ATHENS - Last year the NTL Large School title came down to the final event, an exciting 4x400 race that saw Towanda edge Athens for the title.

This year the new overall NTL title came down to a single event again but this time it was the shot put throwers on display.

Towanda went in with a 5.5 point lead and had two throwers seeded fourth and fifth. The Wildcats had the top seeded thrower but needed someone to step up.

That someone was Scott Laidlaw.

Seeded sixth at 44-feet, 3 1/2-inches his first throw went over 47-feet and he ended up at a 4 1/2-foot personal best of 48-feet, 9-inches.

"It was so exciting," Laidlaw remarked. "I was pumped. I was pumped all day. That was a great confidence booster. I hit that and I knew I could hit even bigger throws. It helped a lot to get the big throw early."

That was good enough for second with teammate Ryan Kreykenbohm taking first at 50-feet, 5 1/2-inches and this time around it was the Wildcats edging the Knights 138.5 to 133.

"Not very often do you see the meet come down to the big guys," Athens coach Dave Gabriel said. "It was great that they were in the spotlight. Scott (Laidlaw) put out that first throw and it was like he was saying 'there it is come and get me.'"

Even Kreykenbohm was impressed with his training partner's toss.

"It was great that he had that throw," he said. "It was a great way to start."

However, he wasn't about to be out done.

"I was not going to let him beat me," Kreykenbohm remarked. "I had to have a big throw after that. I push him to PRs and he pushes me to PRs."

The senior made it a point to get over 50 feet again.

"I think some people thought when I did it earlier this year it was a fluke," Kreykenbohm said. "I showed it wasn't a fluke."

Typically the throwing pits are surrounded by coaches and parents but this time they had a large crowd wrapped around their small corner of the stadium.

"It felt great throwing in front of a crowd," Kreykenbohm said. "Usually it's just our parents out there watching. The throwers are usually the unsung heroes, it's great it came down to us."

Even before the meet ended they knew it was going to rest on their shoulders.

"We knew it was going to come down to us," Laidlaw said. "We were talking about it after we didn't win the 4x4 that it was down to us."

"It was great it came down to the throws," added Kreykenbohm. "It usually comes down to the 4x4."

Wyalusing's Jeremy Allyn took third at 57-feet, 10 1/2-inches, Canton's Will Unruh was fourth at 47-feet, 8-inches followed by Towanda's duo of Jim Tice (46-feet, 6-inches) and Evan Madill (46-feet, 1/2-inch). Both Black Knight throwers did better than their seeds but couldn't make up the distance to break up Athens' top two.

Williamson's Kaleb Rice was seventh at 43-feet, 1/2-inch while Northeast Bradford's Alan Vough took eighth at 42-feet, 9-inches.

Wellsboro took third with 99.5 points followed by Canton (73), Wyalusing (66), Sayre (60), Northeast Bradford (55), Troy (41), North Penn (16) and Williamson (10).

In a meet decided by five points Athens had eight eighth-place finishers. Getting those key eight points was key for the Wildcats.

"Depth is definitely a huge thing, especially at a meet like this," Gabriel said. "We knew Towanda was a deep team. I love the rivalry. I love the passion that Towanda brings to the sport. With the 10 team format I didn't know how it would look. We looked at the seeds and we had a 60 point swing we needed to make up from the seeds. We had a lot of PRs, a lot of big performances."

After losing it last year they were excited to pull it out this year at their stadium once again.

"To do this on our turf, that's nice," Gabriel said. "It was tough to watch last year. We thought we had a the right equation to win last year."

Being able to do this at home meant a lot to the Athens athletes.

"This feels really good to do this in our last home meet," Kreykenbohm said.

The event that may have stolen the show, though, was the 4x800 relay as Northeast Bradford loaded it up to set another school record. They not only set a new school record but also a stadium record, running a 7:58.13 to win.

Colton Snyder led off followed by Brandon Devonshire, Sam Williams and Curt Jewett. Halfway through the race the Panthers were on a pace for 8:04 when Williams ran a personal best 1:59 and Jewett finished with his own PR of 1:55 to bring them under.

