Redeemer Girls Take Home District Title
SCRANTON — Karissa Spade blew away the competition in the 100 and 200 finals, earning a pair of gold medals without any doubt.
She still hadn’t finished her best race after all that sprinting.
Spade looked like she was running for the first time all night as she flew down the final stretch of the 4x400 relay at the District 2 Class 2A track and field championships Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Her final leg was so fast, it helped the Royals shatter the event’s meet record.
“Oh, she’s a beast,” Royals coach Kevin Walters said.
The relay of Abby Lapinski, Anna Capaci, Madison Dewees and Spade set a district record for Spade’s third title and Capaci’s second gold of the night. A handful of other Royals qualified for states with first- and second-place finishes, and it all added up to a team championship for Holy Redeemer’s girls.
The Royals earned their first team title since 2016 with 125 team points, 21½ ahead of runner-up Western Wayne in a reversal of last season’s top-two. Spade had her three golds, Capaci won the 800, Cameron Marcinkowski took the 3200 and Dewees took second in both the 400 and 800. Spade dominated on the track in her first year running for the Royals.
Spade, a sophomore who came to Redeemer from Alabama, won the 100 in 12.59 seconds and the 200 in 25.86. She finished up the 4x400 in 4:04.15 to top the old meet record set by Blue Ridge in 2009 by a half-second.
“I tried really hard tonight,” Spade said. “When I see everyone on my team happy, I love to see my school smile. I really do.”
It’s more than Walters could have hoped for when he heard there was a new, speedy athlete at the school. He said he introduced himself and told Spade he hoped to see her on the team in the spring.
“Then she came back and ran, and that was it. That was all she wrote,” Walters said. ““She works hard. She stays focused. What a great addition to the team.”
Spade said there were nerves, but teammates sparked confidence in her all throughout practices. She called the Royals a “strong family” that believes in everyone.
Dewees added that every person knows all the points add up and works hard for one other. If that didn’t keep her right behind Capaci in the 800, knowing second place meant a trip to states with her teammate had to have helped.
“It just made all of our training together worth it,” Capaci said. “It completed our season.”
There’s still next week for plenty of Royals. Capaci said she’s been to states to support teammates, and she’s excited to be a part of the unique energy that the PIAA championships creates.
Don’t count out Lake-Lehman
Though Holy Redeemer won the team title, Lake-Lehman shot up the team standings early as the Black Knights put together one of their best all-around performances this season, finishing third (83½ pts).
Sarah Salaus started the day by repeating as girls javelin champion at 115-foot-7.
The team’s 4x800 relay trailed Lakeland through three laps and was in danger of seeing its title streak end. But anchor Abby Paczewski took over the lead near the end of her first lap and powered the Knights to their fourth straight 4x800 title in 9:59.03.
“I just wanted to catch up to (first place),” Paczewski said. “I knew we had a good chance of winning, and when she was right there I didn’t want to let it go, no matter what.”
Paczewski dug deep for another comeback effort in the 1600, losing the lead at the end of her third lap, but fighting back to the front for gold in 5:17.94. She later took third in the 3200.
Lake-Lehman’s biggest surprise came in the 4x100 relay, where Kitt Patla, Gabby Shonis, Keera Naugle and Tasha Mihalko started in Lane 7 as the sixth seed.
That didn’t matter once Patla got the Knights out in front, and each leg carried the lead all the way around the track. The relay trimmed its seed time of 53.24 to a championship time of 51.85, which at the very least put the school’s record in jeopardy.
“I saw (Patla) had the lead, and I had the baton and I was listening. I couldn’t hear anyone else; I was like, ‘Where is everyone?’” Shonis said. “It was a total surprise. I thought we’d do that good, but not that good.”
Hanover Area’s Abby Korba defended her triple jump title with a 37-foot-1 leap, one of a couple other titles for the WVC’s girls.
Northwest’s Ariana Walker also won the long jump by hitting 16-foot-7¼ and winning a tiebreaker on her second-best mark. She advanced to states in the 300 hurdles, too, with a second-place finish.
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