SCRANTON – When Katie Dammer first started picking off course and meet records throughout her high school cross country and track careers, Lisa Roder was simply one of the names.
Dammer’s performances erased other names from various records listings, but Roder’s name often stayed in place, her times just out of reach.
By the time Dammer ran down Roder’s District 2 Class 3A Track and Field Championships meet record in the 1600-meter run, the name of the 1995 Wallenpaupack graduate had taken on new meaning.
Roder, a state high school champion, went on to win an indoor track relay national championship at Georgetown University, the same school where Dammer will continue her academic and athletic careers in the fall.
“It’s a cool, serendipitous thing that we’re headed to the same place,” Dammer said after winning in 4:54.24 to break Roder’s 23-year-old meet record of 4:55.04. “It speaks to the tradition of Georgetown, which is also an exciting thing. And, that speaks to the tradition of this area, which is something I’ll always be grateful for. I would have never gotten to the level I’m at if it wasn’t for me having such great competition when I was developing.”
In the beginning, the local competition was from opponents like state cross country champion Ally Rome from Dallas who Dammer defeated in track season. By the end of her high school career, history – and Roder’s records – were the competition.
Dammer ran 4:55.35 at last year’s district meet, just missing the mark she broke Monday.
“I actually missed her cross country course record at Wallenpaupack by a half a second, which in cross country is nothing,” Dammer said. “I knew it was her record last year when I fell just short of it at the district meet, but Georgetown didn’t mean anything to me. It was really this fall after I had committed that I realized how cool that was.”
Distance runners Dammer and Kyle Burke led the way for the Abington Heights teams at the district meet.
Dammer led the Lady Comets to a runaway team championship, their third straight, with two individual gold medals and by anchoring two silver-medal relay teams.
Burke helped the boys team stay in title contention before finishing third, with 72 points behind the first-place tie at 80 between Wallenpaupack and Scranton. He won individual gold in the 1600 and joined the team’s other leaders for a gold medal in the closing 1600 relay.
Calista Marzolino was the other Abington Heights champion, winning the 100 hurdles along with a silver medal in the high jump where she was defending champion and a bronze in the triple jump.
Danielle Heine, in the girls pole vault, and Antonio Maletta, in the boys 300 hurdles, gave Abington Heights two more qualifiers for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Championships May 25-26 at Shippensburg University by meeting state standards while falling short of district titles.
When she gets to the state meet, Dammer will run the difficult 1600-3200 combination that most distance runners avoid there.
“At this point, I’m experienced, I’m confident and I know that there is such good competition in the state of Pennsylvania,” said Dammer, who said she wants to test herself in two of the nation’s best state high school championship races at those distances. “ … I love competing. I love being out there and testing myself.”
Dammer felt the effects of a scorching 31-second first 200 meters in her record run, but fought through and recovered with a strong closing kick to beat the record. She won the 3200 in 10:55:01 and was strong in both the day’s first race, the 3200 relay, and the last, the 1600 relay.
Marzolino led qualifying, then won the final of the 100 hurdles in 15.86.
Hannah Hughes earned three silver medals – one on her own in the 800 and two on the relay teams.
Anna Marchetta was also on both second-place relay teams.
Dani Beamish completed the 1600 relay lineup and was seventh in the 400. Zoe Detter was part of the 3200 relay and was eighth in the 800.
Heine was third in the pole vault by clearing 11-6 and also placed third in the long jump.
Emma Marion (3200) and Mariel Curra (high jump) also earned bronze medals while Abington Heights was outscoring second-place Dallas, 104 ½-61.
Others to contribute points with top-eight finishes were Jill Bird, fifth, discus; Katie Shea, sixth, 3200; Rachel Klein, tie for seventh, pole vault; Sky Smith, eighth, shot put.
Burke was once again part of dramatic finishes.
After losing to Wallenpaupack’s Kyle Wirth by three-hundredths of a second in the Robert Spagna Lackawanna Track Conference Meet 1600, Burke won the rematch by 39-hundredths in 4:19.32. He was also second in the 3200, losing to Berwick’s Mitchell Martin by 66-hundredths.
Burke anchored the 1600 relay to a time of 3:23.89, coming within 45-hundredths of the meet record set by Pittston Area in 1991.
Maletta joined Burke to make the Comets the only team with two legs of the relay under 50 seconds. He also was second in both hurdles, hitting the qualifying time with 39.13 in the 300 hurdles.
Dan Uhranowsky and Chris Schimelfenig also ran the winning relay after finding success elsewhere earlier in the meet.
Uhranowsky was second in the 800, breaking two minutes, and was part of the fourth-place 3200 relay team. Schimelfenig was fourth in the high jump and eighth in the 400.
Ethan Mattox, Stephen Haggerty and Connor Kryeski completed the 3200 relay.
Ryan Flynn was third in the shot put and eighth in the discus.
Shervin Mokhtari was seventh in the 300 hurdles.
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