Troy's relay of Trevor Hodge, Eli Laue, Shane Miller and Chris Westerfer was second at 8:16.54 while Wyalusing (Zamien Benditt, Matt Woodruff, Brandon Kelley, Aaron Woodruff) was third at 8:25.84, Towanda (Tyler Basse, Derrick Cole, Austin Schoonover and Schuyler Smith) was fourth at 9;24.18, Athens (Dylan Mayo, Kyle Grady, Ryan Canavan and Nick Lynch) was fifth at 9:42.54 while Sayre took sixth at 10:12.89.

In the 100 the top time coming out of the preliminaries was Northeast Bradford's Isaiah McPherson's 11.24 but in the finals he was called for a false start.

In the finals Wellsboro's Dan Brooks won it in 11.22 followed by Towanda's Charlie Kerin (11.45) in second, Athens' Jake Coyle (11.36) in third, fellow Wildcat Tyler Birdsall (11.41) in fourth, Towanda's Steven Vogel (11.48) in fifth, Canton's Eddie Larcom (11.59) in sixth and Williamson's Dylan Cleveland (11.92) taking seventh.

Kerin would take the 200 and 400 titles.

He won the 200 in 22.81 followed by Vogel (23.10) in second, Coyle (23.18) in third, Larcom (23.46) in fourth, Towanda's Trey Sites (23.50) in fifth, Birdsall (23.52) in sixth, Brooks (23.90) in seventh and Troy's Greg Ellsworth (24.02) finishing eighth.

Kerin (51.04) held off Wellsboro's Jordan Jackson (51.26) to win the 400. Larcom (52.05) was third, Snyder (52.12) was fourth, Sites (52.17) was fifth, Wellsboro's Joey Doganiero (52.84) was sixth, North Penn's Cody Schmouder (52.92) was seventh and Athens' Kevin Stedge (53.97) took eighth.

Jackson won the 800 in 1:59.47 followed by teammate Bobby Hill (2:00.92). Sayre's Adam Moore had a strong finish to take third in 2:03.92 followed by Devonshire (2:04.39) in fourth, Doganiero (2:05.20) in fifth, Aaron Woodruff (2:05.91) in sixth, Laue (2:07.62) in seventh and Towanda's Simon Smith (2:08.15) in eighth.

Hill won the 1600 in 4:25.12 followed by closely by Williams (4:27.94) and Sayre's Nick Sweet (4:31.62). Taking fourth was Simon Smith (4:37.50), taking fifth was Towanda's Aaron Valoroso (4:42.24), taking sixth was Northeast Bradford's Levi Upham (4:44.13), taking seventh was Troy's Trevor Hodge (4:44.84) and taking eighth was Athens' Ryan Segar (4:45.76).

Sweet won the 3200 in 10;07.70 with Jewett right behind in second at 10:07.70. Simon Smith was third at 10:12.68, Valoroso (10:15.71) was fourth, Upham (10:31.40) was fifth, Northeast Bradford's Derek Allabaugh (10:34) was sixth, Benditt (10:38.87) was seventh and Troy's Robin Vanhoutte (10:44.63) was eighth.

Athens' Nick Pane (14.87) edged out Troy's Josh Purcell (14.89) in the 110 hurdles. Towanda's Blake Burlingame (16.20) was third, Athens' Casey Clark (16.42) was fourth, Towanda's Stephen Seibert (16.92) was fifth, Canton's Chris Whitehead (17.02) was sixth, Canton's Austin Dibble (17.83) was seventh and Wellsboro's Blair Carson (18.22) was eighth.

It was a reverse in the 300 hurdles as Purcell (40.98) held off Pane (42.30). Wellsboro's Jack Chambers (43.30) was third followed by Burlingame (43.62) in fourth, Seibert (43.85) in fifth, Dibble (44.69) in sixth, Clark (45.0) in seventh and Carson (45.66) in eighth.

Athens' 4x100 relay of Luke Webster, Depew, Birdsall and Coyle won in 44.86 followed by Wyalusing (Ryan Davis, Clint Crawford, Aaron Woodruff and Timmy Ace) in second at 45.46, Wellsboro (Mike Pietropola, Kieron Smethers, Nick Marple and Brooks) in third at 45.94, Canton took fourth in 46.52 while Troy (Justin Bradley, Ellsworth, Ross Sherman and Westerfer) was fifth in 47.20.

