3.
Dammer anchored four of the six races, including two wins and two second-place finishes.
The Lady Comets scored 46 points to win by 16 over Valley View.
Scranton beat out Abington Heights for the Class 3A boys title, 45-39.
Uhranowsky, Shervin Mokhtari, Maletta and Burke set a meet record in the distance medley in 8:07.87.