Manheim Central’s Jay Barreto burst through a headwind, darting over the hurdles at Elizabethtown and finishing the 110-meter race first at 16.0 seconds. To Barreto’s right, his Baron teammates, Tyler Flick and Zach Reed, came in second (16.6) and third (17.3), pushing the senior throughout the race.
“We always just practice as if we’re running in a meet,” Barreto said, “and it’s been awesome. Knowing that they’re right there next to you, it pushes you even harder to do better.”
The Barons rode that push to an L-L League Section Two dual-meet sweep over the host Bears, winning the boys meet, 117-33, and the girls meet, 100-50, on Monday, May 1.
“You could really see it from meet to meet,” said Russ White, the Barons’ head coach, “how we’ve been really getting better each week as the season’s gone along, and I really hope that continues into the postseason.”
Barreto complemented his 110-meter hurdles victory with a triumph by running the opening leg in the Barons’ winning 4×100-meter relay (44.8) and scoring a win in the javelin with a throw of 151 feet, 2 inches. Cole Sunderland, another one of 15 seniors for the Baron boys (6-0), also picked up a pair of wins, placing first in the 800-meter run (2:11.1) and 1.600-meter run (4:41.0) after getting pushed to the finish line by Elizabethtown’s Aiden Weaver and Chris Scharf, who finished second in their respective races.
“It’s not just 15 seniors,” White said of his group, which secured its second consecutive Section Two title. “It’s 15 seniors with a lot of athletic talent and a really good worth ethic. And good leadership skills.”
Sophomore Aiden Hellein ran the 400-meter dash in 56.8, and freshman Derek Heisey cleared 5-10 in the high jump, giving the Elizabethtown boys (1-5) their only individual wins of the meet.
“We’re learning,” said Derrick McDonald, the Bears’ coach, “and we’re growing.”
The freshman distance duo of Cat Shontz and Katie Locker earned wins for the Elizabethtown girls (5-1), as the former won the 3,200-meter run in 12:11.5, the latter won the 800-meter run in 2:29.5 and the 1,600-meter run in 5:30.8, and the pair teamed up to anchor the 4×800-meter relay team’s uncontested win at 12:24.1.
But the Barons (5-1) answered with short-track speed. Kiera Wells won the 100-meter dash (13.5), the 200-meter dash (27.2) and helped the Manheim Central 4×100-meter relay team win in 52.7.
“We only have, like, 15-18 girls every day,” Wells said. “We have a lot of skill and, I think, a lot of natural talent, and we’ve been working hard in practice.”
The senior also pushed teammate Billie Jo Bollinger in the 300-meter hurdles. Bollinger held her off to win the event a 47.2 while Wells took second at 48.0.
“It helps a lot to have her,” Wells said of Bollinger, who also won the 100-meter hurdles (15.1). “She’s a great athlete, and it helps me a lot to drop time when she’s pushing me to go faster.”
In the field, Manheim Central’s Laura Good won the long jump (15-1.25) and triple jump (32-4.75) while Sammi Maddox won the high jump, edging Bollinger and Carley Sheppard.
“They were as happy for her as she was in winning it,” White said. “That’s the kind of chemistry that gets you somewhere.”
The chemistry continued in the competition for the Barons. Gunnar Royer, joining the team for his senior season, pulled ahead of teammate Brock Hochtetler as the two closed in on the finish line of the 100-meter dash.
“We love to compete,” Royer said, “see who’s the fastest. We love to beat each other, and in the end, it just makes us all better.”