BANGOR - The Palmerton girls' track team entered Thursday's Colonial League championships as the slight favorites due to its undefeated regular season record.
Unfortunately for the Lady Bombers, they were denied a perfect season by the slimmest of margins.
Palmerton led for most of the day, but fell behind Saucon Valley with a handful of events remaining. Then, heading into the last event (1600-meter relay), the Bombers had to beat out the Panthers by two spots in order to claim the title. The Bombers' relay team came in third while the Panthers came in fourth. The two-point differential wasn't enough as Saucon Valley won the girls' title by 0.33 points, 99.83-99.50.
Kelsey Hay did her best to help the Bombers early on, as she brought home two gold medals in the shot put and the javelin. The junior set a personal record in the shot put with a throw of 37 feet, eight-and-a-half inches and topped Northern Lehigh's Aimee Oertner by over three-and-a-half feet.
Hay beat out two other Bulldogs to win the javelin by tossing the spear 126 feet, seven inches. Northern Lehigh's Sonya Josephson (109-6) and Christina Bastardi (107-8) rounded out the top three.
"I was excited to have gotten some of my best throws out there," said Hay. "I threw my personal record in the shot put, so that was exciting. I just wanted to help our team. I know we have been doing really well in the league and I wanted to represent my school well today.
"I was happy with my javelin toss as well. My goal for today was to reach 130. I didn't hit that, but I don't have any complaints with 126."
Fellow Bomber Kristen Romano also put in a full day's work. Romano placed second in both hurdles events, which included a new school record in the 100 hurdles with a time of 16.45 seconds. She finished the 300 hurdles in 49.2 seconds.
"I am really happy," said Romano of her new school record. "That is the best time I have ever run. I was really satisfied with it. I was happy to get second because I was seeded third coming in. I did a few run-throughs before hand and I felt really good, so I was really confident.
Romano was a member of the winning 400-meter relay team as well. She, along with Casey Rinfret, Jess Pereira and Sarah Andrews defended their gold medal with a time of 51.87 seconds. The team was only 1.2 seconds behind the league record set back in 2000.
"We were the defending league champs from last year so we really wanted to win," Romano said. "We are happy we did. We are looking forward to districts and hopefully states once again."
Rinfret picked up a third place medal in the long jump to go along with her gold in the 400-meter relay. The two were also on the third-place 1600-meter relay team.
The only other local female to post a victory on the day was Northwestern's Haley Yost. Yost entered the 1600-meter endurance run as the No. 2 seed, but managed to cross the finish line first with a time of 5:18.82 - nearly ten seconds faster than her personal record.
"I never actually ran against (Saucon Valley's) Lainie (Smith) and Megan (Stack) during the season, so I was kind of nervous to go against them," admitted Yost, who also finished third in the 800-meter run. "But I knew I hadn't run my best yet and I was expecting to do so today.
"I got my best time in our first meet at Wilson and then I didn't do well again until Saucon Valley two weeks ago. I was hoping to get under 5:20 today and I am glad that I was able to."
Two local boys managed to win gold medals. First was Tyler Stelmack from Northwestern. Stelmack won the 1600-meter run in 4:38.1.
"It was the best I have done in a while," said Stelmack. "Lately I have had really bad allergies, so I haven't been able to breathe properly. Now that I am close to 100 percent I feel like I was able to go out and give it my best."
Palmerton's Brad Ehret was the other local to win, as he took home the high jump with a leap of six feet. He entered the meet as the No. 1 seed (6-2).
"I just came out and did what I did," said Ehret. "I didn't feel any extra pressure being the top seed. I just came out and jumped. I think I could have done better but I have a back injury right now. I am going to have to stretch and ice in order to get ready for districts."
Saucon Valley's Alyssa Lombardo accomplished a feat never done before at the Colonial League championships. The senior became the first girl to ever win gold in the 100, 200, 400 and 800-meter runs.