Wyoming Area’s Sara Radzwilka is seen competing earlier this season. She finished 13th at WVC Coaches Meet on Wednesday.
It was the kind of dramatic finish that is expected when Dallas’ Regan Rome and Holy Redeemer’s Marissa Durako are racing in the same field.
The two traded the lead down the stretch before Rome pulled away by a couple of strides at the end of a grueling run at the Wyoming Valley Conference Coaches Meet on Tuesday at the Wyoming County Fairgrounds.
"I knew coming in that the last race was me and Regan," Durako said. "We were neck and neck the whole time. I knew she’d want to win just like I would, and this one turned out the same as the last time, with her going ahead at the end."
The pair led the pack the entire second half of the race, topping the field by more than a minute. As the runners came through the midway point of the race, Rome was closely pursued by Durako, a Laflin resident, and teammate Rachel Sowinski. Behind the lead group was another cluster of Dallas runners - Lindsey Oremus, Maggie Fannick and Bryanna Dissinger were among the top eight.
But as the runners made their second pass through the crowd and headed for the 2-mile mark, Rome and Durako pulled away.
"She just had a better kick at the end," Durako said of Rome. "The last race was more flat, and we came in around 18:30. This time, we improved since we had a similar finish on this course, which was a little hilly."
Also in the lead group was Pittston Area’s Catherine Lombardo (19:47.40). She reached the first turn in third place, and never fell out of the lead group before earning a fourth-place finish, seven seconds behind Hazleton Area’s Nicole Buerhle.
"She’s been working on her starts," Pittston Area coach Joe Struckus said of Lombardo. "She’s getting where she needs to be. She is finishing well."
While teammate Catherine Lombardo was battling with the leaders, Bianca Bolton quietly notched her way into the Top 10 with a time of 20:37.11 to finish 10th in the WVC race. Bolton was the only other Lady Patriots runner to finish in the Top 25.
Pittston Area had two runners finish in the Top 50, and two additional runners place in the Top 60.
Kaitlynn Kutcha placed 33rd with a time of 22:14.99 and Emily Seaman finished 47th with a time of 23:09.40. Olivia Lanza ran a 23:37.65 to place 52nd, and Ashley Menichini finished 57th with a time of 23:51.62.
Wyoming Area’s Sara Radzwilka finished 13th at the WVC Coaches Meet, running a 20:47.34 to give the Lady Warriors their only Top 25 finisher.
Angela Cocco was Wyoming Area’s next finisher with a time of 24:45.68 to finish 79th. Sarah Crake (27:36.65), Kim Golden (30:13.58), Amanda Ostrowski (30:30.27) and Allison Golden (32:36.11) also ran for the Lady Warriors in the event.
Pittston Area’s Jamie Connors and Wyoming Area’s Eric Filipiak were the top finishers among runners from Greater Pittston schools in the WVC Coaches Meet.
Connors turned in a time of 18:43.78 to finish 34th, and Filipiak ran an 18:45.43 to finish right behind Connors in 35th. Dominic DeLuca of Dallas won the event with a time of 16:37.40.
PA’s Tyler Cummings was next in line for local runners, posting a time of 19:11.78 to finish 44th. Dimitri Shea of Pittston Area ran 78th with a time of 20:23.81, and Wyoming Area’s Steve Barush placed 92nd with a time of 20:56.94.
Sunday Dispatch Staff Writer Rick Notari contributed to this report.
District 2 Meet
at Elk Lake HS