Track enthusiasts can talk at length about the excitement that surrounded Southeastern Pennsylvania girls' track and field this spring.
From Gwynedd-Mercy Academy's dominance in the 4x800-meter relay to Souderton high jumper Kristin Smith's upset victory at the District 1 meet, there were plenty of thrills to go around.
The area nabbed 18 gold medals, 10 silvers, and 10 third-place finishes at last weekend's PIAA track and field championships at Shippensburg University.
In winning the Class AA team title, Swenson became the first District 12 team to win back-to-back outdoor state championships.
In Class AAA, Ryann Krais single-handedly led Methacton to the state crown. And in the Philadelphia Catholic League, Cardinal O'Hara nabbed its fourth title in five seasons.
And just as in previous seasons, at least one individual or relay team was ranked nationally.
Here are some of the highs and lows of the season:
Team of the year.
In addition to winning the PCL title, O'Hara sizes up as the area's top team, regardless of classification or league. Swenson, Methacton and St. Basil Academy deserved strong consideration. The Lions, however, accomplished everything that warranted the title of Southeastern Pennsylvania's best.
In Robyn Oakley, O'Hara boasted one of the area's top hurdlers and 800-meter runners. Alysha Womack is the league's most valuable field- events performer. Sprinter Sarah Houtmann and distance runner Colleen Roe are two of many more pieces that give O'Hara intimidating depth.
Coach of the year.
At Chester, A.J. Tompkins did not have the luxury of coaching with the depth that O'Hara has. He, however, was the driving force behind the state's premier 4x400 relay. His Clippers also finished second to Methacton in the District 1 Class AAA meet. More than a track coach, he is a father figure to several of his runners.
Upset of the year.
Souderton's Smith edged the heavily favored Krais to win the gold medal at the District 1 Class AAA meet. Both competitors cleared 5 feet, 4 inches. Smith was named the winner with fewer misses at the height. Krais is the state's premier high jumper, having cleared 5-8.
Tough luck of the year.
Krais was favored to win four Class AAA gold medals at the state meet. She would have had it not been for her spill in the 100 hurdles.
Running in Lane 4, Krais had a noticeable lead heading to the eighth hurdle. After losing her balance, she fell over that hurdle and ended up in the third lane. She was disqualified for running out of her lane.
Best individual performance.
Krais was still stellar at states. The UCLA signee swept the 300-meter hurdles, long jump, and high jump to score all 30 of Methacton's points to finish first in the team scoring.
Best individual performance by someone not named Krais.
Swenson's Anthonia "Mouse" Ballard won the Class AA 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles and ran on the Lions' winning 4x100 relay at the state meet.
Best relay performance.
Gwynedd-Mercy's Meredith Jones, Kelly McEldrew, Erin Ryan and Taylor Bumpas won the Class AAA state-meet 4x800 in 9 minutes, 4.35 seconds. It was the third-fastest time in the nation this year.