Making Santa happy: State champs sort out what to do for encore

XMASCT

The 2013 Tunkhannock Area cross country team was acknowledged on the floor of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives last week for winning a state title. Here in front of the Christmas tree in the historic Capitol Rotunda at left is Rep. Sandra Major and at right, Rep. Karen Boback. Also in the front row are coach Doug Wilson, Joey Moffett, Justin Stonier, and Jack Tidball. In the back row are Coach Randy White, John Loomis, Ben Siegel, Carson Ayers, Jacob Toczko and Alan Grow.XmasCCTeam

 

 

BY MICHAEL WINTERMUTE

Wyoming County Press Examiner

With the celebration of Christmas and the promise of the New Year right around the corner, it is fitting to recall the tremendous feats of a group of Tunkhannock Area High School athletes who made headlines across the state in November.

The boys’ cross country team captured Tunkhannock’s first state title in 41 years, capping off a remarkable and unforgettable season.

From many perspectives, the eventual 16-1 team was not picked as the district’s best, let alone first in the state, but when it came time to step up, the crew pulled off some clutch feats.

In the district meet, the team overcame favorites Scranton Prep and Dallas, despite having lost to Dallas during the regular season.

When the race was over there was a mere 47-second spread, between the five scoring runners.

At the State meet, a number of Tunkhannock runners who did not typically place for the team kicked it into high gear and carried the team to an astonishingly slim victory, earning 101 points over second-place Pottsgrove’s 105 points.

In that race, only 52 seconds separated the top five placing runners.

On Dec. 16, the State Champions were treated to a grand tour of the State Capitol in Harrisburg, honored on the House floor for their undeniable talents.

Now, as the New Year approaches, runners are already counting down the days until Track & Field, then the seemingly endless summer training, and then, finally, the 2014 cross country season.

Meet the champions.

Ben Siegel, 17

Hometown: Falls

Parents: Gary and Jeanette

Other sports he plays: Wrestling, Track & Field, Table Tennis, Bubble Trouble 2

Favorite sports team: Penn State Wrestling

Best memory from this season: Celebrating the State Championship Title

If Santa could grant one wish for New Year’s, what would it be?:  A great Christmas ham and hot scones.

Justin Stonier, 17

Hometown: Tunkhannock

Parents: Gerald and Elizabeth

Other sports he plays: Track & Field

Favorite sports team: Seattle Seahawks

Best memory from this season: Coming back from States and getting to come through town on the fire truck

If Santa could grant one wish for New Year’s, what would it be?: Infinite wishes

Alan Grow, 14

Hometown: Tunkhannock

Parents: Alan and Erica

Other sports he plays: Ice hockey for Back Mountain, Track & Field

Favorite sports team: Pittsburgh Penguins

Best memory from this season: Our whole States trip

If Santa could grant one wish, what would it be?: To be able to go to States and win again next year; my own planet

Jack Tidball, 16

Hometown: Raleigh, N.C.; Tunkhannock

Parents: Elizabeth and John

Other sports he plays: Track & Field, Croquet

Favorite sports team: NC State football, UNC basketball, Tunkhannock Area Distance Team

Best memory from this season: Beat-boxing circle after winning States and hanging out at States

If Santa could grant one wish, what would it be?: I wish I could be with the past couple of years (2011, 2012, 2013) Tunkhannock Track & Field and Cross Country athletes and have a good time – maybe go for a run

Jake Toczko, 16

Hometown: Mehoopany

Parents: Gary and Ellie

Other sports he plays: Track & Field, foosball

Favorite sports team: Hanson’s distance running project

Best memory from this season: Hanging out at the hotel at States.

If Santa could grant one wish, what would it be?: An ‘A’ on Mrs. Kutish’s final.

John Loomis, 17

Hometown: Mehoopany

Parents: John and Kim

Other sports he plays: Track & Field, chess, Frisbee

Best memory from this season: all the jokes we cracked

If Santa could grant one wish, what would it be?: All the cats in the world to be free

Joey Moffitt, 17

Hometown: Tunkhannock

Parents: Joe and Marry

Other sports he plays: Swimming, Track & Field

Favorite athlete: Michael Phelps

Best memory from this season: Spending time with the team at states

If Santa could grant one wish, what would it be?: To relive States – it was so crazy to experience

Carson Ayers, 17

Hometown: Tunkhannock

Parents: Kevin and Karen

Other sports he plays: Track & Field, Wiffle ball, Bubble Trouble 2

Favorite sports team: ‘New Baltimore Hawks’

Best memory from this season: Coach White trying to beat-box

If Santa could grant one wish, what would it be?: The legalization of ownership of a mountain lion, and that the Game Commission would acknowledge that we do, in fact, have them in Pennsylvania.