There is a vacant space on the brick wall above the basketball court at Montoursville High School where the gymnasium lights reflect off the bright-colored paint.
It's a rare open space. Much of the four-sided structure is covered with navy and gold banners from past athletic successes. They recognize league champions, district champions and state champions.
What may seem like a speck to some has been a gaping hole to the Montoursville girls track and field program. It has been 24 years since the Warriors have hung a district championship banner in their own gym.
"I told them that space looks terrible in this gym," said Montoursville coach Stan Burke. "We need to fill this spot."
Every rainy day has been a reminder for the 2012 Warriors. When weather forces them inside for practice, the unoccupied space isn't flashing "vacancy" in bright red lights, but it's a noticeable motivator.
The Warriors had a chance to contemplate it all again on Monday before returning outside on Tuesday in preparation for Saturday's District 4 Class AA championships in Athens.
District 4 championships
When: 9 a.m., Saturday
Where: Athens High School
What:?The Class AA and AAA meets will be held at the same time. All event winners, plus those meeting the qualifying standard, will advance to the PIAA?championships May 25-26 in Shippensburg.
"We've been looking towards it the past four years because we've been close, but with Lewisburg... They've won it for the past I don't even know how many years," said senior Leah Winner, who will compete in four events on Saturday.
The last time the Green Dragons didn't win the district title, Winner was in elementary school. Not only has Lewisburg won the title, it has dominated in most seasons, scoring over 100 points.
"We've been chasing them for a while," said Burke. "Jon Clark, his staff and girls have set the bar for the league and district at a very high height."
That bar left some joking last year when the Lewisburg won the district title with only 93 2/3 points - just over 20 points better than second-place Central Columbia. Maybe it was a sign, however.
The Green Dragons do appear vulnerable this season. Selinsgrove ended their dual meet winning streak that was approaching 150 consecutive victories and the Warriors, Seals and Central Columbia beat them at the first PHAC Championships on Saturday at Shikellamy.
"They've won districts for at least nine years now, I think, and for us to bring them down and win it would be amazing, not against them, but just for us to come out of the blue and blow everyone away," said senior Rachael Lander, who is the fifth seed for Saturday's 3,200-meter run.
"They're definitely tough, there's no doubt about that," said Winner, "but I think out of all the years this would be our best opportunity to maybe dethrone them."
It's hard to argue that point.
The Warriors finished 10-0 this season, won the PHAC-II championship, overall PHAC Championship and the Lock Haven High School Classic.
The success hasn't been lost on the school. Lander said her and teammates have received congratulations from their friends in the hallways after the principal made an announcement about Saturday's championship performance. It's making the Warriors realize what their coach has been preaching, track is a team sport.
"It was amazing," said Lander. "Our principal made a huge deal out of it. It made us realize how special it was that we did this and how everybody's efforts made it so we could accomplish this."
Before clinching regular-season and postseason league titles, Burke had often said this was the most talented and deep team that he has coached at Montoursville, a program that has been successful at the state level, including winning the 3,200-meter relay at last year's PIAA Championships.
The seedings for Saturday's district meet bolster the coach's point.
All three Montoursville relays are seeded second, sophomore McKenzie Ruffing (300 hurdles), junior Kaylee Caruso (long jump) and sophomore Alexis Weisser (800) are seeded second in individual events and sophomore Teri Stoner (100 hurdles) and senior Kaelyn Koser (shot put) are top seeds.
Freshman Kirsten O'Malley is seeded third in the 200 and sixth in the 400.
The list continues and it further shows what makes this team - to this point - unbeatable.
The Warriors have veterans and youth. They have sprinters, jumpers, throwers and a long-distance runner. They have chemistry.
"It's been a lot of fun and definitely the best experience out of my four years," said Winner, who won a district soccer championship in the fall. "Our team is working well together and we push each other and everyone does their best."
Montoursville hasn't hid from the expectations. Burke challenges them on a daily basis and did so again on Tuesday. He told them striving for their seed was unacceptable. The Warriors have reached new PRs all season and that is what Burke is looking for on Saturday. Just one more inch or another tenth of a second can make the difference between 10 team points, one or none. It can be the breaking point for a trip to the PIAA Championships or the end of a season or career.
"I told them to embrace the competition and accept it as a challenge," said Burke. "Don't be afraid of it and go get it."
Katiera Carey, Logan Wolfe and Tesa McKibben understand the challenge. The Montoursville alums were at practice on Tuesday giving the present Warriors advice - mental and physical.
Carey and McKibben competed at the PIAA Championships under Burke and had successful careers at Montoursville, but the Green Dragons kept them from filling that empty wall.
"I told the girls this is the toughest sport in District 4 to win the title," said Burke.
The vacant space high above the wall in Montoursville's gymnasium concurs.