Dover was the last legitimate threat to end Gettysburg’s push for at least a share of a YAIAA-2 girls’ track and field title. The Warriors made sure to snuff out any hope before there was any to build on.
The Eagles put together a challenge in the 4x800 relay, but Rachel McKinney, Autumn Oaster, Kelty Oaster and Anne Bair ran to a 10:18.6 finish, shaving eight seconds off of their best time of the season for a win that wasted a strong performance by some of Dover’s best athletes.
Two events later, Lora Bertram got a jump start on a gold banner day with the first of three personal record-setting victories. A 12.6-second 100 meter dash provided another upset, that over Dover’s Riley Mulder (13.0), and set the tone for the Warriors’ 97-53 victory for at least a share of its first division title since 2013. Gettysburg (6-0) only needs to get past New Oxford (2-3) for an undefeated season and outright title.
“We’ve worked really hard all season, so it’s nice to see our hard work finally paying off,” said junior Kelty Oaster, one of the most veteran Warriors on the squad. “Everyone’s more motivated and there’s more people who want to win. It’s made a big difference.”
Gettysburg took at least two of three places in every single event but the discus. The Warriors won two of three relays.
“You win track championships with seconds and thirds,” Gettysburg co-head coach Jeff Bair said. “Zeya Pililis, Marrin Crist, Carly Eckhart, Karli Bortner, Lilly Natter, Alexis Luntz, Allyson Weishaar and others all came up huge today.
“Hopefully this motivates us to make track a little more important and we can keep adding to our numbers. The nice thing about track is that you have athletes coming together from other sports hoping to figure out where they can help score points. Along the way, they become friends.”
With the outcome certain, the Warriors opted not to compete in the 4x400. Giving up the last race to deliver the first punch in the 4x800 was worthwhile, coach Bair said.
“They chose to load that first relay and once we won it, the rest of the meet comes down to depth,” he said. “The times get slower and it comes down to toughness.”
There were plenty of contributions all around, but no one had a day quite like Bertram. After shaving half a second off her 100 dash, she also bested top Dover hurdler Frankie White in the 300 hurdles (49.3) and beat Mulder again in the 200 with a 27.2 second finish, both career bests.
The Warriors also set a top time in the 4x100 with Bertram running the second leg for the first time this season. Co-head coach Joe Kuhns made the adjustment, hoping to keep the baton in her hands as long as possible. Claire Stover moved to the opening leg. Karla Wivell was the third leg and Zeya Pililis brought it home for a season-best 54.2 second finish.
Bertram said she’d just been waiting for some nice weather to break out. The Warriors have been waiting as well, knowing what the sophomore is capable of. Because of Bertram’s commitments to soccer, she’s been unable to attend Saturday invitationals. She’ll get her first big meet experience of the year this Friday evening at the Millersville Cy Fritz Track and Field Open.
Kelty Oaster (1:02.6) and Sidney Shelton (1:03.0) had a tight finish in the 400 open, giving the Warrior coaches all they’d need to see in the event. Bair said Gettysburg has big plans for its 4x400 relay team at the Millersville, so he opted to rest his kids for the event.
Oaster has been eyeing the school record in the 800, but moved aside to let Anne Bair clock her new best time in the open with a 2:32.2 finish. Both have run their strongest 800s as legs of the relay. Bair said it’s the race they enjoyed the most.
“Knowing it’s the first race of the meet on such a big day, we were all super motivated to give it our all,” she said. “Her (Oaster’s) split would have been a PR (2:21.6) in the 800.”
Megan Yingling brought home the open 3200 for the Warriors with a time of 13:50.7. Katie Wivell matched her season best in the high jump with a 4-10 to lead a Gettysburg sweep. Sam Shafer won the javelin with a 90-5 and Maddie Yingling led a sweep in the pole vault with a 6-6.
“This means a lot, especially since we’re such a big team,” Anne Bair said. “It’s great to have all the girls be able to achieve something we’ve been working toward. Coming in such a team sport, it’s awesome.”
On paper, the Warriors should beat New Oxford on the road next week, but the majority of the Colonials’ losses have come with some of their best athletes away on an educational trip. The Warriors weren’t concerned about a setback.
“We have to keep the goal in mind of winning the division,” said Kelty Oaster. “We’ve come this far, we can’t lose the last meet.”
The Gettysburg boys led late in the afternoon, but a slew of Dover points came in late from the field, giving the Eagles a chance to win with a victory in the 4x400. They did so, with the relay finishing in 3:43.9.
Gettysburg’s 4x800 relay, comprised of Colin Arnold, Drew Cole, Auden Day and Dustin Fluke got the Warriors started on the right foot with a win in 9:08.5. Juan Neri had a season-best toss in the discus with a 133 foot, four-inch performance. Andrew Hirneisen continued a strong season with wins in the 800 (2:08.8) and the 1,600 (4:48.7). Coach Bair said he just needs to catch the right night for a big race, circling a 9 p.m. start at Millersville as a perfect opportunity.
Noah Sanders won the 100 (11.6), the 200 (23.1) and the 400 (50.6).
“Noah is a unique talent and he wants to win now,” Kuhns said. “We keep telling him it’s not about now. It’s about two to three weeks from now. A lot of our guys are on the verge of qualifying for districts, he’s a kid that could have a legit shot of making states.”
3200 relay: 1. Gettysburg (Rachel McKinney, Autumn Oaster, Kelty Oaster, Anne Bair) 10:18.6; 100 hurdles: 1. White (D) 15.6, 2. Danielle Gebler (G) 18.3, 3. Sarah Kiehl (G) 18.3; 100: 1. Lora Bertram (G) 12.6, 3. Zeya Pililis 13.3; 1600: 1. