L-L TRACK: Tornado clinches tie for crown - LancasterOnline: Sports

L-L TRACK: Tornado clinches tie for crown

Runners set tone for crucial victory over Cedar Crest

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Posted: Monday, April 30, 2012 9:31 pm | Updated: 4:48 pm, Mon Jan 20, 2014.

The scene had played out too many times before for Carl Frederick's liking.

For that matter, most of the McCaskey boys' track team was tired of it as well.

So when Tyler Holdren zipped past Cedar Crest's Shaun Ditzler on the home stretch to pull out a victory in the meet-opening 3,200 relay, you could feel the winds of change swirling in the Tornado's favor.

McCaskey (5-0 L-L, 7-1 overall) locked up at least a share of the Section One title - its first since 2006 - with an 81-69 victory over the Falcons (4-2, 7-2) on a cold and gloomy Monday afternoon at Barney Ewell Stadium. Only next week's visit from Penn Manor (3-2 L-L) blocks the path of the Tornado to own the crown outright.

The McCaskey girls (1-4, 2-6), meanwhile, pulled out their first league win of the season with an 84-66 triumph over Crest (2-4, 4-5).

"They got off to a heck of a start with the 4x8 (relay) and the 110s (hurdles) and just took off on the track and just kept it going," Crest assistant Brandon Risser, who was filling in for head coach Rob Bare, said of McCaskey.

"They just seemed to be ready to go from that first event, while we took a little time to get started."

"We were ready," said senior Cossion Walston, who teamed with Joe Cuebas, Ryan Myers and Holdren to take the 3,200 relay in a season- and league-best 8:10.4.

"When Tyler passed (Ditzler), I was just filled with joy. I just wanted to go over and hug him. Man, that was big."

"Holdren, he's been on the other end the last couple years against them," Frederick said of Crest's vaunted distance program taking pivotal points in tight races against McCaskey. "I don't think he was going to let that happen this time around."

He didn't and neither did his teammates.

"A lot of people stepped up," said Walston. "We came through."

McCaskey really pushed through on the track, outscoring the Falcons 58-29 in the running events.

Robert Wolpert won high (15.3) and intermediate (personal-best 39.5) hurdles, Walston the 400 (53.2), Holdren the 800 (2:03.4), Kelvin Cunningham the 100 (11.3) and Quashaun Davis the 200 (23.6).

Also, Cunningham, Wolpert, Davis and Tyree Ballenger won the 400 relay (44.1), and Holdren, Walston, Davis and Wolpert the 1,600 relay (3:28.9).

Crest, on the other hand, won every field event except for the high jump, which Ballenger claimed by clearing 5-6.

"We battled. We did some really good things," said Risser, whose squad claimed the throws and jumps 40-13. "McCaskey was just excellent. They were on top of their game."

"We've been right there the last three years, but didn't just quite get it done," Frederick said of contending for, but not winning, a section title. "This year's been a little different."

The turnaround, Frederick said, was that he sensed all year long that his seniors were, "quite frankly, tired of not winning. They've been together, for the most part, all four years and they're just really motivated to win a section title."

"When we beat Hempfield (83-67 April 16) and Cedar Crest, basically back-to-back, it was like winning the championship," said Walston. "They're the champs (Hempfield won in 2009 and 2011 and Crest in 2007 and 2008), so we kind of feel like now we're the champs."

It's a scene that could play out to Walston's liking - as well as to the liking of his teammates and coaches - as long as McCaskey gets past those Comets next Monday.

pkauffman@lnpnews.com

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