McCaskey’s Leonel Del Rosario knew when he woke up that Saturday could be a special day.
By 3 p.m., after the conclusion of the second day of the Lancaster-Lebanon League track and field championships, that premonition had come true.
Del Rosario earned four gold medals, winning the 400- and 200-meter dashes, along with being a part of the Red Tornado’s winning 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays at Hempfield.
The senior ended the day in style, teaming with Jamel Henry, Dejon Manning and Anthony Deleon to anchor the 4x400, which broke a league meet record with a time of 3:21.17.
“We planned on breaking it and we did,” Del Rosario said. “As the anchor you get to see the three runners before you. You can see how well they ran. They ran pretty hard, pretty fast.”
He won the 200 in 22.17 and the 400 with a 49.73. Earlier in the day, Del Rosario, Henry and Manning combined with Nick Allen to win the 4x100 in 43.26.
“You have to have a strong mentality. I had a feeling we were going to come in first,” Del Rosario said. “We’ve been working hard. We dedicated ourselves this whole season, winter and spring, rain and snow, all of that. It all paid off.”
Like a flock of birds in motion, the Warwick trio of Leah Graybill, Lily Palacio-Lewis and M…
Just call them champs: Piling up the points to lock down this year’s team title was Manheim Township. The Blue Streaks didn’t have any individual winners, but totaled 102 points for the two-day competition to outdistance Penn Manor, which finished with 83 points.
Patrick Cloonan earned a pair of silver medals to lead the Township contingent, placing second in the shot put (51-0.25) and the discus (138-7). The Streaks quartet of Huy Nguyen, Peter Carrigan, Matt Russinko and Titan Cox also scored a silver in the 4 x 100 relay in 43.79.
Ephrata finished third overall with 67, followed by McCaskey with 63.5 and Donegal with 57.
No warm-up, no big deal for Whitfield: Senior Taraje Whitfield of Penn Manor was amazing winning both of the hurdles races on Saturday.
He started the day with a 14.80 for gold in the 110 hurdles and later posted a time of 38.60 to win the 300.
Although reaching the 110 finals was not without its challenges.
Penn Manor had its prom on Friday night, and Whitfield and his prom date went to get pictures taken prior to heading to Hempfield. However, things didn’t go as planned and he arrived only minutes before the start of the 110 trials.
“I left in plenty of time, but on the highway, I missed my exit. I took the next exit, it was too far down the road,” Whitfield said with a laugh. “My coach called and said, ‘Hurry up and get here.’”
His warm-up consisted of a sprint from the parking lot to the starting line, where he did a couple jumping jacks to loosen up.
“I was already kind of worried. I didn’t want to let the team down,” Whitfield said. “Once I had to go on the track, I needed to do my best and ended up with a pretty good time.
“It felt definitely good because I did so much to get here and get the results of my hard work.”
Two in two days for Mellinger: One day after winning the long jump, Ezra Mellinger of Lampeter-Strasburg was back atop the podium after leaning past Conestoga Valley’s Jose Barbon to win the 100-meter dash by the narrowest of margins.
“I just sort of threw myself at the end,” Mellinger said. “I really didn’t think I would have it in the 100, but I put my work in and was able to get both.”
Mellinger ran 11.43 and Barbon 11.44, with Stanley Miller (Annville-Cleona) and Matt Russinko (Manheim Township) only .01 behind Barbon to tie for third.
Carter does the expected: Coming in as the top pole vault seed by a fair margin, Manheim Central’s Ryan Carter took nothing for granted on Saturday.
Carter did what he had to, with a top vault of 14 feet, 6 inches, exactly a foot and a half higher than his nearest competitors.
“I feel I am just another person. There is always someone better out there,” he said. “I felt that today went really good. It was basically an inch under my PR.”
Bucks’ Grucelski, Mounts keep going the distance: On Friday, Conestoga Valley’s Nathan Grucelski was passed down the stretch of the 3,200, but he wasn’t mad that Andrew Foster of Ephrata won the race.
Not only did Grucelski set a personal-best time by five seconds, it made him ready to come back for Saturday’s 1,600, in which he ran a 4:22.34 for the victory, holding off Connor Shields of Warwick.
“I didn’t have any other races, so I went all out,” Grucelski said. “I went out faster. The rest of the race I stayed back. That was my plan, to get my body adjusted to the pace.”
Of course, Ephrata wasn’t done after Friday either, as Mountaineers teammates Tyler Shue (1:54.87):and Alex Morales (1:57.75) placed first and second, respectively, in the 800.
Foster, Morales and Shue started Saturday by combining with Tanyon Loose for a 8:02.30 to win the 4x800 relay.
Other medals won: Casey McCollum put Penn Manor back on top of the medal stand with his shot put heave of 51-9.5.
Avery Walker of Donegal won the triple jump title with a distance of 45-0.5. Indians teammate Brooks Bear tossed the discus 138-10 for gold.