MYERSTOWN — It's been a while since Lancaster Catholic celebrated a section title on the track.
However, that streak is coming to an end for the Crusaders’ boys team this season.
With Wednesday's 95-55 victory at Elco, the Lancaster Catholic boys clinched the Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Three track and field team championship.
Crusaders coach and athletic director Rich Hinnenkamp said that earning a title in a season of unknowns after missing the 2020 campaign is special.
“It's really awesome. This is my seventh year coaching track and it's something we have worked for every year,” he said. “You just didn't know because really it's been two years since anybody has done anything. We had to teach how to be in a meet, what happens, how the events go. We (coaches) had to learn again.”
Lancaster Catholic's boys improved to 7-0 on the season and earned their first outright team section title since 2009.
“If you go to the gym you will see the ’80s state championship banners on the wall, so track and field has a great tradition at Lancaster Catholic,” Hinnenkamp said. “It just hasn't had a great tradition for a while.”
Not to be outdone, Elco clinched at least a tie for its third straight Section Three girls crown in dominating fashion, 110-25.
“I think the most important thing we stress is that it is a team thing,” Raiders coach Robert Miller said. “That is what has been a really neat thing to watch these kids. They come out and compete together. They develop that bond and care about winning as a team as well as hitting their own PRs.”
Senior Daniel Myers won both distance events for the Catholic boys, the second of which was the 3,200 leading a Crusaders sweep in the race that put the meet away. Myers added that winning the section can help the future also.
“I think everyone worked really hard last year when we didn't have a season and it showed," Myers said. "A lot of the younger kids are starting to look up to us because we are doing a lot better, which is really nice. I hope this pays off through the next few years."
Sophomore hurdler William Scott had two wins (110 and 300) as the Crusaders boys opened a big lead early on the track. With Colin Daub taking the shot put and discus, Elco's field success kept the meet close heading to the final few events.
Led by freshman Noah Holenbacher, Catholic swept the 400, but the Raiders earned the top two spots in the first completed field events, cutting into the lead.
Miller was impressed with the Crusaders’ run to the top of the standings.
“As the season was going, you could see it developing. I think it's really impressive coming out of a year we didn't know who graduated,” he said. “They have done a terrific job developing depth and man they have some talented kids.”
With a final regular season meet against Northern Lebanon next week, Elco's girls improved to 6-0.
The Raiders built up a huge lead on the track after taking first and second in the first three races, plus won both early relays.
Only one girl for Elco, Samantha Nelson (javelin, discus) won two events as 10 different athletes won events and 12 others took second-place finishes.