They’re losing one of the best athletes in school history. But that won’t stop Pittston Area’s boys track and field team from making a push toward Wyoming Valley Conference lore.
Ronnie D’Eliseo is at East Stroudsburg University. Pittston Area will have to replace his four 2013 District 2 gold medals, and a two-time state medalist.
Shouldn’t be much of a problem.
The Patriots will welcome back five athletes who participated in last year’s state championships. Led by coach Jason Mills, the boys finished last season 1-4-2 in the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 — they tied for sixth at Districts.
Three parts of last year’s 1,600 relay are Michael Harth, Angelo Aita and Austin Naples. All three will be returning, looking for another shot at district gold. John John, who ran the final leg of the 400 relay, is also returning.
Pittston Area has a promising hurdler in Colin Tracy, who certainly learned a lot from D’Eliseo. Tracy finished third in the 300 hurdles, and also participated in the 110 hurdles at districts.
Pittston Area was a force in running events at districts a year ago. But there wasn’t much by way of field events for the Patriots. That’s something Mills is looking to change this season.
The Pittston Area girls are no stranger to the big stage. After finishing the WVC Division 1 slate unbeaten, and getting sixth at districts, the girls expect to be back at the top of the conference.
They’re young, but they have a lot of experience.
The defending district champion 3,200 relay team has three of four runners returning: Madison Mimnaugh, Tara Johnson and Samantha Mayers. However, the Patriots will have to replace Catherine Lombardo, who is now running cross country at Notre Dame.
Now-sophomore Minmaugh was also a state qualifier in the 1,600 last season, while finishing third at districts. Olivia Giambra was a state qualifier last season in the long jump while finishing second at districts — she finished sixth in the triple jump. As a freshman, Mayers finished 10th in the 400.
Taylor Powers (100) and Abby Sheerer (high jump) each finished in the top-10 at districts.
The Patriots have a good core of athletes this season. And that spans across each sport. Distance isn’t a problem with Mimnaugh and Johnson. Powers can handle the sprints.