ROYERSFORD >> A green wave crashed through the Pioneer Athletic Conference Track and Field Championships Saturday.
It came fast and it came in numbers, absurdly abundant numbers.
The apex of the wave was undoubtedly Amy Domenick, who was the breakout star of the two-day meet and headed the Methacton girls’ dominance of the sprint events on the way to winning the team championship at Pope John Paul II High School.
Domenick, a senior, was outstanding while going 4-for-4 in her events, winning the 300 hurdles Friday before sweeping the 100 and 200 Saturday and running the second leg of the meet-concluding 4×400 relay that served as a punctuation mark on the Warrior girls regaining their status as the league’s elite program. Methacton scored 162 team points, followed by Perkiomen Valley (141.5), Spring-Ford (88.5) and Owen J. Roberts (82).
Domenick was joined as a multi-event winner Saturday by Owen J. Roberts’ Mary Bernotas (800, 1,600) and Perkiomen Valley’s Christina Warren (100 hurdles, long jump). Other individual event winners were: Upper Merion’s Emily Adams (400), Methacton’s Camaryn Rodriguez (pole vault), Pottsgrove’s Anna Myers (javelin), Pottsgrove’s Miazziah Rose (high jump) and Boyertown’s Kayla Yacovone (discus). In the relays, Spring-Ford won the 4×800 while Methacton won the 4×100 and 4×400.
Not coincidentally, Methacton’s rise concurs with the return of head coach Rob Ronzano, who returned from a two-year hiatus after he led the Warriors to a string of Suburban One League championships before seven straight PAC championships in his run from 2004-15.
“This year, our coach (Ronzano) really brought the team back together like how it used to be,” Domenick said amid the Warriors’ celebration and victory lap. “That made all the difference, just having everyone supporting each other. He really showed us that we need to be a team to be successful. Once we had some success we realized that’s exactly what we need to do.”
It didn’t hurt that Domenick reached a new level Saturday — “Today was complete PRs in every event,” she said — befitting former Methacton Mercury All-Area Athletes of the Year like Ryann Krais, Nicolette Serratore and Caroline Duffy.
“I feel great. I’ve never felt better really,” said Domenick. “I was mentally coming to the blocks telling myself I needed to get out right away. Start fast, stay fast and it worked.”
Domenick wasn’t even sure she would be competing in the sprints at this stage of the season following a hamstring injury she suffered in the winter.
“I didn’t think I’d really make it back to sprinting. I thought I was going to have to do 400s — it was just me because I was mentally afraid of sprinting again,” she said. “Today, I finally felt like I did back (before the injury).”
She opened the day by winning the 100 in 12.32, edging PV’s Warren (12.63) to lead an aforementioned green wave of Methacton finishers that went 1-3-4-6 (Katelyn Evans 3rd, Lauren Prusacki 4th, Olivia Hoover 6th) in the dash.
It was a similar turn in the 200 with the Warriors going 1-3-4-5 through Domenick (25.72), Evans (23.64), Prusacki (26.99) and Juliana Keenan (27.15) with only Norristown runner-up Teliyah James (26.31) breaking the string.
The Warriors were third and sixth in the 400, an event won by Upper Merion’s Adams in 59.25. Pottstown sophomore Aniyah Hoskins placed second in 1:00.30 with Methacton’s Julie Byrne close behind in 1:00.41.
Methacton’s final touch came in the 4×400 relay with Keenan, Domenick, Prusacki and Byrne sealing the meet-ending win in 4:07.26.
On the double >> OJR senior Bernotas had her sights set on winning the 800 and 1,600 just as former teammate Ally Brunton did as a junior at the 2016 PAC finals.
“The year before last, Ally Brunton was able to do the same double so I was chasing after the same goal as her,” Bernotas said. “I think it’s pretty cool I was able to get to where she was because she’s my role model.”
Brunton, who recently completed her freshman year at the University of Pittsburgh, was on hand Saturday to witness Bernotas’ mid-distance double.
The upbeat Bernotas was full of praise for her teammates Autumn Sands, Mackenzie Kurtz and Hannah Kopec and OJR head coach Tim Marcoe for helping her make a significant jump in her senior year.
In the 800, her 2:18.45 edged fellow district qualifiers Julia Dorley of Perkiomen Valley (2:20.14) and Emily Smith of Spring-Ford (2:21.46). In the 1,600, Bernotas went sub-5:00 with a 4:59.72 to lead a field of five district qualifiers, PV’s Teagan Schein-Becker (5:06.05), Upper Merion’s Veronica Sanchez (5:07.65), OJR’s Sands (5:13.34) and Boyertown’s Madalyn Hunsberger (5:16.03).
Different standards >> By most measures, two event wins would be huge for any athlete. But those aren’t the measures of PV’s Warren.
The reigning PIAA champion in the triple jump overcame a challenging day Friday where she finished second in her specialty to win the 100 hurdles in 14.60 (Spring-Ford’s Jordan Sigler was runner-up in a district-qualifying 15.90) and the long jump with a 17-10¼, ahead of fellow district qualifiers Ally O’Connor of Spring-Ford (17-1¾) and OJR’s Corrin Ferrizzi (16-10½).
“It was definitely better than yesterday,” Warren said. “I definitely didn’t hit the marks I was hoping for but … I’m glad I managed to keep face and manage to get some points. It was four points behind was I was expecting to get.”
The Viking junior set a personal-record 41-1½ in the triple jump a week prior at the West Chester Henderson Invitational and has been rising throughout the season so she expects her PAC performance to be a blip on the radar as she chases 13 meters – 42-6 – in the triple jump and 13 seconds in the hurdles.
“It feels like yesterday was a fluke with the triple and based on everything else I’ve been doing I still feel on course for those goals.”
Field day >> Pottsgrove’s Myers and Boyertown’s Yacovone made the most of their last PACs with the seniors winning the javelin and discus, respectively.
Myers topped out at 118-7 on her second throw, which held off Phoenixville’s Riley Kappenstein (117-10) and Perk Valley’s Grace Ramsey (115-2).
“I’m really happy and excited for my senior year to end on this note,” Myers said. “I don’t have another year so this was all or nothing. To get first, that was really big for me.”
Myers wasn’t so sure about the javelin when it was picked for her as a freshman, but that was a distant memory while atop the league’s podium.
“I never thought I would be a thrower but now I love it and wouldn’t want to do anything else,” Myers said.
Yacovone finished second to Pottstown’s Gigi Mitchell a year prior but had the goods this year, hitting a personal record on her second throw with a 113-2. She was followed by Boyertown’s Mary Sherpinsky (105-11) and Spring-Ford’s Brigitte Smith (103-11).
“I’m still kind of in shock, but I feel awesome,” Yacovone said. “I hit 111 in the beginning (of the season) but I hadn’t got back up there. So this 113 is a PR and it kind of caught me off guard.”
The left-hander who recently committed to Shippensburg let her technique take over on the way to the title.
“Discus gives you such a free feeling,” she said. “I feel like even though I may not be the biggest or tallest, with my skill and the work I put in I can still get the results I want and be a part of the competition.”
Pottsgrove’s Rose gained her second win of the meet after Friday’s triple jump win by taking the high jump by clearing 5-2. Pottstown freshman Zoe Earle also cleared 5-2 and qualified for districts.
In the pole vault, Methacton junior Rodriguez cleared 10-9 for the win, unseating runner-up Melissa Israel of Spring-Ford, who went 10-6. Methacton’s Fallon Brown (10-0) and Nickolina Annelli (10-0) also recorded district-qualifying marks.
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