Their was a strong local flavor to the fourth annual Jim Thorpe Invitational Track and Field Meet that took place Friday at Olympian Stadium.
The event featured over 480 competitors and showcased some of the best talent in District 11. The event also had its most teams participate in its history with 15 on the boys side and 14 on the girls side.
The six area teams competing were host Jim Thorpe, Lehighton, Northern Lehigh, Tamaqua, Panther Valley, and Palmerton.
A number of TIMES NEWS area athletes broke Olympian Stadium and Jim Thorpe Invite records in competition on Friday afternoon.
In the javelin, area and state juggernauts Jon Strauss from Lehighton and Christine Streisel from Tamaqua did not disappoint.
Strauss broke an invite and stadium record with a throw of 202-8, besting his previous mark of 187-9 that he threw in last year's JT Invite.
"I felt good all day and I just wanted to get my legs underneath me and let my body go to work," said Strauss. "This is actually the farthest I've ever thrown in competition. I wanted to give the javelin a ride today and by no means am I going to let this be my best performance of the year."
Also adding to the record books from Lehighton was Levi Haldeman and Eric Whiteman. Haldeman set the invite and stadium record in the discus throwing 154. Whiteman set the invite record with a throw of 48-3.
Christine Streisel continued her dominance in the javelin this season and also topped her stadium and invite record from a year ago throwing 151-6.
Palmerton's Monty Szukics had quite a day in the sprinting events. Szukics, who has burst onto the track scene this season, ran an incredible time of 10.61 to capture first place in the 100 meter. The Bomber senior also took home first place in the 200 M (21.80) and anchored the Palmerton 4 X 100 relay team that set an invite and stadium record with a time of 43.2.
"First and foremost I have to give credit to my improved speed to Jason Brador and Fast Training," said Szukics. "We worked really hard in the off-season to get me where I am today and I just want to thank him for that. I actually didn't expect to run that well today because I tweaked my hamstring a little bit earlier this week. Everything worked out though and it felt great to run this well against some of the better competition in the area."
Szukics wasn't the only Blue Bomber finding success on the day. Palmerton's Jess Pereira took home first in the 400 M (1:00.29), and triple jump (32-2 34). She also placed second in the 100 M. Lauryn Solt earned a first place finish in the high jump (5-0), Andrea Stevko a first in the 3200 M (12:30.70), Brad Ehret earned a second in the high jump, Kelsey Hay a second in the javelin, Alex Vignone a second in the long jump, and Lindsay Perkursy a second in the 400 M.
The solid finishes for the Bomber competitors earned them the overall Jim Thorpe Invite team championship in both boys and girls competition.
"Obviously I'm really happy with the end result tonight," said Palmerton head coach Mike Gombert. "We knew that there was going to be a lot of good competition here. We knew pretty much what everyone could do running, throwing, and jumping wise so our kids were confident, but they knew they had to perform."
Gombert stressed the importance these multiple team meets, that they are pivotal in preparing his athletes for the League and District meet.
"Meets like these with a higher level of talent prepare us for the league and district meet," said Gombert. "We have been doing really well so far this season with both of our teams being undefeated up to this point and hopefully we can keep it going."
Other area athletes who had first place finishers were: Caleb Johnson, Northern Lehigh (high jump, 6-0); Maria Stern, Lehighton (300 IH, 50:34); Gwen Remaley, Lehighton (shot put, 36-7 14); PJ Johnson, Jim Thorpe (long jump, 20-2 12; Eric Hertzog, Tamaqua (110 HH).
Second place finishers were: Sarah Keer, Lehighton (Javelin); Jess Debski, Lehighton (300 IH); David Getz, No. Lehigh (110 HH); Tyler Hope, Tamaqua (Javelin); Jenny Beers, Lehighton (1600); Eric Whiteman Lehighton (discus); Caleb Johnson, No. Lehigh (400);Maria Streisel, Tamaqua (long jump).
Finishing in third place were: Tyler Hope, Tamaqua (200); Lauryn Solt, Palmerton (triple jump); Anjelica Poalillo, Jim Thorpe (200); Christine Streisel, Tamaqua (discus); John Snyder, Palmerton (shot put); Cody Grohotolski, Palmerton (800); Kelsey Hay, Palmerton (Javelin); Eric Hertzog, Tamaqua (300 IH); Khaaliq Lynch, Jim Thorpe (110 HH); Ben Moore, Jim Thorpe (javelin); Maria Streisel, Tamaqua (high jump); Courtney Capper, Jim Thorpe (1600); Tyler Crum, Lehighton (Long jump); Jason Sylvester, Tamaqua (Dscus); Kayla Susko, Jim Thorpe (400); Tyler Hope, Tamaqua (200.