For several years now, the Pittston Area boys track and field team has been strong in the hurdles. This year, that’s no different for the young group.
The Patriots welcome back standout hurdler Colin Tracy, who has dealt with several injuries during his varsity career. The team is experienced, but only returns one senior letter winner. Pittston Area coach Jason Mills said the experience and depth in hurdles, along with experienced throwers, will help power the Patriots this season.
“We graduated a lot of seniors and will be counting on experienced but young athletes in many areas,” he said. “We will be counting on senior Colin Tracy to lead a deep group of young hurdlers.”
Mills said the senior is finally healthy after a series of injuries and the team expects a solid season from him. Tracy finished fourth in last year’s 110 hurdles at the district championships. He was also fourth in the 300 hurdles.
Pittston Area finished 4-3 last season and lost a few key runners to graduation. However, Pittston Area will welcome back several experienced throwers.
The Patriots lost runners Michael Havrilla, Angelo Aita and Josh John to graduation. Aita and John each had impressive performances at last year’s district championship. The duo helped the Patriots to a sixth place finish in the 4×100.
Also back on the track for the Patriots are John McDonald and Richie Wallace. Junior Wallace and senior MacDonald contributed points contributed points at the district meet last season.
Juniors Paul Moska and Pat Mitchell will lead the charge for the Patriots in the field events. Moska was 11th in last year’s high jump, while Mitchell finished in the top 25 in the shot put and discus. Sophomore Walter Coles, who qualified for districts last season in the javelin, is also back.
“Throwers are all back from last year and should continue to improve,” Mills said. “Distance, sprints and pole vault will suffer the most from inexperience.”
Mills said the team is relying on a batch of first-year seniors, including Ryan Davis, Matt Ambrose and Troy Franklin, to get some points this season. The Patriots finished 14th out of 19 teams at last year district championships. Much of those points were scored by underclassmen looking to fill the lineup this season for Pittston Area.
“If our first year seniors come through for us, we could have a successful season,” Mills said. “It is difficult to get steady points from first-year guys, but our group shows a lot of promise.”
The Patriots will compete in the Ice Breaker Relays on April 9, the Mount Carmel Invite on April 15, the Jordan Relays on May 5 and the Wilkes-Barre Invite on May 7. The district championships are set for May 16.