Home Local Sports Juliana Balon leads Padua Academy to win in DIAA track and field...

Juliana Balon leads Padua Academy to win in DIAA track and field championships: Photo gallery

Another state championship trophy arrived on Broom Street after Padua won the Division I track and field title May 19-20 in Dover. Photo courtesy of Glenn Frazer

Padua Academy maintained its championship form in the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association track and field finals, which were held May 19-20 at Dover High School. The Pandas combined a number of superb individual performances with superior depth for a convincing win in Division I.

For Padua, it was their ninth consecutive title and 21st overall in Division I. They have won two more in Division II. The Pandas easily outdistanced runner-up Smyrna, 187.66-93.

Padua scored in nearly every event, and they took the top spot in 10 of them. Junior Juliana Balon was one of the standouts at the meet, winning four individual events. Balon won the long jump, with teammate Mekiyah Earnest right behind her. Balon also triumphed in the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash and the 400-meter dash. Teammate Sophia Holgado took third in the 800.

She was not alone on the winner’s stand for the Pandas. The team of Claire Merchant, Madelyn Mead, Kelsey Wolff and Mary Flanagan won the 4×800 meter relay by 25 seconds over the second-place finisher. They also captured the 4×400 relay, with Katherine Bockius, Mead, Holgado and Flanagan comprising that team.

Other winners for Padua included Holgado in the 3,200-meter run, with Wolff coming in third; Tamara Williams in the triple jump, followed in second by Earnest; and Flanagan in the 800, with Holgado in third.

Mary Mancini finished second in the shot put, and Libby Neiburg was runner-up in the high jump. The Pandas’ team of Brynn Fassano, Flanagan, Alessandra DeAscanis and Jane Mazzeo were second in the 4×200 relay. The trio of Holdago, Anna Bockius and Wolff finished second, third and fourth, respectively, in the 1,600-meter run. Finally, Fassano, Mazzeo, Earnest and Williams placed third in the 4×100.

Catholic school athletes also did very well in Division II. Defending champion Saint Mark’s came in second behind Tatnall, with Archmere and Ursuline taking third and fourth overall, respectively.

It was a banner day for Spartans senior Danni McGonigle, who wrapped up her high school career with individual titles in the triple jump and the high jump, along with third in the long jump. Saint Mark’s captured the 4×200 meter relay with the team of Ava Malgiero, Reagan Garibaldi, Arianna Donovan and Alexis Donovan.

The Spartans picked up a win in the pole vault from Malgiero, and Garibaldi took the 400-meter dash.

The Spartans had second=place performances from Elena Foresta in the discus and Garibaldi in the 200, and also from the 4×100 relay team of Alydia Brown, Alexis Donovan, Angel Rizzo and Arianna Donovan. Third place in the 300-meter hurdles went to Arianna Donovan, and Lauren McDonald was third in the high jump.

Archmere had a number of strong performers deliver to take third place overall. The Auks’ team of Maddie Priest, Helen Socorso, Taylor Costa and Rita Hartman was third in the 4×800, and they also had third-place finishes from Alanah Weaver in the shot put and Jane Willin in the triple jump. Priest also took third in the 800 and 1,600, as did the 4×100 relay team that included Icyss Hitchens, Gabby Dove, Willin and Gabby Henry.

As for Ursuline, their strong showing included a state championship for Gabrielle Paolella. The senior won the shot put, with her winning throw landing more than a foot ahead of the runner up. Paolella also was third in the discus.

The Raiders’ 4×200 relay team was second; the members were Andrea Kelojou, Caroline Coyle, Loghan Dougherty and Samantha Weinert. The 4×400 relay team of Dougherty, Amanda Ballard, Danielle Wooten and Weinert also placed second. Wooten was third in the 400.

All photos courtesy of Nick Halliday.