The end-of-school tradition continues, once again hosted by Promised Land State Park.

Despite high temperatures, more than 100 students from Wallenpaupack Area embarked on a competition at Promised Land State Park to see who could triumph at the school's 25th annual triathlon.

The race started with a six and a half mile run, where competitors then attempted to complete a mile and a half canoe or kayak course without falling in or cutting someone off.

The remaining part of the race consisted of a six and a half mile bike ride through the park.

Physical education teacher Joe Ruane explained that the race started 25 years ago as a way to reward students in physical education classes for succeeding at the physical fitness tests.

Ruane has been involved in the competition since its inception nearly three decades ago.

To compete, students had to pass three out of four tests, which included: pushups, sit and reach tests and running a mile.

Friday was Ruane's last triathlon, as he will be retiring after 36 years at the school.

On the Course

Students in grades ninth through 12th competed in two different blocks.

There were single competitors or, "iron-men/iron-woman" and teams of as many as five.

Before the start of Friday's race, Corey Valvano, the boat rental manager at the park, explained the canoe course to the energetic students, warning them of the park's own Loch Ness monster that has plenty of friends.

Hitting the stumps, he said, was possible, but he explained that although the canoe might rock, the students shouldn't worry, but rather be in the center of the canoe to stay balanced.

He stressed though, that once their team's runner arrived, that they should move carefully into the canoes because metal plus bone hurts, he said.

A member of the, "Super Heroes," a 10th grade student, Sam Rodriguez canoed for her team, which she said was easy.

Rodriguez participated in last year's competition, but this year was special because her team was competing in memory of her step brother and her boyfriend's father who passed away.

First time participants, ninth grade students, Katie Schoenagel and Christina Opalecky canoed for their team.

The young women agreed that the preliminary testing was easy and that they decided to participate because it would be fun and they were able to miss class.

Isaac Syre, a 10th grader who competed for the first time Friday, canoed for his team. Syre said he decided to participate because it was an opportunity to hang out with people and possibly make new friends.

After seeing pictures in the school, Wade Gilpin and Cesar Gonzalex, both ninth grade students at WAHS, decided to participate because the race seemed like it would be a fun time, they said.

Before the start of Friday's race, 10th grader Dylan Broschart said he was, "born ready," for the competition. A member of the "Untouchables" team, Broschart warmed up for the race by doing some stretches.

Medal Winners

Last year, Corey Schmalzle, a senior actually broke a 13 year record when he ran and canoed with a teammate who biked.

He said it was a two-man junior record.

A member of the cross country team, a 10th grader, Matt Sein placed first in the running part of the race.

He said it felt amazing to place first and as he ran he could hear himself echoing, which he initially thought were people behind him. Last year, Sein only placed second.

Team "Vanilla Ice," three ninth graders: Joe Paparazoo, Dan Rae and Brice Pattison placed first for the freshman.

The team said the race was fun. Paparazoo said that despite the fact that the team trained, nothing could prepare them for the actual race because it seemed larger and more intense as the "pressure is on."

Plus, he said the running part wasn't paved so that made it difficult.

Placing first as an "iron-man," in the race, 10th grader, Justin Schantz also competed as an "Iron-man," last year.

This year though, Schantz said he did better, which he contributed that to the difference in the weather since last year was cooler. Schantz practiced by kayaking, biking and running every day.

By participating, he said it was a chance to have some fun.