By Harold Raker
The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE -- During a freshman year in which he dazzled fans on the football field, Selinsgrove's Juvan Batts was not living up to his own expectations in his rookie track and field season.
Recently, though, things started to improve, and on a day when the Seals needed him the most, Batts did what he said he wanted to do in Tuesday's dual-meet season finale.
"I knew it was time for me to step it up," he said, shortly after taking a much deserved rest on the Harold L. Bolig Memorial Stadium turf.
Batts and his teammates gave coach Ryan McGuire his first undefeated season and first Heartland Athletic Conference-Division I championship with an 84-66 win over Williamsport.
Batts won the 200-meter dash in a personal-best 23.19 seconds, anchored the Seals' winning 400 relay team, which turned in a PR with a 44.43, and took second to teammate Travis Lockcuff in the 100 with an 11.43.
"I was really pumped because I knew we would have a tough meet with Williamsport," Batts said.
A proud coach McGuire told his team afterward that he was pleased with how they got out to a fast start and that it was key to beating a quality Williamsport team.
The two squads came into the meet unbeaten for a winner-take-all HAC-I championship meet.
Although he cautioned his team to keep their eyes on the big prize -- a goal to win the District 4 Class AAA title in two weeks -- the third-year head coach said, "This is special to me because this is my first division title. Lewisburg and Williamsport have been winning the last few years."
Although he hadn't checked on all of them, McGuire said there were "a bunch" of personal bests on the day for the Seals (7-0 overall, 6-0 HAC-I).