It may or may not be some kind of a record, and one can argue whether or not it is the scholastic equivalent of Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hit streak, UCLA men's basketball's 88 wins in a row or the Boston Celtics' eight consecutive NBA titles, but one thing is undeniable about the incredible run the Altoona Area High School boys track and field team has been on.
It feels pretty good.
"It means a lot. We take a lot of pride, and the kids, over the years, took a lot of pride in this program,'' Mountain Lion coach Mike Adams said. "All we want to do is outwork you. We don't always have the most talent, but we're going to outwork you, and that sometimes shows in the results.''
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Altoona’s Dylan Mountain defeats State College’s Will?Cather in the 1600 run.
It shows quite a bit, in fact. Behind three individual firsts and a relay-anchor victory from distance standout Dylan Mountain, the Lions emerged from a sporadic rain mixed with occasional snow flurries early Tuesday evening at Mansion Park with their 100th consecutive dual meet win, 89-61, over visiting State College.
"Don't hold me to this, but I'm pretty sure that's a state record. One hundred. Get the history books out,'' Mountain said. "The past three weeks, [Adams has] been harping on us 'This is the hundredth. This is the hundredth. You better not lose this. This is the hundredth.' So, I didn't think there was any way we were going to lose this. Not today.''
While the boys improved to 4-0, the previously unbeaten Altoona girls almost made it a sweep for the home teams, but State College stormed back in the last few events to prevail, 76-74.
Adams couldn't confirm whether the information Mountain had about it being a record was accurate - as it turns out, District 1 power North Penn is believed to have the mark with 113 dual meet wins in a row from 1995-2010. Even so, it's a special accomplishment, and, although their coach said entering the meet that he wasn't sure his team could fend off State College this year, the Mountain Lions' streak is still alive.
"A day like this epitomizes what our program's about - cold, snowy, rainy, windy, miserable. We build our program on a blue-collar mentality,'' Adams said. "A hundred dual meets in a row has got to be up there as something spectacular.''
Having moved from Boise, Idaho in 2011, first-year State College coach Rusty McCrea didn't know a lot about the Altoona program, although he'd heard plenty in the last few weeks. His first up-close look left him impressed.
"One of the first things I was told was Altoona has beaten us for a lot of years in a row, had multiple state championships in the last decade and some phenomenal athletes,'' McCrea said. "They have well-prepared athletes. I saw a lot of good finishes by Altoona kids, especially the Mountain kid. He dominated the distance races.''
Mountain, a senior, opened the meet by anchoring the Mountain Lions' four-by-800-meter relay of Brad Foust, Pat Reade and Korey Replogle to a win, then coming back to finish first in the mile by more than 3 seconds, showing a strong kick at the end. After that, he ran in the 800 - an event in which he didn't expect to compete - and pulled away in the final stretch for another victory.
He wrapped things up by running away from State's Igloo Meet champion John Crowe on the straightaway in the 3200.
"We were hoping for one-two in the mile, but, when we didn't get that, I really needed to win the 800,'' Mountain said. "I'm going to stay in the two-mile. I definitely don't have the foot speed to keep up with the top guys in the state in the 800 and mile, but I feel my strength's at the perfect spot right now.''
Altoona also got first-place points from Kevin Johnson (triple jump), Deshae Lee (high jump), Danny Moyer (javelin), Dreux Stamford (100), Killian Steinbugl (long jump), Ryan Steinbugl (pole vault) and the 400 relay to win what was expected to be a close meet going away.
"Dylan Mountain had a great meet. We swept the long jump, which we weren't expecting to do. We went one-two in the javelin, which we were not expecting to do. And we thought we'd get one in the pole vault, but we didn't think we'd get second,'' Adams said.
Adams career record now is 65-0 in eight years since taking over from Tom Musselman.
"I was fortunate enough to fall into a good situation when Tom left. He's the one that started this,'' Adams said.
The Altoona girls led by double digits for much of the meet but were outscored 18-5 in the last three events to come in to fall just short in their half of the meet. However, it was a distinct improvement from last year's 60-point loss to the Lady Little Lions.
"I told the kids in the locker room, 'I want you to come out and to complete.' And that's exactly what they did,'' Altoona girls coach Steve Rhodes said. "There were no disappointments today.''
Nikki Kerns took first in both hurdle races and the high jump, while junior Katelyn Goodman won all three throwing events, and Abby Wagner triumphed in the long and triple jumps.
Altoona is at the Pan-Ram Invitational in Harrisburg on Saturday before hosting Hollidaysburg next Tuesday.
