POTTSVILLE - After a year's absence, the Tamaqua girls track and field dynasty is back.
It might be around for awhile, too, given the number of underclassmen scoring points in the Lady Raiders' 115-34 triumph over Marian in the Schuylkill League dual meet championship Wednesday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
A year ago, Tamaqua was an uncharacteristic 2-3 with an inexperienced squad that also had some key injuries.
To get to the title meet, the Raiders had to develop in a hurry to survive a tough and deep Division I.
"This year's girls (D-I) competition was one of the best I've seen," said Tamaqua coach Tom Kanger, moments after being doused with the water bucket by a group of happy Raiders. "At the beginning, I felt we could be the fourth place team if we didn't come along, but our girls took that to heart."
"We definitely thought we could do it," said sophomore Kayla Hope, who won four events (100 and 200 meters, long and triple jumps) against the Division II Fillies. "We had a lot of people doubting us, but we proved them wrong."
"This feels great," said hurdler Samantha Digilio, one of just three Raider seniors (Brittany Hill and Katie Hummel were the others) to score points in the meet. "We put a lot of hard work into this, and we definitely deserve it."
With the victory, Tamaqua finished at 7-0. The Raiders captured the Schuylkill D-I crown for the eighth time in nine years (and 15th overall, including two shared titles).
From 2000-2010, the Tamaqua girls have an overall record of 80-6, including a 58-meet winning streak between 2002-2008.
"We're definitely back on track," said junior Allison Updike, who took firsts in the shot put and javelin and placed second in the discus. "We have kids who have District gold from soccer, league and District golds from basketball and now a title in track. We have a lot of good athletes and coaches. It all goes hand in hand."
"Half of these kids, I played soccer with, so I'm pretty tight with them," said freshman Taylor Gerber, who won the 100 and 300 meter hurdle races.
"We have a good group of young kids that really progressed as the year went along," said Kanger. "We got a lot better from the beginning to the end. Having big meets at the beginning really helped us.
"They've shown how competitive they are from the other sports. I kind of got lucky to have them for track, too."
The Raiders won 14 of 18 events. Hope had a fine all-around performance, leaping 16-6 in the long jump while dashing to times of 12.9 seconds in the 100 and 26.5 in the 200.
"I'm pretty happy, because my long jump was one of my best (16-10 1/2 is her personal record), and I had some of my best times, too," said Hope.
Soph Amber Carroll (800, 1,600) was also a double event winner for the Raiders, who also got a win from Melody Kelly in the pole vault and swept the relays.
Marian (6-2), which won the Division II title for the first time since 1993, got wins on the track from Madison Monaco, who ran a TIMES NEWS area season's best 1:01 flat in the 400, and from Corinne Markiewicz in the 1,600 (5:58).
Gillian Ferko (discus, 107-1) and Emma Boyle (high jump, 4-6) added firsts in the field events for the Fillies, who used the meet as a chance to work for personal bests where possible.
"This definitely gives us more options for leagues and Districts," said Marian coach John Boyle.
Tamaqua 115, Marian 34
100 - 1. Kayla Hope (T) 12.9, 2. Brittany Hill (T), 3. Devin Porambo (M).
200 - 1. Hope (T) 26.5, 2. Hill (T), 3. Katie Hummel (T).
400 - 1. Madison Monaco (M) 1:01, 2. Maria Streisel (T), 3. Carly O'Malley (T).
800 - 1. Amber Carroll (T) 2:27.6, 2. Cecily Kohlmeir (T), 3. Kailee Rottet (T).
1,600 - 1. Corinne Markiewicz (M) 5:58, 2. Colleen Rorke (T), 3. Dana Ansbach (T).
3,200 - 1. Carroll (T) 12:23, 2. Emily Bumbulsky (T), 3. Molly Balliet (M).
100 L.H. - 1. Taylor Gerber (T) 17.0, 2. Sam Digilio (T), 3. Kathleen Reilly (M).
300 I.H. - 1. Gerber (T) 52.1, 2. Reilly (M), 3. Digilio (T).
400 relay - Tamaqua (Digilio, M. Streisel, Hummel, Hill) 51.3.
1,600 relay - Tamaqua (Caitlin Trainer, O'Malley, Ansbach, M. Streisel) 4:16.
3,200 relay - Tamaqua (Kelsey Patrick, Ansbach, Carroll, Kohlmeir) 11:32.
Shot put - 1. Allison Updike (T) 33-9, 2. Christine Streisel (T), 3. Amanda Solt (T).
Discus - 1. Gillian Ferko (M) 107-1, 2. Updike (T), 3. C. Streisel (T).
Javelin - 1. Updike (T) 144-1, 2. C. Streisel (T), 3. Taylor Urban (T).
Long jump - 1. Hope (T) 16-6 , 2. Reilly (M), 3. Ferko (M).
Triple jump - 1. Hope (T) 32-8 1/2, 2. Ferko (M), 3. Gerber (T).
High jump - 1. Emma Boyle (M) 4-6, 2. Rottet (T), 3. Markiewicz (M).
Pole Vault - 1. Melody Kelly (T) 8-6, 2. Alaina Reese (T), 3. not awarded.