BANGOR - Winning a league title is a big accomplishment for any track and field athlete.
Doing it it two years in a row is even better.
Two area athletes successfully defended their Colonial League titles Thursday at this year's championship meet at Bangor Memorial Park.
Northwestern senior Joe Hall picked up his second straight high jump title while also taking home gold in javelin and silver in shot put and discus. Palmerton sophomore Kelsey Hay defended her league titles in the javelin and shot put.
"I think it is sweeter the second time," said Hay. "This year I was expected to do it and I did. It's a big goal I accomplished. Since I won last year I had high standards to live up to. I was a little nervous coming into it."
Those were four of the seven gold medals earned by TIMES NEWS area athletes and relay teams. Northwestern's Trevor German won the 100-yard dash, while taking second to teammate Tim East in the 200. Palmerton's 4x100 girls relay team of Casey Rinfret, Jessica Pereira, Kristen Romano and Wynnie Green took first place.
Hay threw 35 feet, 4 inches for the shot put title and 127 feet 3 inches for the javelin gold, beating the second-place finisher by 16 feet. Both distances were personal bests, while the javelin distance breaks her own school record. After missing states last season, she is looking to get to 37 feet in the shot put and stay over 121 in javelin, which are the state qualifying standards for Class AA that she will need to achieve at districts next week.
"Going to states is my main goal," she said.
Hall, who helped Northwestern to a second-place finish in the team standings, had the same winning height in high jump as last year, but he's very close to going higher.
"I feel great about 6-7," he said. "But I feel even better about how I performed at the higher heights, 6-8 1/2. I thought I made it my first attempt, but I'm hitting it with my heels. That's an easy fix."
He won the javelin with a 180-foot, 8-inch throw. His best this season is 181-10, but he uncorked a 183-5 as a sophomore and it hoping to better that before his high school career comes to a close.
"I'm happy I won," he said. "I'm not happy about the fact that there's just a little problem with my form that's preventing me from throwing in the 190s."
Hall, who earned silver medals in the shot put and discus, will forgo the shot put and just do three events at districts next week.
Hall wasn't the only Northwestern athlete to score a bunch of team points. East, with gold in the 200 and silver in both hurdle events, also helped the Tigers' cause.
The senior battled a pulled hamstring that's been bothering him for a week. He took second in the 110 hurdles after top seed and first-place finisher Kowan Scott of Wilson was disqualified. Scott set a meet record in the preliminary heat, running it in 14.16 to break Rudy Santana's record of 14.50 set in 1992.
East took second to Scott in the 300 hurdles and looks forward to meeting him again next week at districts.
In his final race of the day, the 200, East's fought back the painful hamstring injury to pass teammate German in the last 50 meters and win the event.
It's an event that's new to him and one he'll skip at districts next week to focus on hurdles.
"I never expected to run a 200 in my life until the last meet of the league, in which I qualified first for today," East said.
German, who was 10th in the 100 a year ago, dropped over a half a second of time from his 11.84 last season. The top seed coming into the meet, he won the event in 11.20 this year.
He said at dual meets this season he's been nervous for races, but a calm confidence came over him at leagues.
"Everything felt good," he said. "I was actually relaxed for this race. All my other races I wasn't relaxed. I was tight and I was running slower times. Today I came out relaxed and I was confident."
Palmerton's 4x100 team came into the meet seeded second behind Bangor by one tenth of a second. The Bomber foursome's best time this year was a 52.0, but they had only run the race together once all season. They ran a 51.63 for gold.
"We've been waiting for this," said Green, the only senior in the group. "We were really close to our school record (51.1). We're hoping to break that next week at districts."