There were plenty of ups and downs for Elizabethtown Area High School during the 2019 spring sports season. A couple of Bears teams struggled, while a few were consistently productive in the Lancaster-Lebanon League. In total, three Elizabethtown teams made the league playoffs, with two qualifying for districts as well. Another team also saw several of its athletes rank highly in states. To honor all of these achievements, the Elizabethtown Advocate is recognizing some of the best Bears athletes for its seasonal sports awards.
Outstanding Girls Athlete: Katie Locker, track and field
It was another excellent year for Locker, who led the Lady Bears with 15 wins (12 individually) in the regular season, tying with junior Megan Rider in points with 78. She broke the league meet record in the 1,600-meter run en route to a first-place finish. Locker also won the 800-meter run and was apart of the winning 4×800-meter relay team as well, putting her league gold total at 5 for her career. At districts, she took third in the 800 and sixth in the 1,600 while also leading the 4×800 relay team to another victory. She would earn her third and fourth career medals at states by finishing fifth in the 800-meter run (breaking her own program record) and anchoring the 4×800-relay team to fourth.
Honorable mentions: Cyrose Conteh, girls lacrosse; Kristin Geesey, softball; Alyssa Hamilton, softball; Cat Shontz, track and field; Kate Weissend, girls lacrosse
Outstanding Boys Athlete: Derek Heisey, track and field
Heisey was a machine at times during the regular season for the Bears. He led the program with 17 wins (all but two individually) and 95 total points, dominating nearly every hurdling event in addition to the high jump. At leagues, Heisey captured second in the 300-meter hurdles and fourth in the high jump, going on to pick up his first career district medal by taking sixth in the former, qualifying him for states for the first time as well. There, he placed ninth overall, setting a new program record in the process.
Honorable mentions: Nacho Bartolome, boys tennis; Duncan Keller, boys lacrosse; Ethan Lown, boys tennis; Jacques Mortha, boys volleyball; Nate Seeger, boys volleyball
Outstanding Girls Senior: Cyrose Conteh, girls lacrosse
Conteh was a dependable contributor on offense for the Lady Bears in 2018, finishing with 40 goals and 5 assists. However, she took it to another level this season, exploding for a team-high 73 goals (sixth among all L-L League players) in addition to 10 assists. Her 11-goal outing against Cedar Crest was the highest single-game total of any L-L player in 2019; she passed 100 career goals that night as well. She was also 10th in the league with 83 points, enough to put her on the second team at midfielder for All-Stars.
Honorable mentions: Jaide Epler, girls lacrosse; Marena Lonardi, girls lacrosse; Sadie Seaman, softball; Cat Shontz, track and field; Sami Shutt, girls lacrosse
Outstanding Boys Senior: Nick Chapman, boys volleyball
As the only senior starter for Elizabethtown, Chapman did a little bit of everything this year, all while playing through knee and ankle injuries. He was second on the team with 127 kills and 16 service aces (tying with juniors Casey Lyons and Jake Sevcik in the latter) and fourth with 79 digs. His efforts earned him a second-team All-Star nod at outside hitter in Section Two and aided in the first league playoff berth for the Bears since 2014.
Honorable mentions: Cole Livingston, baseball; Matt Pottgeiser, boys lacrosse; Evan Schneider, boys tennis; Isaac Weidler, track and field; Kyle Welch, baseball
Outstanding Girls Underclassman: Kristin Geesey, softball
Talk about a lethal combination: a pitcher who is also a dangerous hitter. Geesey’s acumen on the mound was known coming into 2019 (she pitched all but two games her freshman season), and she was mostly solid this time around too, finishing with 73 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.25. But she came alive at the plate as a sophomore, leading the team with 42 hits, 34 RBIs and an impressive batting average of 0.525. Geesey got her second straight first-team All-Star honor in Section Two, and most importantly, threw back-to-back shutouts in the L-L playoffs to carry the Lady Bears to their first league championship game since 2010.
Honorable mentions: Olivia Anson, track and field; Megan Gray, softball; Madeline Quinn, track and field; Carly Sedun, track and field; Jessie Zimmerman, softball
Outstanding Boys Underclassman: Trent McBride, boys tennis
It’s a lot to ask a freshman to step into the starting lineup from the get-go, but McBride met the challenge head-on. He finished the year with a team-high 16 wins in singles with just four losses overall; three of those came against players who went on to win league flight tournament titles. McBride made it to the semifinals in Flight 3 singles and additionally teamed up with junior Ethan Lown to qualify for districts in doubles.
Honorable mentions: Sam Azzalina, boys lacrosse; Jake Black, baseball; Cam Poulos, boys lacrosse; Sawyer Smith, boys lacrosse; Rudy Woitas, boys volleyball
Girls Team of the Year: softball
Expectations were high for the Lady Bears entering the season, given that they were returning seven starters from last year’s team. They ended up matching last year’s win total of 12 instead, though six of their eight regular-season losses came against five district playoff teams (Lampeter-Strasburg, Wilson, Manheim Township, Warwick and Spring Grove), and the other two were to teams that finished one spot of their respective playoffs (Solanco and Conestoga Valley).
However, Elizabethtown turned it on during league playoffs, knocking off undefeated Donegal and Section One champ Warwick to advance to the title game, where the Lady Bears fell to L-S. While Donegal exacted revenge in the first round of districts (the fourth straight appearance for Elizabethtown), next year’s team will again return seven starters, so the Lady Bears may be in the mix once again.
Team runner-up: girls track and field
Boys Team of the Year: boys tennis
Coach of the Year: Brenda McBride, boys tennis
Two years ago, the Elizabethtown boys tennis team was trapped near the bottom of both the L-L League and District 3. After some marked improvement in 2018, the Bears were expected to take a step forward this season under Coach McBride in her second campaign at the helm. But not many expected a section title and a district playoff berth.
That’s exactly what the Bears did, finishing the regular season with a 12-1 record and winning their first Section Two championship in two decades during a wild tiebreaker match. They went on to get a victory during the first round of district playoffs as well before falling to eventual champion Hershey. Coach McBride deserves a ton of credit for taking a roster made up of mostly inexperienced players and turning it into a contender.
Team runner-up: boys volleyball
Coaching honorable mentions: Cheyenne Benson, girls lacrosse; Lamar Fahnestock, boys volleyball; Derrick McDonald, track and field; Gary Wylde, softball