LEHMAN TWP. — The Dallas boys capped a performance worthy of a defending state champion loaded with experience.
The school’s girls team brushed off the graduation of a two-time individual state champion.
Together, the Mountaineers cross country program once again stands at the top of the Wyoming Valley Conference after both teams swept a cluster meet Wednesday at Lake-Lehman to complete unbeaten league seasons.
“It’s been a great year,” Dallas coach Matt Samuel said. “Now, the reset button gets hit every week.”
The Narkiewicz Wyoming Valley Conference Championship Meet is Oct. 19 at the Wyoming County Fairgrounds, followed by the District 2 championships Oct. 26 at Lakeland and the PIAA Championships are Nov. 5 at the Hershey Parkview Course.
Dallas once again has the teams and individuals to be a factor in those, but as much as Wednesday was the last tune-up for the postseason, it also was a day to officially stamp the teams as champions again.
Both were ready for the task.
The Dallas boys claimed the top six spots in the six-team meet and beat the three teams they were running against.
Even though they were running against two other teams with winning records, the Mountaineers were not challenged in 15-49 wins over Tunkhannock and Wyoming Valley West and a 15-50 victory – the maximum scoring margin in cross country – against rival Lake-Lehman.
“I think they guys are just getting ready for the big push now at the end of the season,” Samuel said. “We’re getting ready for the championship season now, so this is the time you have to step your game up.”
Jason Culp won in 17:16 with teammate Josh Wyandt one second behind and Jack Zardecki one behind him. Adam Borton, Mitch Rome and Steve Postupak were not far behind in fourth through sixth before Tunkhannock’s Jack Tidball prevented a 15-50 sweep of every meet by Dallas, which is secured when a team finishes in the top seven places.
The sixth straight unbeaten championship season in the conference extends the Dallas winning streak to 102 in the Wyoming Valley Conference.
The 2016 season by a lineup filled with returnees from the state Class 2A champions was outstanding even by the lofty standards set at Dallas.
The Mountaineers beat 12 of 18 opponents by 15-50 scores and hit their minimum score of 15 with top-five sweeps against four other opponents. Only Berwick (22-36) and Holy Redeemer (19-39) kept Dallas from scoring 15 points.
Samuel said it was not as easy as it looked. The team worked its way through some injuries, as is part of training on such a high level, and often finished in different orders than what the coach would have pictured when the season started.
While the boys were remaining on top of the WVC, the Dallas girls were returning to the top by winning at the site of their only 2015 conference loss.
Dallas ended Lake-Lehman’s title run by winning 16-40 over the host Black Knights. It also beat Wyoming Valley West and Tunkhannock by 15-50 scores to finish 18-0.
The girls had their closest challenge early in the season in a 23-38 win over Hazleton Area.
Running without one of the team leaders in Riley Oremus, who was unavailable Wednesday, Dallas still took three of the top four and five of the top seven spots.
Megan Borton won in 20:27. Abby Zolner, Rebecca Balara and Madison Baloga were third through fifth and Grace Jarden seventh.
“It was nice to have our girls step up like that,” Samuel said. “ … We wanted to finish undefeated. That was great.
“Coming off of not having (two-time state champion) Ally Rome, it’s nice to see these young and inexperienced girls step to the forefront.”
BOYS CROSS COUNTRY
Dallas 15, Lake-Lehman 50
Dallas 15, Tunkhannock 49
Dallas 15, Wyoming Valley West 49
Lake-Lehman 15, Wyoming Area 40
Lake-Lehman 26, Wyoming Seminary 29
Tunkhannock 15, Wyoming Area 49
Tunkhannock 21, Wyoming Seminary 35
Wyoming Valley West 17, Wyoming Area 43
Wyoming Valley West 26, Wyoming Seminary 29
(at Lake-Lehman, 3.1 miles)
1, DAL, Jason Culp, 17:16; 2. DAL, Josh Wyandt, 17:17; 3. DAL, Jack Zardecki 17:18; 4. DAL, Adam Borton, 17:21; 5. DAL, Mitch Rome, 17:32; 6. DAL, Steve Postupak, 17:38; 7. TUNK, Jack Tidball, 17:45; 8. DAL, Josh Jarden, 17:48; 9. WVW, Jacob Kobusky, 17:58; 10. SEM, Eamon Gibbons, 18:32.
GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
Dallas 16, Lake-Lehman 40
Dallas 15, Wyoming Valley West 50
Dallas 15, Tunkhannock 50
Lake-Lehman 15, Wyoming Area 46
Lake-Lehman 20, Wyoming Seminary 41
Wyoming Area 15, Tunkhannock 50
Wyoming Area 21, Wyoming Valley West 34
Wyoming Valley West 25, Wyoming Seminary 30
Wyoming Seminary 15, Tunkhannock 50
(at Lake-Lehman, 3.1 miles)
1, DAL, Megan Borton, 20:27; 2. SEM, Tara Kupsky 20:53; 3. DAL, Abby Zolner, 21:02; 4. DAL, Rebecca Balara, 21:06; 5. DAL, Madison Baloga, 21:09; 6. LL, Jace Garnick, 21:27; 7. DAL, Grace Jarden, 21:42; 8. LL, Lauryn Pembleton, 21:47; 9. LL, Stephanie Chaga, 22:01; 10. LL, Olivia Vasey, 22:06.
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