First Posted: 10/23/2014
As the top returning Class AA boys runner in the state of Pennsylvania, Lake-Lehman junior Dominic Hockenbury has been building his season around being ready for the November 1 PIAA Championships and the Foot Locker regional and national competitions that follow.
Hockenbury remained right on schedule Wednesday with a dominant effort while winning the District 2 title in 16:08, 14 seconds faster than he ran in last year’s district race before finishing second in Hershey.
The win qualified Hockenbury for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Championships as one of 10 individuals not from one of the two team qualifiers.
“The next step is states and I feel pretty confident going into that race,” Hockenbury said. “I definitely see some of the stuff that is going on around the state, but I try not to pay any attention to it. I try to focus on what I’m doing.
“All I can do is what I can do. When I run my race, most of the time, it’s a good race.”
Hockenbury will not be alone in Hershey.
The Dallas team and two Tunkhannock individuals also qualified with their performances Wednesday.
Scranton Prep, the unbeaten Lackawanna League champion who was fourth in the state in 2013, won the team championship with 74 points.
Dallas compiled a team score of 110 to defeat Berwick by 11 points and defending state champion Tunkhannock by 22.
Eight different teams had a runner cross the finish line before senior Kurtis Sod made it to the finish line first for Dallas in 15th place.
The Mountaineers then brought all their runners to the finish line in a 40-second span, the smallest among 72 teams competing in the six races on the day.
Sophomore Jason Culp was 20th and freshmen Jack Zardecki (21st) Adam Borton (23rd) and Josh Wyandt (31st) completed the five-man team score. Junior Robert Martin and freshman Josh Jarden completed the seven-man lineup.
“We graduated our top seven last year, including a state champion (Domenic DeLuca),” Dallas coach Matt Samuel said. “And, this guy’s team, filled with a bunch of sophomores, freshmen and one senior, comes out and does this. I’m just unbelievably proud of both of my teams.”
Tunkhannock’s Jack Tidball again followed Hockenbury to the finish line, taking second in 16:28. Tidball was third in last year’s district meet behind eventual state champion DeLuca and Hockenbury.
Jacob Toczko is also returning to the PIAA Championships for the Tigers. He finished fifth Wednesday.
Tidball was 11th and Toczko 28th in the state last season.
Lake-Lehman had a team score of 283 to finish 11th out of 17 teams.