Lauren Koczwara and Clare Della Valle could not contain their joy spending extra time taking photos with the championship plaque.
Both sported broad smiles during a gold-medal ceremony made a little bit more special for the seniors singles players for Abington Heights.
This year, like last, the top-seeded Lady Comets won the District 2 Class 3A team championship, beating No. 3 Wyoming Valley West, 4-0, on Oct. 8 at Kirby Park in Wilkes-Barre. Only this time — the first since 2015 for them — the crown came with a ticket to the PIAA tournament, which opens Oct. 22.
“For the past three years, we would get to the final round and somehow it wouldn’t go in our favor,” Koczwara said. “So, this year, we cracked down and we did everything to win our points.”
Abington Heights (16-1) stormed to the championship shutting out Crestwood, 5-0, in the quarterfinals, then blanking North Pocono, 3-0, and Wyoming Valley West.
In the three matches, Lady Comets players lost seven games in 30 sets.
At No. 3 singles, Koczwara came off the court first in the championship final with her third win of the team tournament, defeating Valley West’s Sara Hoskins, 6-0, 6-0.
Bella Peters won her match at No. 1 against Anabel Gifoli, 6-0, 6-1. She also swept all of her matches in the tournament.
In her singles clash, Della Valle beat Claire Capin, 6-0, 6-1 and had her semifinal match against North Pocono’s Parri Salak halted with a 6-0, 4-1 lead.
“This is pretty awesome,” Della Valle said. “We, the seniors, have never actually won districts at Kirby Park before either. It’s either been we lost or we won districts but not gone to states.
“To win here my senior year is amazing and I am just so excited.”
Abington Heights also claimed a win at No. 1 doubles where the team of Julia Brown and Rina Hanumali defeated Julia Franks and Morgan Shedlosky, 6-0, 6-0.
At No. 2 doubles, Abington Heights’ Sidney Horvath and Isabel Holland teamed and led against Kara Mackiewicz and Ivana Melecevic, 6-0, 4-1.
Peters is headed to the PIAA individual tennis championships Nov. 1 at Hershey Racquet Club.
The sophomore defeated Williamsport’s Mia Shuler, 6-1, 6-0, to win the District 2-4 Class 3A subregional championship for the second straight season Oct. 11 at Kirby Park in Wilkes-Barre.
“I think the whole season, everything leads up to this with the goal being going to states,” Peters said. “I am happy with how everything ended up. It was a tough one. I think, there was a little more pressure than last year, just because I felt I was expected to win, and I do have those expectations of myself.
“I am glad that I dealt with it the way that I did.”
Peters rallied to defeat Hazleton Area’s Alyssa Mazurek in the semifinals. She fell behind, 5-1, before staging a comeback that saw her streak to seven straight game wins and a 7-5, 6-2 victory to advance to the final.
Then, she came away with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Shuler.
Peters will draw the District 3 champion in the first round of the state tournament.
Abington Heights saw its season end with a three-stroke loss to East Juniata in the District 2-4 Class 3A subregional at Eagles Mere Country Club.
Senior Will Brown, who shot 83, was the only Abington Heights player to break 90. James Flickinger, Dan Flickinger, Mike Marion and Bryce Florey, carded 91.
Adele Hollander had 11 digs and 12 kills, Tawni Coronel had 27 digs and Gianna Toth had 26 assists and 12 digs in the Lady Comets 3-1 loss to Dunmore.
Toth had 12 points and 14 assists and Kylie Augis had seven aces, 10 points and six kills to lead the Lady Comets over Montrose, 3-0.
At Clarks Summit, Morghan Stiles scored two goals to lead Abington Heights over North Pocono, 9-0. Riley Mulherin and Anna Marchetta each had a goal and an assist for the Lady Comets.
Abington Heights swept the 2-4 spots to earn three wins in a Lackawanna League girls cross country meet.
Abby Marion was second, Gianna Sabatini was third and Maia Archangelo was fourth for the Lady Comets, who improved to 20-0 while handing Scranton its first loss.
Gray-Paul Bossi scored the go-ahead goal in the 75th minute to give Abington Heights a 2-1 win over Valley View. Sean Wilkerson scored the Comets’ first goal on an assist from Bossi.
Shaelyn Kobrynich scored two goals for Abington Heights in a 3-3 tie with Honesdale in a Wyoming Valley Conference match.
Donte Rhodes ran for a game-high 185 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries in Wyoming Valley West’s 21-13 victory over Abington Heights.
The Spartans held Abington Heights (1-7) to just seven first downs and 222 yards of offense.