100 dash: 1, Stamford, A, 11.2; 2 (tie), Moyer, A, and R. Steinbugl, A, 11.4. 200 dash: 1, Shisler, SC, 23.1; 2, Stamford, A, 23.3; 3, Healy, A, 23.4. 400 dash: 1, Shisler, SC, 51.6; 2, K. Steinbugl, A, 53.4; 3, Stoltz, A, 53.4. 800 run: 1, Mountain, A, 2:02.4; 2, Wright, SC, 2:03.2; 3, Cather, SC, 2:06.6. 1600 run: 1, Mountain, A, 4:32.6; 2, Cather, SC, 4:36.1; 3, Adams, SC, 4:37.6. 3200 run: 1, Mountain, A, 9:55.6; 2, Crowe, SC, 9:57.5; 3, Replogle, A,10:22.4. 110 high hurdles: 1, D. Collins, SC, 15.4; 2, Johnson, A, 16.0; 3, J. Hill, A, 16.3. 300 intermediate hurdles: 1, D. Collins, SC, 42.1; 2, Smith, SC, 42.5; 3, Hershey, A, 43.5.
400 relay: 1, Altoona (Stamford, Moyer, R. Steinbugl, Healy), 45.2. 1600 relay: 1, State College (D. Collins, Juster, Wright, Shisler), 3:33.4. 3200 relay: 1, Altoona (Foust, Reade, Replogle, Mountain), 8:15.1. High jump: 1, Lee, A, 6-0; 2, Nodell, SC, 5-10; 3, Wagner, SC, 5-8. Long jump: 1, K. Steinbugl, A, 19-11; 2, Luciano, A, 19-11; 3, Lee, A, 19-10. Triple jump: 1, Johnson, A, 43-10; 2, Williams, SC, 42-4; 3, Wagner, SC, 42-1. Shot put: 1, Gordeuk, SC, 49-7; 2, Mitchell, A, 45-5; 3, Posatko, SC, 45-2. Discus: 1, Gordeuk, SC, 155-1; 2, Mitchell, A, 122-7; 3, Posatko, SC, 120-5. Javelin: 1, Moyer, A, 158-5; 2, Weigand, A, 155-3; 3, Irwin, 154-3. Pole vault: 1, R. Steinbugl, A, 13-6; 2, Koeck, A, 13-0; 3, Swisher, SC, 12-6.
Team records: State College (0-1); Altoona (4-0).
100 dash: 1, Hay, SC, 13.0; 2, Hatch, A, 13.2; 3, Altomare, SC, 13.2. 200 dash: 1, Torretti, SC, 27.3; 2, Hay, SC, 27.4; 3, Hatch, A, 28.0. 400 dash: 1, Valentine, SC, 1:00.1; 2, Book, SC, 1:01.2; 3, Derr, SC, 1:06.4. 800 run: 1, Cousins, SC, 2:26.9; 2, Crawford, SC, 2:30.3; 3, Matthews, SC, 2:35.0. 1600 run: 1, Lidwell, A, 5:37.5; 2, Balogh, SC, 5:38.6; 3, Krieger, SC, 5:49.7. 3200 run: 1, Abrams, SC, 12:27.9; 2, McNaughton, SC, 12:28.1; 3, Lidwell, A, 12:43.8. 100 low hurdles: 1, Kerns, A, 15.5; 2, Love, SC, 16.3; 3, Albright, A, 17.0. 300 intermediate hurdles: 1, Kerns, A, 46.6; 2, Luciano, A, 50.9; 3, Albright, A, 51.5.
400 relay: 1, State College (Altomare, Hay, Torretti, Valentine), 51.3. 1600 relay: 1, State College (Valentine, Book, Derr, Torretti), 4:19.0. 3200 relay: 1, State College (McNaughton, Adams, Crawford, Collins), 10:01.5. High jump: 1, Kerns, A, 4-8; 2, Mulhern, A, 4-8; 3, Verica, SC, 4-6. Long jump: 1, Wagner, A, 17-1; 2, Altomare, SC, 14-10; 3, Lender, A, 14-9. Triple jump: 1, Wagner, A, 35-10; 2, Robinson, SC, 33-3; 3, Luciano, A, 32-2. Shot put: 1, Goodman, A, 31-4; 2, Laich, A, 29-11; 3, Marshall, SC, 27-4. Discus: 1, Goodman, A, 94-8; 2, Laich, A, 90-11; 3, Mirenda, A, 86-4. Javelin: 1, Goodman, A, 111-3; 2, Mirenda, A, 108-8; 3, Lightner, SC, 99-8. Pole vault: 1, Love, SC, 11-6; 2, Mulhern, A, 9-6; 3, Luciano, A, 8-6.
Team records: State College (0-1); Altoona (3-1).