In a crowded field of competitors, the Elizabethtown Area High School track and field team was presented with a tough task at the 2019 Lancaster-Lebanon League Track and Field Championships, which took place at Hempfield on Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11. Somehow, in spite of the degree of difficulty and a few moments of wacky weather, the Bears made it through unscathed, exiting the weekend with seven district qualifiers.
Backed by 12 medalists, the Lady Bears were able to finish third in the team standings with 70 points overall, an impressive feat considering that last year’s girls team took seventh and came into the event jockeying with several other talented programs. Meanwhile, the boys team was 15th overall with 16.5 points, up from 17th in 2018. In all, Elizabethtown ended up with 19 top-10 finishes.
All three Bears victories involved junior Katie Locker in some form. The reigning league champion in both the girls 800-meter and 1,600-meter runs, she defended her title by winning the former in 2:15.46 and the latter in a meet-record time of 4:59.58, the first female athlete to break the five-minute mark. Locker also took part in the winning girls 4×800-meter relay team (9:31.08) with senior Cat Shontz, sophomore Madeline Quinn and freshman Sierra Kapcsos.
Shontz and Quinn teamed up to finish second (10:53.00) and third (10:58.30) in the girls 3,200-meter run, respectively; they and winner Kate Dickow of Warwick (meet-record 10:37.90) were the only runners to break 11 minutes during the race. The two weren’t far behind Locker in the 1,600-meter run, with Shontz placing fifth (5:11.46) and Quinn taking sixth (5:14.74).
Junior Megan Rider brought home a pair of medals for the Lady Bears as well, the only girls athlete to do so in addition to Locker, Shontz and Quinn. She finished fourth in the long jump (16 feet, 10.5 inches) and seventh in the triple jump (33-11), also tying for 15th in the high jump.
Junior Alicia Underkoffler and sophomore Carly Sedun just barely missed out on two medals themselves. Underkoffler was able to finish fifth in the girls 300-meter hurdles (47.16) but ended up in ninth for the high hurdles (17.11), just one spot away from the medal stand. She had to race the latter in a driving downpour on Friday.
Sedun took fourth in the girls discus (108-1), getting beaten out for an eighth-place medal in the shot put (33-11.25) by a quarter of an inch. She ended up in ninth. Sophomore Olivia Anson rounded out the girls medal results by finishing sixth in the javelin (111-10).
The majority of team points for the Elizabethtown boys came from junior Derek Heisey, who edged out numerous other runners for a second-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles (39.74). He also placed fourth in the high jump (6-0) and, like Underkoffler, had to run the high hurdles during a rainstorm, barely ending up in ninth (15.95) and missing out on a medal by .01 seconds.
Senior Isaac Weidler got the only other medal for the boys, finishing in a four-way tie for sixth (5-6) in the high jump. He also tied for 10th in the triple jump (38-6.25).
The remaining Elizabethtown athletes who placed consisted of Kapcsos (11th in the girls 800-meter run), junior Stevie Dixon (13th in the boys discus), senior Collin Hudak (14th in the boys long jump), junior Malayna Van Winkle (tied for 15th in the girls pole vault, 20th in the 400-meter dash), senior Nat McCloud (17th in the boys 3,200-meter run), freshman Ryan Ruth (18th in the boys 200-meter dash, 27th in the 100-meter dash), senior Regan Thomason (18th in the boys javelin), sophomore Riley Drager (18th in the boys 400-meter dash), junior Adam Evans (25th in the boys 800-meter run), freshman Samantha Ippolito (23rd in the girls 200-meter dash), freshman Ruth Wright (25th in the girls 100-meter dash) and freshman Nathan Johnson (27th in the boys 1,600-meter run). Both the boys 4×100-meter relay and 4×800-meter relay teams took 11th, while the 4×400-meter relay team was 14th. The girls 4×400-meter relay team finished 16th.
Warwick came away with a sweep for both team championships; the girls dominated with 133 points (55 ahead of second-place Conestoga Valley), while the boys had 82.5 points.
Six Elizabethtown individuals and one relay team have qualified for the District 3 Track and Field Championships, which are scheduled to take place at Shippensburg University on Friday, May 17, and Saturday, May 18. They are Heisey (boys high jump, high hurdles and 300-meter hurdles), Locker (girls 800-meter and 1,600-meter runs), Shontz (girls 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter runs), Quinn (girls 3,200-meter run), Rider (girls long jump), Sedun (girls discus) and Underkoffler (girls 300-meter hurdles), plus the girls 4×800-meter relay team (Locker, Shontz, Quinn and Kapcsos).