HS TRACK AND FIELD: Mid Valley girls look to carry momentum into Spagna Championship meet

Just after the last of the runners crossed the finish line, a couple of Mid Valley sprinters darted around the tent, took a glance at the scoreboard and waited as the times for relay teams started to posted.

When the Spartanettes’ final time appeared, they hugged.

It read: 4 minutes, 15.88 seconds.

Those numbers were reason to celebrate.

Most important, they had claimed first place in the 1,600-meter relay among the Class 2A teams, which meant a gold medal at the 68th Jordan Relays last Thursday night.

It also eclipsed the school record of 4:22.74 set last season.

Finally, the four runners had the second relay win at the meet and helped Mid Valley finish second to Montrose in the Class 2A team standings.

All season, Carolyn Chakiris, Mae Kaufman, Natalie Talluto and Madison George helped the program build into a serious contender for championships.

On Tuesday, they will lead the Spartanettes again, this time in their individual events and in the relay as they aim to dethrone Lakeland and challenge for a Class 2A team title at the Robert Spagna Championship meet that starts at 4 p.m. at Scranton Veterans Memorial Stadium.

“That was an absolute surprise,” Chakiris said. “We were so excited. Mae and I have been trying to break the record for that race since we started in track as freshmen, and last year we got it at 4:22. To drop that many seconds off the record at Jordans was insane, and wonderful to see a 4:15 next to Mid Valley on the scoreboard.”

This spring, Kaufman rewrote the school record book.

She owned many of the marks before this season, but elevated herself above those and became the top sprinter in the Lackawanna Track Conference Division III.

At the Walter Godek Twilight Invitational, Kaufman had three top-five finishes and set school records in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.92 and another in the 200 in 26.68. She already owns the 400 record of 1:01.03 she established as a junior.

Those times, and her season-best of 1:01.56 for the 400, put her among the top contenders at the Spagna Championships.

“This whole season has been super exciting,” Kaufman said. “We all have super big goals. Every season I tried to get through my smaller goals to now get to the bigger goals. I have worked to get my times down and to get those school records is really great. This group, too, nobody works harder than we have in our offseason and in season. I am so proud of all of the girls.

“We had our 4-by-4 school record and seeing our time at Jordans was just amazing. We all have the mentality that we have to work hard for our times and to also reach our goals.”

Talluto specializes in the hurdles, but contributed a fast 400-meter leg at the Jordan Relays.

This spring, the sophomore had a breakout season and perfected the three-step in between the barriers for the 100-meter race and established a school record with a time of 15.84. She also set a school mark in the 300 hurdles (48.44). Her 16.23 time for the 100 hurdles at the John Tintle Icebreaker Relays ranks third, and her 49.67 from the Jack Roddick Invitational is fourth in the conference for fully automatic times.

“It took a lot of hard work and determination,” Talluto said. “I had to come out on my own in the offseason to work on that three-step and getting that rhythm. Coach Mike Ludka (Ludka Speed and Endurance) worked with me then and I built up my speed. Every day before the season I worked at practice, but at the first two meets, I was doing four steps and only able to do three steps over a couple of hurdles. Then, against Lakeland, I got three steps over all the hurdles and beat the record. That gave me a lot of adrenaline for the rest of the season.”

Chakiris and George are also two outstanding runners for the Spartanettes.

The four combined to run a time of 3:00.38 to win the 1,200-meter sprint medley in Class 2A at the Jordan Relays. That race consists of a 400, two 200 sprints and ends with a 400.

In the 1,600 relay, Mid Valley stayed among the leaders, Abington Heights and Wallenpaupack, which are a pair of Class 3A teams, and finished with a record time that ranks fourth overall in the LTC this season and first among Class 2A schools ahead of Lakeland (4:17.02) and Montrose (4:18.00).

If they can repeat their performances or improve, the Spartanettes should find themselves in the race for the overall Class 2A team championship as well.

“It has been really exciting,” George said. “We have great teamwork, and we all get along so well. I hope, as a relay team, we do well, and that we can make our times and keep the momentum going that we built during the season.”

18th Robert Spagna Championships

Robert Spagna Championships

When: Tuesday, 4 p.m.

Where: Scranton Veterans Memorial Stadium

Defending champions: Girls — Abington Heights (Class 3A), Lakeland (Class 2A). Boys — Valley View (Class 3A), Mid Valley (Class 2A).

Online: Follow for live results at thetimes-