The Abington Heights girls track and field team entered the season with a long winning streak in the Lackawanna Track Conference — and the proverbial bull’s eye on their uniforms.
Living up to their high standards has become second nature to the Lady Comets, who nailed down another division title — their tenth over the last 11 years — and extended their consecutive meet winning streak to 50.
But making it look easy seems to be something head coach Frank Passetti’s team has gotten down pat.
“We went into the season confident that we would be competitive,” Passetti said. “The league is getting better each year. We never presume that we are the favorite to win.”
The Lady Comets’ combination of seasoned veterans and talented youngsters proved to be lethal to the rest of the Division I squads who valiantly tried to deny Abington Heights another crown.
“I expected that the girls would be competitive,” Passetti said. “I was very pleased with several individuals who set personal bests during the season. Abigail McMinn set a personal record at states in the 100-meter hurdles and our girls 4-by-1 (100-meter relay team) broke a school record at states. The 4-by-1 record was especially impressive when you consider that the previous record holders had state champion Jordan Hoyt as a part of that team.”
All the hard work the Lady Comets put into their events stretched out longer than the March through May spring season. It took a lot of diligence by the girls during the fall and winter months that made the spring season look routine by Abington Heights standards.
“I don’t think we had any single key moments that stood alone,” Passetti said. “Our momentum was created as a result of daily hard work during the indoor season that continued into the outdoor season.”
Leading the way was veteran Tessa Barrett, the national cross country champion last fall, who was dominant in the distance events before a family tragedy ended her senior season before the District 2 championships.
“Tessa Barrett’s season was cut short by the passing of her father, Dr. Michael Barrett,” Passetti said. “This national champion will go down as the best female runner to come out of District 2. We didn’t have the privilege to see her compete on the track at Shippensburg [in the state meet], but we look forward to following her career at Penn State in the years to come.”
But there was much more to the Lady Comets success this spring, as Passetti will have a number of talented girls back as they try to improve their own performances as they try to keep Abington Heights in the catbird seat in the league.
“We had several younger athletes this year that really stepped up and contributed to our team,” Passetti said. “Sophomores Emma Henzes and Tiana Yarns ran on our league championship 4-by-800 relay team.
“Freshman Allyson Derry ran the first leg of our 4-by-1 relay. Jessie Show contributed in throws for us in every meet. We also had two freshman hurdlers that scored points in every meet, Celia Davis and Natalie Reid.”
With all the glory the program has brought to the school, Abington Heights has been able to lure many top-notch athletes into track and field knowing the pressure to succeed will be quite high.
“Our [junior high] girls team won the league championship this year,” Passetti said. “This should help us fill some holes that will be created by our graduating seniors.”
It is a recipe that Passetti has followed before, building a program where great results are expected, behind a bunch of athletes with the desire to continue the program’s great tradition. It is a recipe that he’ll rely upon once again, starting with all the off-season work and continuing with a solid indoor track season over the long, cold winter.
It’s hard to argue with the results — just ask their division foes.