SCRANTON – The Lake-Lehman girls returned to Memorial Stadium Wednesday seeking the uncommon feat of repeating a District 2 relay championship with the same lineup as the previous year.
Harvard recruit Emily Johns arrived anxious to make up for being out of last year’s meet with an injury.
Both came away successful while advancing to the May 26-27 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University as threats to earn state medals.
Jace Garnick, Olivia Vasey, Jade Fry and Hailey Kubiski started the day by repeating their title in the 3200-meter relay.
Johns kept the parade of Lake-Lehman girls to the medal stand going by shattering the meet record in the discus, adding a championship in the shot put and finishing fifth in the javelin.
Together, they led a group of 13 athletes who produced points in 13 of 18 events to help the Black Knights finish third out of 20 teams in Class 2A girls at the District 2 Championships.
“When we went to states last year, we did not run as well as we did during the season for our top time,” said Kubiski, who anchored a lineup in which all four girls ran splits between 2:28.5 and 2:32.2. “Last year, the goal was get to states.
“Now, it’s more like ‘get to states and do something there; accomplish something’. Now, that we went last year, we’re looking forward to push that further and see where we can go with it.”
Kubiski is the only senior on a unit that combined to finish in 10:00.27 and win by 17.35 seconds.
The relay team combined Garnick and Vasey, who medaled at the 800 distance with fourth- and sixth-place finishes, with Kubiski and Fry, who originally excelled at other distances.
Kubiski, who started out as a sprinter, finished second Wednesday in the 400.
Fry, a three-time state qualifier in cross country, is a distance runner who placed fifth in the 1600.
Johns started her day by placing fifth in the javelin, one place and four inches behind freshman teammate Sarah Salus.
Then, back at the discus where she won the district title and earned the state’s top seed in 2015 before taking a fourth-place state medal when Lake-Lehman was a Class 3A school, Johns fouled on her first attempt.
That left two more tries to establish a throw that would get Johns into the finals.
The second attempt accomplished that and much more. Exceeding a personal best that had stood for two full years, Johns unleashed a throw of 150-2. That went 14-9 beyond the meet record established in 1988 by Scranton Prep’s April Angeli on her way to a state championship.
“It was 148-6 and then I didn’t top that at states that year and then last year, my junior year I was out most of the time with an injury and didn’t even get to compete in this meet,” Johns said. “This is a really great time to throw this far.
“It broke the meet record; it broke the stadium record; and it broke my previous PR. It was a good day.”
An excited Johns texted her Harvard coach to share the news. Her dominance already established, Johns’ last five attempts were all at least 26 feet better than the 90 tries by the other entries. She won by more than 37 feet.
Lake-Lehman finished with 79 points, the most by a Wyoming Valley Conference school. Western Wayne edged Lakeland, 101-94.5, for the title.
The Black Knights medaled in every relay.
Garnick, Vasey and Kubiski ran together again in the 1600 where freshman Abby Paczewski joined them for a third-place finish.
Paige Motovidlak, Paczewski, Lynea Gregory and Mackenzie Fleeger were fifth in the 400 relay.
Fleeger was also sixth in the 200. Motovidlak was eighth in both hurdles races.
Morgan Marchekitus was fifth in the triple jump.
Morgan Patla gave team a third scoring runner in the 800 in eighth place.
The Lake-Lehman boys were 15th out of 20 teams with 15 points.
Zach Kojadinovich, Noah Gorski, Casey Kaminski and Floyd McRoy combined for fourth in the 400 relay.
Riley Newman was fifth in the 800 and anchored the sixth-place 1600 relay.
McRoy, Conor O’Brien and Nick Wnuk were also on the 1600 relay.
Casey Kaminski was sixth in the high jump.