Last year's Colonial League All-League Meet was a coming out party for Palmerton's Kelsey Hay.
Then a freshman, Hay ended up as the Colonial champion in both the shot put (32 feet, six inches) and javelin (109 feet) at the meet held at Bangor Memorial Park.
The Colonial championships return to Bangor on Thursday, and Hay is back as a sophomore to defend her league titles in both events.
"It was quite a feat for Kelsey to go out as a freshman and become a league champion in the shot and javelin like that," said Palmerton coach Mike Gombert.
Hay has continued to improve on her events during this season. She is seeded first in both entering this week's All-League Meet, with her best shot put performance at 35-1 and her top javelin heave at 124 feet, which is over the PIAA State qualifying standard of 121 feet for Class AA girls.
Gombert feels Hay has a chance to better those marks. "She has a lot of potential," he remarked. "I wouldn't be surprised if she can get over 36 feet in the shot some time."
Senior Wynnie Green has also been one of the Blue Bombers' top performers this season, leading Hay by a mere one-half point among Palmerton's scoring leaders, according to Gombert.
Green is seeded second in the 300 meter intermediate hurdles at 49.5 seconds heading into leagues, behind returning champ Erica Meichtry of Saucon Valley and is also a member of the Lady Bombers' 4x100 and 4x400 relays, the latter unit drawing a top seed for leagues at 4:21.1.
Green has also run the 400 meters in 1:01.8 this season, and while she won't be entered in that event at leagues, she will likely do it during the District 11 Championships next week.
"Wynnie is a senior now and it (getting to States) is certainly a goal of hers," said Gombert. "She got a third in the 400 last year at Districts, so hopefully she can improve her standing there."
The Bombers' 4x400 team includes Green, Lindsey Perkurney, Morgan Mummey and Kristen Romano. The 4x100 team includes Green, Romano, Jess Pereira and Casey Rinfret.
Gombert also feels Pereira (200), Romano (300 hurdles) and Alyssa Wentz (javelin) could also score some points in the meet. Also keep an eye on freshman Lauryn Solt, who is tied for the top high jump seed at five feet.
The Palmerton girls finished the season with a winning dual meet mark of 6-5, losing three of their meets by single digits, but they also put on a good showing at the Olympian Invitational at Jim Thorpe, placing second overall in the team standings.
"I am interested to see how our girls will fare at the league meet," said Gombert. "Tamaqua, Jim Thorpe and Lehighton were all at that invitational, and they all have good teams. If how we did at the Jim Thorpe invitational is any indication, I feel we can compete with the teams at our league meet."
The Bomber boys had one returning champion in pole vaulter Lanny Buck, but Gombert said Buck won't compete at the Colonial League meet due to a school-related matter. Gombert hopes to have Buck back for Districts, but he mentioned his main contenders for the Colonial meet as soph sprinter Monty Szukics, junior middle distance man Kevin Seemiller and senior Josh Grohotolski in the javelin.
COLONIAL CHATTER - Wilson is the defending Colonial All-League boys champion and the Warriors are carrying the dual meet crown into Thursday's competiton.
Defending Colonial individual champs on the boys side include Northwestern's Tim East in the 300 hurdles, Notre Dame's Bryan Magee in the 3,200 and the Tigers' Joe Hall in the high jump.
Of that group, only Hall, a University of South Florida recruit, is top seeded in their gold medal event heading into the meet, although East is top seeded in the 200 meters at 22.5. Hall is also ranked first in the javelin at 181-10.
Also receiving top seeds among TIMES NEWS area boys are Northwestern's Trevor German in the 100 (10.8) and Northern Lehigh's Zach Fleming in the 3,200 (9:54.6).
There are plenty of returning champions on the girls side. Saucon Valley won the girls team title a year ago and was co-champion along with Bangor during the dual meet season this spring.
The Panthers have plenty of defending champs back on the track, including Alyssa Lombardo (100, 200, 400), Sarah Kish (800), Lainie Smith (3,200) and Meichtry (100 and 300 hurdles). Wilson's Allison Vanek is back to defend her pole vault title.
Northwestern's Wake Forest-bound senior Lindsay Kerr won the 1,600 a year ago and is top seeded in that race at 5:07.12 as well as in the 3,200 at 11:04.73.
As mentioned above, Palmerton's Hay is top seeded in the shot put and discus, while the Lady Bomber 4x400 is ranked first and Solt is tied for the top spot in the high jump.
MVC MEET - The Mountain Valley Conference championships will be held at East Stroudsburg University on Wednesday, with Lehighton and Pleasant Valley representing THE TIMES NEWS area.
TN Area athletes who carry defense of their MVC titles into the meet from a year ago include Lehighton's Nate Black (300 hurdles, 41.51), Vanessa Rimbey (100 hurdles, 15.93, and long jump, 17-2) amd Sheena White (shot put, 34-11); and Pleasant Valley's Curran Kneebone (3,200 meters, 10:27.64), Samantha Klingel (3,200, 12:21.34) and Amira Jones (triple jump, 34 feet). The performances listed are from last year's meet.
Stroudsburg won the boys team title a year ago while Pocono Mountain West was the girls champion.
SCHUYLKILL CHAMPIONSHIPS - The Schuylkill All-League Championships are Wednesday at Mahanoy Area, with field events to begin at 3 p.m. and running events at 4 p.m.
Unlike the Colonial and MVC meets, the Schuylkill League does not record team scoring for its competition.
The TN Area has a number of defending champs back for another crack. On the boys side, Jim Thorpe's Carl St. Hill won the 200 (23.44) a year ago and Tamaqua's John Scheitrum captured the pole vault (12 feet).
Among the girls, Tamaqua's Amber Carroll is the defending 1,600 champ (5:12.01) and Allison Updike returns to defend in the javelin (125-1), although last year she was still recovering from a knee injury. Jim Thorpe's JaAshia Page won the 100 dash a year ago (13.19) and Marian's Gillian Ferko will attempt to retain her discus title (102-8).
Other defending champs that are back include Shenandoah's Danny Merva (400), Blue Mountain's Tyler Rolshausen (discus and javelin) and Minersville's Javonie Rosa (triple jump) on the boys side and North Schuylkill's Mimi Teter (400) and Kaitlyn McSurdy (300 hurdles), Blue Mountain's Brianna Rauenzahn (100 hurdles, long and triple jumps), Sofia Stasulli (high jump) and Becca Kovach (pole vault), Schuylkill Haven's Vicki Davis (800) and Alyssa Miller (3,200); and Pine Grove's Kalene Anderson (shot put) for the girls.