Lady Tigers coming out strong
BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
Wyoming County Press Examiner
The Tunkhannock Area girls’ cross country team is making a splash in the Wyoming Valley Conference this season.
Tunkhannock’s girls, coached by Randy White, are currently 9-2 in the WVC, trying to keep pace with their 11-0 male teammates.
White said he attributes the team’s early success this season with being a much younger team.
“We’re a lot younger this season, and that’s a good thing,” White said. “We only have one senior on the team.”
The team has been rallying around freshman Maggie Toczko, who has made a big impact for the team in her first year of varsity.
Toczko has been the Lady Tigers’ top runner in each race so far this season.
Toczko took a first place finish in the Tigers’ first meet against Lake-Lehman and Meyers on Sept. 5; a second place against Wyoming Valley West, Northwest and Berwick on Sept. 19; a second place against Hazleton, Hanover and Nanticoke on Sept. 26; and a third place against GAR, Wyoming Area and Pittston on Sept. 12.
White said he believes Toczko is breaking onto the scene so quickly because of her strong work ethic.
“I expected her to come up quick because she put a lot of time in over the summer,” White said. “And she has made the whole team stronger. The other girls are now trying to keep up with her.”
Toczko has been backed up by teammates Erin Rome and Lexi Prebola, who round out the Lady Tiger top three.
White also said that Taylor Schultz and Morgan and Megan Manglaviti have been running at a great pace for the Lady Tigers.
“I said in the beginning of the season that the girls should have a good year,” White said. “And so far that’s been the case. But, the girls and boys have their toughest meets still to come.”
White is referring to the Tigers’ upcoming meets against Dallas and Holy Redeemer.
To prepare for the tough upcoming competition, White said the workouts have been getting tougher.
“We’ve done some really tough workouts the past two weeks,” White said. “With the toughest part of the season coming up, we’re hoping to peak at the perfect time.”
In the Lady Tigers’ most recent meet, where they took their second loss of the year against Hazleton (21-34), White said he thought the team ran a good race.
“Maggie, Lexi and Erin did a great job breaking up the Hazleton packs,” White said. “And were only beat by a small margin.”
White said the key for each week for the Tigers is consistency.
“If they continue to put in workouts the way they have, their times should continue to drop,” White said.
The Tigers have been running at the Kiwanis Wyoming County Fairgrounds in Meshoppen because their home course at Tunkhannock Area High School was damaged in last September’s flooding.
White said the fair course is more difficult than the Tigers’ home course, but feels it may be an advantage.
“I think it will get our kids ready for a tough districts course,” White said. “And an even tougher state course.”
This year’s district championships will be run at Elk Lake School District, for the third straight year.
White said that the girls’ team is eyeing a shot at the district title, despite having to go up against a tenacious Dallas team.
“I would like to see the girls make a showing at districts,” White said. “We last won it back in 2001, and it was the same type of tight-knit group of girls.”
White said he looks for a strong performance from the Tiger boys as well, led by captains Nick Ide and Alex Nole.