LEHMAN TWP. – For an entire year, the Lake-Lehman girls track and field team vowed to create some separation from league rival Berwick.
Jace Garnick and the rest of the Black Knights finally figured out a way to do it.
Garnick was a triple winner Tuesday, Jade Fry was part of Lehman sweeps in three distance runs and the Black Knights pulled away with an 80-70 victory over Berwick to clinch at least a share of the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 girls championship by breaking free from a two-year, neck-and-neck run with Berwick.
“It means the world. It really does,” Garnick said. “We worked so hard for this. Everybody had to do their best.”
The Bulldogs didn’t leave Lehman’s Eddie Edwards Stadium without putting a team on top of the league. Led by triple winner Alex Parks, the Berwick boys pulled out an 84-66 victory that also clinched a tie for the WVC Division 2 title.
The Lehman girls and Berwick boys are both 6-0 with one meet remaining in the regular season and will do no worse than share a WVC championship.
Lake-Lehman shared the Division 2 girls championship with Berwick last season after both teams finished unbeaten during the regular season but tied, 75-75, when they met at Berwick. Both teams were 5-0 entering Tuesday’s showdown, and were 11-0-1 over the past two years.
“Oh my God, they wanted this in the worst way,” Lake-Lehman coach John Sobocinski said of his girls.
Garnick made sure the Black Knights got it.
After battling a double ear infection through the heart of the season, Garnick recovered to win the 400 dash and 800 run, then led off the winning 1,600 relay.
“I’m back. And I’m ready,” Garnick proclaimed. “We planned it out. Every spot counts, every second, every runner, everything.”
The Black Knights needed all of it against the Bulldogs and their returning state gold medalist, shot put specialist Payden Montana, who won that event along with the discus and javelin.
“We knew we had to rely on the distance events,” Sobocinski said. “Berwick has a fantastic thrower; we knew we were going to take our lumps in the throws. We swept the mile, the two-mile, the 800, won the 4-by-8 (3,200 relay), won the 4-by-4 (1,600 relay). We had to do all of that to win this meet.
“Those distance spots carried us to victory.”
The Black Knights girls, who will run at Hanover Area on Monday with the intention of clinching the girls league championship outright. Regardless, they’ll finish with possession of first place in the WVC for a second straight year.
“It’s amazing,” Garnick said. “It feels so good to work so hard and achieve something like that. We have a really good team, a lot of quality.
“I mean, it is really nice to get a second division title. But we want it for ourselves, kind of selfishly.”
Madison Brdaric won the 3200 and was on the winning 3200 relay.
Fry won the 1600, was part of the 1600 relay win and finished second to Garnick and Brdaric in the 800 and 3200.
Olivia Vasey ran on both relay wins.
Paige Motovidlak (100 hurdles), Lizzy Blaski (300 hurdles), Macenzi Barker (high jump) and Natahas Mihalko (triple jump) also won individual events while Morgan Patla and Abby Paczewski were each part of one relay win in the clinching victory.
Riley Newman (800) and Conor O’Brien (400) each won an individual event and one relay for the Lake-Lehman boys. Nathan Salus was on two winning relay teams.
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