Towanda won the 4x400 relay in 3:28.97 with a team of Mike Cain, Kerin, Austin Schoonover and Sites while Wellsboro (Doganiero, Smethers, Hill and Jackson) finished right behind them at 3:29.39. Athens (Birdsall, Sam Vergeson, Sampson and Stedge) was third at 3:34.93, Northeast Bradford (Jewett, Devonshire, Snyder and McPherson) was fourth in 3:36.05, Wyalusing (Tim Kelly, Aaron Woodruff, Brandon Kelley and Ace) was fifth in 3:37.70, Troy (Ellsworth, Adam Gentilin, Purcell and Westerfer) was sixth in 3:39.24, Sayre was seventh in 3:50.08 and Canton was eighth in 3:53.79.

Canton's Austin Bunner won the high jump in 6-feet, 2-inches with teammate Emmett Watson second at 6-feet even. tying for third at 5-feet, 10-inches was North Penn's Dallas Dziuba, Towanda's Joel Miller, Sayre's Jeremy Kyc and Canton's Jesse Lattimer. North Penn's Reece Correll was seventh at 5-feet, 8-inches while Wyalusing's Lucas Jennings was eighth at 5-feet, 6-inches.

In a jump off Sayre's Lucas Murphy edged Athens' Sam Vergeson in the pole vault. Both tied at 12-feet, 6-inches but it was Murphy vaulting 12-feet, 9-inches to get the win.

Towanda's Mason Monahan was third at 12-feet, Athens' Tyler Solomon and Wellsboro's Thomas Straniere tied for fourth at 11-feet, Canton's Brendan Cohick and North Penn's Ben Jackson tied for sixth at 10-feet, 6-inches while Sayre's Marcos Velazquez was eighth at 10-feet even.

Though seeded ninth Wellsboro's Dylan Prough won the long jump at 20-feet, 8 1/2-inches, more than a foot over his seed. Depew was second at 20-feet, 5 1/2-inches, Canton's Theron Binford was third at 20-feet, 4 1/2-inches, Sampson was fourth at 20-feet, 2-inches, Ace was fifth at 20-feet, 1/4-inch, Clark took sixth at 19-feet, 9-inches, Northeast Bradford's James Zajac was seventh at 19-feet, 8 1/4-inches and Sayre's Joey Galizia was eighth at 19-feet, 4 1/2-inches.

Galizia won the triple jump in 42-feet, 7 1/4-inches with Depew second at 42-feet, 4-inches, Sampson third at 41-feet, 4-inches, Correll fourth at 40-feet, 9 3/4-inches, Miller fifth at 40-feet, 5-inches, Binford sixth at 40-feet, 4 1/2-inches, Sayre's Kyle Post seventh at 39-feet, 4 1/2-inches and Jennings eighth at 39-feet, 3 1/4-inches.

Allyn won the discus and the javelin.

He threw 143-feet, 3-inches to take the discus with Unruh second at 140-feet, 2-inches. Kaleb Rice was third at 129-feet, 7-inches, Towanda's Dalton Schultz was fourth at 125-feet, 9-inches, Athens' Tom Shenot was fifth at 125-feet, 5-inches, Kreykenbohm was sixth at 123-feet, 9-inches, Troy's Layton Calkins was seventh at 123-feet, 2-inches and Madill took eighth at 120-feet, 5-inches.

Allyn won the javelin in 165-feet, 1-inch followed by Wellsboro's Nick Marple in second at 156-feet, 9-inches. Taking third was Wyalusing's Jonah Shotwell in 150-feet, 4-inches, Crawford was fourth in 147-feet, 10-inches, Athens' Fred Horn was fifth in 138-feet, 5-inches, Murphy was sixth in 134-feet, 11-inches, Sayre's Juan Velazquez was seventh in 131-feet, 7-inches and Towanda's Joey Daniello was eighth in 129-feet, 9-inches.

All the teams will be competing at the District IV Championships next Saturday at Susquehanna University.