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Highs and lows from the girls’ track and field season

Nothing was boring about girls' track and field in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Nothing was boring about girls' track and field in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Abington, once again, was the area's superior team. Pennsbury's Sara Sargent posted an unforgettable performance in the Class AAA 3,200 meters at the PIAA track and field state championships.

The area produced 13 gold medalists, 12 second-place finishers and 12 bronze medalists at the state meet.

Here are some of the highs and lows of the season:

Team of the year. Abington didn't get the second consecutive Class AAA state title that it desperately wanted. But the Ghosts won't be remembered for failing to win that title. Years from now, folks will recall the dominance Abington provided in just about every meet leading to the state meet,

As a result, the Ghosts are the Inquirer's Southeastern Pennsylvania team of the year, regardless of classification, for the second straight season.

West Catholic and Cheltenham received consideration. But in the end, Abington's accomplishment couldn't be overlooked.

The Ghosts won the District 1 Class AAA title despite being disqualified in one of their marquee events, the 4x100-meter relay. Abington followed that with a third-place finish at the state meet.

Coach of the year. Notre Dame was the state's best non-PIAA program. The Irish proved that as the runaway winner at the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Invitational. Notre Dame's success was a reflection of coach Jenn Messner. She had a knack for getting every ounce out of her runners. And with her guidance, the Irish routinely produced on the biggest stage.

Performance of the year. Sargent's state-meet-record performance in the Class AAA 3,200 was full of excitement. The freshman's time of 10 minutes, 21.06 seconds broke the state-meet record of 10:21.77 set by Janelle Thomas of Liberty in 1996.

For a while, however, it appeared as if Central Bucks East's Katie Kinkead would win the race. The Patriots junior took the lead at the 1,600 mark. She extended her cushion over the then-second-place Sargent to 50 meters entering the bell lap.

Sargent responded with a 67.4-second final lap that enabled her to pull alongside Kinkead with 40 meters remaining. After elbowing her opponent, Kinkead stumbled and fell on the track moments before Sargent crossed the finish line.

Best statement race. Conestoga proved it still had the state's premier 4x800 relay team. The Pioneers won last season's Class AAA event.

But West Chester Henderson and Central Bucks West garnered most of the attention this season - until the state meet.

Conestoga's Kyra Sikora, Marta Klebe, Dina Ramadane and Kacie O'Neil won the Class AAA race in 9:08.58. There were only 10 teams in the country with faster times, according to

Tough luck of the year. Shanae Bailey had hoped to cap her career with her fourth consecutive Class AA 100- and 200-meter titles at the state meet. The 2009 Southeastern Pennsylvania girls' track and field athlete of year never got the opportunity.

Bothered by a season-long left quadriceps bruise, the senior didn't compete in those events at the District 12 Class AA meet. As a result, she wasn't permitted to participate in the state meet.