Northampton and Parkland help subvarsity track and field competitors

As coaches, Tim Caffrey of Northampton and Stephen Ott of Parkland greet dozens of potential track and field athletes at the start of each season. Only a limited number of them can contribute to the varsity in the 18 events during the season and qualify for the EPC League competition.

This often means that the rest of the team has to toil in training every day, without competition as a reward.

That led Caffrey and Ott to change that situation for all EPC coaches and athletes. The two head coaches take turns hosting sub-varsity meetings. Northampton and Parkland each hosted one in 2024, with Parkland hosting a third Wednesday at 5 p.m.

“They have to find their way in the sport without any real young high school experience,” Caffrey said. “Sometimes they are thrown into the varsity environment where things sometimes become daunting because it is difficult with more seasoned athletes.

“The open, easy (subvarsity) meets held by Parkland and Northampton help many kids transition into the sport.”

Participants in the sub-varsity meets may participate in any event of their choice. Varsity team members from the host schools serve as event staff, giving them insight into what the teachers, secretaries and hall monitors are doing during varsity meetings.

“That helps move the entire school closer to the after-school environment that all schools need,” Caffrey added. “They’ll have good things to talk about at school the next day.”

The sub-varsity events are well attended by EPC athletes, in part because it gives them the opportunity to run, jump and earn a qualifying mark for a competitive varsity meet.

There were seven heats in the girls 100 meter dash during the first sub-varsity competition. There were 11 heats in the boys 200 in the second event on the six-lane Northampton track.

Parkland’s fully automatic timing system is used at all three events and results are uploaded to Milesplit, a national website, so there is a sense of achievement and recognition for participants.

“I am pleased to volunteer my time to help all EPC athletes in the field of track and field,” Ott said. “It takes a lot of effort behind the scenes in planning, sorting and organizing. Student-athletes work hard and deserve a chance to shine, so I’m happy to do it for all of them.

“The help of all the coaches of the teams involved in the actual running of the competition is needed because we do not get paid employees.”

Everyone wins at these three sub-varsity meets, which is a boost for the sport.

Record setters

Another sport, another school record for Whitehall senior Ian Thomas. He jumped 6 feet, 6.75 inches per competition in the high jump last week. Chris Astacio (2010) and Logan Kreglow (2011) shared the previous Zephyrs record at 6-6. Thomas is also a two-time state medalist and school record holder in swimming (50 and 100 freestyle).

Elijah Pagotto broke Lehighton’s 27-year-old record in the 3,200, running a time of 10:29.68 on Tuesday at Pine Grove. Leroy Gaston had a time of 10:30.0 in 1997.

Jump back in

Emmaus’ Kyle Moore, a returning Class 3A state champion in the triple jump, made his season debut in the long jump on Monday. He defeated Easton’s Jayden Ekoko, who has the area’s best vault in that event.

Moore, a senior, next competed in the high jump during Thursday’s meet against Liberty.

New coach

Parkland on Tuesday approved Kelly Bracetty as boys and girls cross country coach, allowing Stephen Ott to focus on his track and field coaching duties. Bracetty, a graduate of East Stroudsburg University, was Ott’s assistant for the past two cross country seasons.

Bracetty has coached cross country at many local high schools and colleges over the past twenty years. She has been a wellness/fitness instructor at LCTI for grades 9 through 12 for the past 13 years.

New best from the region

Nazareth’s Giovanni Mastromonaco lowered his region-best times in the 800 (1:53.92 at Saturday’s Red and Black Invitational at East Stroudsburg University) and 1,600 (4:18.27 on Tuesday against Parkland).

Other new best areas:

(Boys)

— Three area teams ran a time better than the previous mark in the 1,600 relay. Notre Dame-Green Pond, Emmaus and Dieruff, who posted the top time of 3:33.34 during Monday’s game against Stroudsburg.

– Parkland’s Andrew Beers lowered his state-best time in the 300 hurdles to 37.29 at Tuesday’s meet with Nazareth and Bethlehem Catholic.

– Central Catholic’s Clark Gulycz added 10 inches to his school record and best throw in the shot at 59 feet, 6 inches Tuesday against Liberty.

— Emmaus pole vaulter Tyler Grabinski shot 15-2, six inches higher than his previous best this season.

— Palmerton’s Ryan Burkett added nearly 13 feet to his previous region-best discus throw to 171-1 to win gold at Friday’s Blue Mountain Invitation.

— Stroudsburg’s Kevin Polonia jumped 47-1 to win the triple jump at Saturday’s Red and Black Invitational.

(Girls)

— Stroudsburg’s Julia Grant lowered her previous region best in the 400 to 57.41 to win the Red and Black Invitational at East Stroudsburg University on Saturday.

— Stroudsburg’s Julia Grant ran a 2:20.44 in Dieruff on Monday to take over the top score in the 800, pushing Northern Lehigh’s Katelynn Barthold, who ran a school record 2:21.09 on Tuesday in Pen Argyl gave.

