EAST STROUDSBURG - The Pleasant Valley boys' track team may not have had the best shot at winning the Mountain Valley Conference track and field championship, but that didn't stop Jack Wathen from going out and doing his best.
Wathen took home three gold medals and one silver medal at Monday afternoon's MVC Track and Field Championships at East Stroudsburg South. His two individual gold medals tied teammate Samantha Young and Lehighton's Gwen Remaley for the most on the day.
The senior Bear missed out on the school-record in the 800-meter run by just over four-tenths of a second. His time of 1:59.76 was superb and was almost as good as his 1:59.44 from earlier in the season, but was a tick slower than the 1:59.33 he needed to break the record.
"Darn it," exclaimed Wathen upon finding out his time. "I thought today would be a good day to break the record. I mean I am okay with three golds, but I would have liked to get that record and made it a better day. But it will come. I am consistently hitting 1:59 now so it will come. I will break that."
Wathen also competed in the 1600-meter race for the first time in two weeks and took finished in the top spot with a time of 4:39.44. He had been working on his form in the 400-meter dash throughout the season, but decided to go back to his bread-and-butter on Monday.
He was also a member of the winning 3200-meter relay team with Alex Larkin, Khai Samuels and Mike Sucic. The silver medal came with the 1600-meter relay team.
"The 1600 was a good race," said Wathen. "I was trying to take it easy so I could go hard in the 800 - which I did. I really wish I broke that record.
"The (3200-meter) relay was good too. I actually went a little faster than I wanted to, but I didn't know who anyone was so I was just going hard."
Remaley was the favorite in the shot put and the discus on the girls' side and did not disappoint. She won the shot with a put of 38 feet, eight inches. She made the throw in the preliminaries before fouling three consecutive times in the finals. Still, it was good enough to get her the gold.
She then won the discus with a toss of 103 feet, six inches. The two throws made for successful title defenses.
"The shot put was kind of frustrating because I fouled three times," Remaley said. "But I am still happy with the throw.
"I have been focusing on the shot put more so I am not as worried about the discus. I was only six feet below my PR, but I definitely have to get that up too."
Young finished first in both the 1600 and 3200-meter endurance races for the Lady Bears. She won the 1600 with a time of 5:30.79. Then, a little while later, she won the 3200 by cruising for the first seven laps before turning it on in the eighth. She finished in 12:02.93.
"(The 1600) was more of a tactical race," admitted Young. "I had to run multiple events so I decided to save some energy and just do what I had to in order to win the race. I know I can do better than 5:30.
"I thought the 3200 was a really good race. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, especially in this heat. I just went into it with as much confidence as I could."
Pleasant Valley's other first-place finisher was Nyiem Nevarez. Nevarez won the 300 hurdles with a time of 40.78 seconds. He picked a good day to post his best time of the year.
"I am happy with it," said Nevarez. "It is my PR, and to do it here today was good.
"I am going to try and improve the last stretch and work on going over the hurdles. I need to work on my form rather than just jumping over them."
Lehighton's Sarah Keer was the only other local to win a gold medal on the day. She won the javelin with a throw of 123 feet, one inch. She also placed second in the shot put.
Stroudsburg swept the meet and won on both sides my large margins. The Pleasant Valley boys finished second with 114 points, while the Lehighton girls were the runners-up with 113 _ points.
Local second-place finishers included Dakota Everett (discus), Jen Mickens (1600), Maris Stern (100 hurdles), Megan McCullion (javelin), Abby Roselli (triple jump) and the Lady Bears' 3200-meter relay team.
Local third-place finishers included Jeff Ebbert (800), Alex Larkin (1600/3200), Sage Terembula (100/long jump), Melissa Russo (800), Jenny Beers (1600), Kasaundra Barclay (javelin), Courtney Miller (triple jump), Celina Fital (high jump), Stern (300 hurdles) and the Lady Bears' 1600-meter relay team.