Ezra Mellinger was exhausted.
The Lampeter-Strasburg senior had won the 100-meter dash at Saturday's Black Knight Invitational. He had just set the meet record in the 200, and he held a comfortable lead in the long jump, even after the rest of the field had finished while he triumphed on the track.
But he wasn't finished.
"(Conestoga Valley's) Jane Livingston earlier had gotten two meet records," Mellinger said, "and I was like, 'Well, I want to also match that and get two meet records."
Opting to take his final three jumps, Mellinger hit a mark of 24 feet, 1.5 inches. It gave him his his second meet record, sealed his third win of the day and complemented a pair of record runs from Livingston in the hurdles on an historic day in Landisville for Lancaster-Lebanon League track and field athletes.
With the sun beating down on him and a gaggle of camera phones pointed in his direction, Mellinger just about jumped over the Hempfield sand pit on his first attempt of the day, but a foot foul kept the measurement — unofficially beyond 26 feet — off the board. He also fouled on his second attempt.
"I really get frustrated," he said, "and I get caught up in it, and then I get more fired up and lose more consistency."
After a mark on his third attempt kept his series alive and advanced him to the finals, Mellinger headed to the 200, where he won in 21.48 seconds.
"I wasn't really thinking straight," said Mellinger, who also won the 100 (10.64) and anchored the Pioneers' fifth-place 4x100 relay (44.16). "so it was good to run the 200 because I was really able to blow it off in the 2, and then I was able to sort of dial in on the long jump and let the technique work more than the adrenaline."
The technique took him to a meet record on his penultimate attempt.
"It wasn't a sloppy jump," the Duke commit said, "but I knew it wasn't the prettiest jump I could jump. But it's consistency, and it's reassuring to know that I can be consistent (at 24 feet)."
History in the hurdles
Livingston attacked the hurdles with consistency and efficiency, winning the 100 hurdles in 13.62.
"My start," the Villanova-bound Livingston said. "That's my thing. I love it. My coach says, 'Push three.' I push my first three steps, and once I do that, and it's a good three steps, I know I'm going to have a good time. That's what happened today."
She followed it up later in the 300 hurdles race, pulling ahead of the field and setting a meet record and a personal record in the event for the first time in almost two years.
"On the back stretch," she said, "I felt so strong, and I usually don't feel that strong there."
McCaskey's Dejon Manning also picked up a pair of wins in the hurdles.
"Seeing the times," he said, "and how much I've progressed since last year, I really wanted to win."
Manning won the 110 hurdles in 15.34, ahead of a tight finals race that included Lampeter-Strasburg's Josiah Zehr (15.46), Hershey's Ian Willen (15.47) and Cedar Crest's Alex Miller (15.48).
"In the middle of the race, I got scratched," said Manning, who also won the 300 hurdles (39.65), finished fourth in the 200 (22.36) and ran in McCaskey's runner-up 4x100 relay (42.94). "But I just tried to focus on the hurdle ahead."
McCaskey's Dejon Manning wins a #BlackKnightInvite BATTLE in the 110 hurdles. He goes 15.34. L-S's Josiah Zehr takes second (15.46), Hershry's Ian Willen third (15.47) and Cedar Crest's Alex Miller fourth (15.48). pic.twitter.com/ixckIPwgsq— Tim Gross (@TimGrossLNP) April 13, 2019
Two for Shue
Ephrata's Tyler Shue needed a late surge in the boys 800 to earn his second win of the day. Governor Mifflin's Alexander Ermold won the first heat in 1:55.78, and Conestoga Valley's Nate Grucelski, Warwick's Connor Shields and Hempfield's Jack Mieszkalski were giving Shue a push midway through the race.
"I knew between Nate, Jack and Connor," Shue said, "that I had a lot of talent behind me. When I was going down the back stretch, I heard people yelling for the other competitors, so I knew that they were close behind me. I had to just keep going."
Shue held off the challenge and beat Ermold's time to win the race and set the meet record at 1:55.27. He also won the boys 1,600 (4:20.12) and helped Ephrata finish third in the 4x400 relay (3:31.02).
Locker takes the 800
Elizabethtown's Katie Locker anchored the Bears' 4x800 relay that broke a Black Knight record to win in 9:24.49 after legs from Madeline Quinn, Cat Shontz and Sierra Kapcsos.
"Breaking the record," Locker said, "was really cool."
After finishing second in the 1,600 (5:12.78) to Warwick's Kate Dickow (5:03.96), Locker stayed ahead of the pack to win the 800 in 2:16.53.
"On the back stretch," she said, "is when I started to go. Thankfully, I could keep the pace."
Other L-L League winners
Warwick's Jeremy Bell, Noah Martin, Jacob Smith and Shields won the boys 4x800 and set a meet record at 7:57.10 . Other L-L League individual winners on the boys side included Penn Manor's Chad Mowbray (400, 49.71) and Matt Julian (pole vault, 15-0), and Ephrata's Andrew Foster (3,200, 9:53.31).
Winners on the girls side included Warwick's Meghan Quinn (100, 12.07), Cedar Crest's Shayla Bonzelet (200, 25.71), Gwyneth Young (3,200, 11:05.14) and Hannah Woelfling (discus, 124-7), Lampeter-Strasburg's Kristen Herr (javelin, 142-7) and Ephrata's Piper Snow (pole vault, 9-0).
Coatesville won both team trophies, earning 91 points on the boys title and 78 for the girls.