North Pocono athletes perform well at Class AAA meet

The regular season went well for the North Pocono boys and girls varsity track & field squads.

While the ladies came in third after posting a 2-2 record in the Lackawanna League Division 2, the gents ended up tied for first with a 3-1 showing.

At the Robert Spagna League Championships, the girls placed seventh as a team while the boys took second, trailing only Scranton High School.

Both teams combined, North Pocono wound up in fifth out of the 20 schools that competed.

All of that, good or bad, went by the wayside on May 16 when the Trojans converged on Memorial Stadium for the second time in eight days.

Both the NP gentlemen and ladies took home some gold by winning five events at the PIAA District II AAA championships. Solid showings were seen by both the boys and girls teams.

Good enough to earn the boys, up against eighteen schools, a fourth-place finish, and land the girls in sixth out of 19.

Gents Shine

Following in the wake of state champion Matt Kravitz for the previous three seasons certainly did prepare David Haines for a district gold medal in the 3200M.

The senior completed the eight laps around the track in 9:22.67, edging out Dallas High School’s Jack Zardecki by just 0.23 seconds.

If you think that was close, senior Randy Bocan won the 800M with a time 1:59.49. In second place was Mitchell Forgash of Wyoming Valley West with a time of 1:59.51.

It was nearly an instant replay of their race at the Trojans Invitational earlier this season.

Not a photo finish by any means was senior Matt Slagus’ first place shot put throw of 55’-00.50, four feet better than the next best toss.

Even more impressive was Slagus’ gold winning discus of 180’-06. While he didn’t break his own district record that he set at last year’s district meet, he did obliterate the competition.

As a comparison, the second-place toss was 146’-07.

“I did focus a little more on shot put the last few weeks just because I really wanted to win. I came close a few times but missed winning by inches,” Slagus said.

“It’s my third trip to states and I’m excited but also I know what to expect and what I want to accomplish.”

Trojans Head Coach Jason Sepkowski lauded all three athletes for their achievements and commended them for their dedication.

“Dave still has a little more in him, I think,” said Sepkowski, “He set out to do what he wanted to do and to run distance you have to put in the miles.

“Something clicked with Randy in his junior year and he’s worked his tail off. He’s always been talented but took initiative this year and it’s paid off extremely well.

“Matt is going back to states for his third time and I think at this point there’s more expectations. He has more in him and he’s going to states with a set of goals.”

Also among some of the top boys’ finishers were junior Joe Thiel, who took fourth in the long jump and sixth in the high jump; and Senior Tyler Reilly brought home the silver in the long jump.

Gaining Experience

The Lady Trojans are a young bunch. There’s only five seniors.

Sepkowski noted their great leadership, and given the youth of the squad and the field of competition they were up against at districts, their performance was commendable.

It is estimated roughly 2.3 percent of all the gold ever refined throughout human history resides in the US Bullion Depository at Fort Knox.

After the district meet, probably about the same amount now sits in the Slagus home. Also winning the discus throw was Jessica Slagus, who hit a 124’-10 mark finish first.

“Jess has been consistent all year,” said Sepkowski.

“That model has allowed her to do better than other girls that were seeded higher than her. They didn’t have that great of a day and Jess performed like she always does and won. She’s looking forward to states.”

Taking home some hardware for the Lady Trojans, too, were senior Grace Hamilton who won a silver in the 800M.

Freshman Lila Gaughan netted a foruth place in the long jump and fifth in the 400M.

Gaughan’s long jump of 16’-10.75 at the district meet also set a new North Pocono record.

“I’m very excited about the future of the girl’s program,” Sepkowski said. “Lila is a very versatile athlete and we have a number of other girls that are up and coming.”

A wide range of runners, jumpers, vaulters, and hurdlers dot the North Pocono roster and include juniors Lilly Thompson, Amanda Pagliante, Sarah Kaneski, and Alex Guse; sophomores Brea Pigatt, Alana Kravitz, and Maria Piccolino; and another frosh, Allison Stefanski.

Over & Out

Sepkowski marked the inaugural Trojan Invitational as one of this season’s highlights in addition to the solid performance put in by the boys’ squad and the steady gains that the girls made through the year.

Additionally, five Trojans were named as Lackawanna League All-Stars. Both Bocan and Haines were tapped for the boys’ distance team while Slagus was selected for throwing.

For the ladies, Slagus was named to the throwing team and Gaughan’s performance in jumping earned her a spot as well.