— Madelyn McCartney of Emmaus shaved more than six seconds off her previous region best time of 1,600 with a 5:02.04 on Thursday against Liberty.

— Emmaus’ Payton Campbell ran an 11:05.90 at the Haverford Invitational to knock Wilson’s Avery Errico out of first place in the 3,200.

– Easton’s Maggie Scalzo ran a 14.89 Monday at Emmaus to slip past Southern Lehigh’s Faith Schiffer for first place in the 100 hurdles. Scalzo lowered her previous record in the 300 hurdles to 45.14, also during Monday’s competition in Emmaus.

— Claudia Walls of Emmaus and Milly Wolf of Centra Catholic joined Ella Schweitzer of Notre Dame-GP and Elena Johnson of Southern Lehigh at 5-2 in the high jump.

— Northwestern Lehigh’s Sadie Fenstermaker extended her best throw in the shot put to 37-4.5 at a meet in Palmerton.

— Nazareth’s Naomee Adisa went 10-9 in the pole vault Tuesday in Parkland.

Looking forward

Palmerton visits Southern Lehigh on Tuesday in a Colonial League showdown of the top two boys programs. Both teams are 7-0 going into the match.

The Southern Lehigh girls are 7-0. Palmerton is 4-3, but could have star athlete Nataly Walters back. The junior missed the last few games with an ankle injury.

Notre Dame-GP and Northwestern visit Saucon Valley on Tuesday. Northwestern’s girls are 7-0. Notre Dame GP is 6-1. Both boys teams are 5-2.

The Penn Relays are Thursday through Saturday at Penn’s Franklin Field. East Stroudsburg South’s Cavalier invitational is Friday. Whitehall’s Zephyr invitational is Saturday.

Lehigh Valley Track and Field Records

BOYS

100: Kamal Crockett, Bangor, 10.84

200: Josh Shuler, Stroudsburg, Michael Milot, Emmaüs, 22.44*

400: Andrew Beers, Parkland, 49.07

800: Giovanni Mastromonaco, Nazareth, 1:53.92

1,600: Giovanni Mastromonaco, Nazareth, 4:18.27

3,200: Colin McGuigan, Parkland, 9:46.72

400 relays: Stroudsburg, 42.65

1,600 relay: Dieruff, 3:33.34**

3,200 relay: Emmaus (Jared Petre, Miles Cook, Conor Fisher, Tyler Finck), 8:11.57

110 obstacles: Andrew Beers, Parkland, 2/21

300 obstacles: Andrew Beers, Parkland, 37.29%

High jump: Ian Thomas, Whitehall, 6-6.75***

Long jump: Jayden Ekoko, Easton, 24-0%

Triple jump: Kevin Polonia, Stroudsburg, 47-1

Javelin: Thomas Lloyd, Whitehall, 184-11

Shot put: Clark Gulycz, Central Catholic, 59-6

Discus: Ryan Burkett, Palmerton, 171-5

Pole vaulting: Tyler Grabinski, Emmaus, 15-2

*Blue Mountain’s Cole Swick ran a 22.25

**Nativity BVM ran a time of 3:25.64

*** Tyrone Chambers of North Schuylkill won 6-7

%-State’s top performances in both classes

GIRLS

100: Hailey Jenkins, Catasauqua, 12.14

200: Alexandra Lea, South Lehigh, 24.54

400: Julia Grant, Stroudsburg, 57.41

800: Kylie Karavitch, Nazareth, 2:19.31

1,600: Madelyn McCartney, Emmaus, 5:02.04

3,200: Payton Campbell, Emmaus, 11:05.90

400 relays: Southern Lehigh (Chloe Posavek, Faith Schiffer, Malya Best, Alexandra Lea), 49.38

1,600 relay: Notre Dame GP (Lauren Bower, Savina Steele, Janiyah Ross, Emily Lessig), 4:10.24

3,200 relay: Emmaus (Mady McCartney, Payton Campbell, Sophia Kovalski, Addison Kleinle), 9:38.76

110 obstacles: Maggie Scalzo, Easton, 2/89

300 obstacles: Maggie Scalzo, Easton, 45.14

High jump: Ella Schweitzer, Notre Dame GP; Elena Johnson, South Lehigh; Claudia Walls, Emmaus; Milly Wolf, Central Catholic, 5-2

Long jump: Nataly Walters, Palmerton, 17-6

Triple jump: Nataly Walters, Palmerton, 37-3

Javelin: Julia Pinter, Bangor, 138-6*

Shot put: Sadie Fenstermaker, Northwestern, 37-4.5**

Discus: Lorah Thomas, Lehighton, 118-10

Pole vaulting: Naomee Adisa, Nazareth, 10-9-NEW Tuesday in Parkland

*Blue Mountain’s Gergely has rolled 155-1

** Blue Mountain’s Rosalind Gergely shot 38-11