Track season runs to next level
nGarden Spot wins Blue Streak Relays boys' crown, ties Ephrata for girls' title. BY MIKE GROSS, Sports Columnist
In high-school track and field, there's the dual-meet regular season and the big-meet postseason.
In between sits the Blue Streak Relays, which played out in a pleasant and leisurely way on a gorgeous Saturday at Manheim Township.
Garden Spot won the boys' team competition and shared, with Ephrata, the girls' title.
Even though the Spot's boys won their first Lancaster-Lebanon League section title since 2001, Russ White, their coach, wasn't getting carried away.
"I don't think our boys or girls are really a big-meet team,'' White said. "When you have years like that, you have the flexibility to focus on individuals.
"We've already been talking with our kids about what they want to achieve, and making sure our ideas fit together.''
Kids like Garden Spot hurdling ace Hannah Williams, whose 14.87 in the 100 high hurdles is the Lancaster-Lebanon League's best this year, nosing out the 14.9 of longtime L-L gold standard Mary Witmer of Ephrata.
They didn't go head-to-head Saturday, but competed as part of rival teams in the shuttle-hurdle relay.
The Spartans won, beating Ephrata by eight-tenths of a second in 1:08.1.
Witmer got two wins anyway, as part of winning Ephrata teams in the sprint medley relay (1:48.5) and 1,600 relay (4:03.9, a team and league best this season).
Every event in the BSR is a relay, even the field events, in which two-athlete teams have their throws or jumps added together.
That, plus a tweak to the L-L schedule, may have been the reason for the smallest field, 12 schools, in the meet's 19-year history, according to Manheim Township coach Mark Linn.
In the past, most schools had league dual meets scheduled early in the week before the L-L meet, which will be run at Hempfield this weekend.
This year the league season ended last week, so some schools went to invitationals Saturday in order to secure district-qualifying times in running events.
Still, three meet records fell and one was tied in perfect conditions in Neffsville: in the girls' shot put, 76-6¾ by brilliant Cocalico freshman Emily Stauffer and Kayla Young; girls' pole vault, 22-0 by Hempfield's Kayla Garpstas and Dani Poletti; and girls' distance medley relay, 12:26.0 by Palmyra's Katie Dembrowski, Maria Tukis, Olivia Farabaugh and Miranda Salvo.
Hempfield's boys' 400 relay team -- Dustin Koenig, Zach Zeamer, Devon Santos and Tory Long -- ran 42.9 seconds to equal the mark set by Cedar Crest in 1999.
One team, Hempfield's throwing duo of J.D. Aument and Tanner Unger, won the shot (99-1¼) and discus (287-10).
The Ephrata and Garden Spot girls both had 88 points. Palmyra was third with 71 points, followed by Hempfield (68) and Lampeter-Strasburg (55).
The Garden Spot boys won easily, with 102 points, to runner-up Palmyra's 77. Hempfield was third (64), Manheim Township fourth (58) and L-S fifth (45).
One of the country's best high-school pole vaulters, Palmyra's Tim Moses, competed and had the day's best vault, 15-6 ¾.
Moses wasn't thrilled.
"I'm getting a little discouraged, actually,'' he said.
Moses has vaulted 16-2 indoors and 16-0 outdoors. He won the state indoor title in the winter. He did 15-9¾ at the Penn Relays, matching the country's second-ranked vaulter, Dylan Duvio of Louisiana. Duvio won on fewer misses.
Moses comes from a family of pole-vaulter/dentists, which sounds like, but isn't, a Monty Python sketch premise. His dad, uncle and two cousins starred in the event for Palmyra.
"Yes, I plan on going to dental school,'' he said.
But not before, he hopes, making the big vault.
"I'm lining it all up,'' he said. "I just have to put it together. I only have three more opportunities.''
He meant the Mid-Penn Conference meet, then districts, then states.
Starting now, this sport gets serious.