Sixteen teams from all over the region competed Saturday on the shores of The Big Lake
There was an icy wind blowing in off The Big Lake Saturday morning as the 18th Annual Ice Breaker Relays began.
Fans shivered in the metal stands while volunteers at the concession stand could barely keep pace with the demand for coffee and hot chocolate.
Track & field coaches clad in parkas, ski hats and insulated gloves tried their best to stay warm while athletes steeled themselves for the trials that lay ahead.
Just another early April day in NEPA.
"It was pretty cold in the morning, but things definitely heated up as the day went on ... temperature-wise and competition-wise," said organizer and Wallenpaupack Area varsity coach Frank Gaudenzi.
Sixteen teams from all over the region turned out for the event, which started at 9 a.m. and continued late into the afternoon.
When the final whistle sounded, Pittston Area and Lakeland had run to a dead heat on the girls side.
The Lady Patriots and Chiefs each earned a total of 65 points, which left them in a tie for first place.
Abington Heights (58 pts), Holy Redeemer (52) and Western Wayne (43) rounded out the Top Five.
Paupack placed 6th (39) and Honesdale 7th (38).
On the boys side of the ledger, Wilkes Barre Coughlin ran away with the team title. The Crusaders amassed 68 points, good for a double-digit cushion over runner-up Paupack (56).
East Stroudsburg South (55), East Stroudsburg North (48) and Lakeland (47) also earned spots in the front five.
Honesdale wound up 9th (23), while Western Wayne came home 15th.
"Overall, I'm very happy with how things went," said Coach Gaudenzi. "The competition was good and the kids had fun. We heard quite a few compliments during the day."
Although neither team managed to capture a crown on Saturday, Paupack sent several athletes to the medals stand at the 18th Annual Ice Breaker Relays.
Anthony Bouselli and Pat Keane formed a potent 1-2 combination in the throws.
These two battle-tested veterans teamed up to take first place in both the discus and javelin. Bouselli (Jr) and Keane (Sr) unleashed throws measuring a total of 280' 9" in the former and 341' 1" in the latter.
"Those two kids came up huge," Coach Gaudenzi said. "They just missed a meet record. Pat's throw was amazing because it was a personal best by between 15 and 20 feet."
The first Buckhorns to appear on the dais were members of the distance medley team.
Corey Schmalzle, Brian Rose, Anthony Guerrieri and Kyler Chern battled their way to a third place finish behind Lakeland and Holy Redeemer.
"That's a nice little team right there," said Coach Gaudenzi. "They're starting to push each other during practice and it shows. We have some really good depth from the 400M all the way up to the mile."
And, speaking of the mile, Schmalzle appears to be a man on a mission this spring. The Buckhorn senior posted an eye-popping time of 4:40 in his 1600M leg.
"Corey is already way ahead of the game," Coach Gaudenzi said. "He's going to have a big senior season. We're expecting a lot from him this year."
Paupack's top story on the girls' side was undoubtedly a pair of stellar performances on the track.
The Lady Buck quartet of Hope Decker, Alyssa LaFave, Deirdre Smith and Emily Martone captured two top medals.
The local lasses sprinted to a first place finish in the 4x400M relay (4:18.58). They then followed that up with a second place effort in the 4x800M relay, trailing only Abington Heights at the line (10:07.07).
"I really don't know what to say about those four girls," Coach Gaudenzi said. "I think that Hope, Alyssa, Emily and Deirdre are going to make some real noise in the league and at districts this year."