First Posted: 10/13/2014
Ally Rome saved one of her best efforts of the season for a rainy day.
While many of her teammates on the defending state champion and unbeaten, regular-season champion Dallas girls team took Wednesday off in miserable conditions, Rome ran away with the title at the Wyoming Valley Conference coaches’ Ed Narkiewicz Cross Country Meet at the Wyoming County Fairgrounds.
Rome beat her cousin, Erin Rome, of Tunkhannock, by 49 seconds to win the girls individual championship on a day when only one teammate competed, leaving Dallas ineligible for the team title.
“I love running with my team,” Rome said. “It’s so great having them with me. So definitely, without them in the race, it felt a little weird.
“They were standing on the sidelines and I’m not used to that. It was really nice having them being able to cheer me on. I loved the support, but I definitely missed them on the starting line.”
Meet organizers had to decide whether it made sense to run in what was already a steady rain with what turned out to be an accurate forecast of heavier rain looming. Dallas coach Matt Samuel gave each of his runners that same personal option with the district championships just a week away.
Rome, who missed time early this season with an injury, said she needed another race to help be as prepared as possible. She joined many of the day’s successful runners who tried to balance the opposing goals of going fast and being cautious.
“On the spots that were muddy, you’re careful and you watch,” Rome said. “Normally, where you’d be turning over and really going down the hill, it was more like a ‘let’s be safe here’ kind of attitude.”
Leading the pack made things easier for Rome and the boys winner, Lake-Lehman’s Dominic Hockenbury.
Hockenbury finished the 3.1-mile course in 15:44 despite the heavier rain in the boys race, beating Tunkhannock’s Jack Tidball by 20 seconds.
“I was thinking that was the kind of time I would be around,” said Hockenbury, who slipped and had to slow down to get his balance on a downhill stretch late in the first mile. “To do that in these kind of conditions with the weather means I could have ran it faster if it was a dryer course.”
Berwick won the team title with 80 points to edge Hazleton Area (87) and Tunkhannock (89). Dallas was fifth with 126 points and Lake-Lehman placed ninth out of 16 teams with 252.
Jacob Toczko followed Tidball, giving Tunkhannock a 2-3 finish.
Kurtis Sod and Jack Zardecki placed seventh and ninth to lead Dallas.
Lake-Lehman’s Chris Sabol was 13th and Dallas’ Adam Borton was 20th.
Tunkhannock beat Lake-Lehman, 74-88, for the title among the 12 full girls teams.
Maggie Toczko was fourth, joining Erin Rome in leading Tunkhannock to the title. Alexa Prebola was 16th.
Jade Fry (seventh), Krystin Chaga (12th), Julia Hutsko (18th) and Lindsay Pembleton (20th) led the way for Lake-Lehman.
Riley Oremus, the other Dallas runner, was 21st.
Stephen Postupak won the individual title while leading Dallas to the junior high boys title.
With junior high boys and girls running together to get the meet completed as promptly as possible, Postupak finished the two-mile race in 11:55. Teammate Mitchell Rome was third in 11:57. Lucas Volpetti was ninth.
Hazleton Area won the junior high girls title, 58-61, over Holy Redeemer. Lake-Lehman was third with 68 points and Dallas was fourth of 10 with 93.
Lake-Lehman’s Ava Baur was fourth, Dallas’ Megan Borton was eighth and Tunkhannock’s Leah Rome was 10th.
The WVC coaches named the meet after Narkiewicz, the late Lake-Lehman coach, in 2003.
The meet serves as a transition between the regular season and the district/state postseason.
Dallas went unbeaten in both boys and girls WVC competition during the conference schedule.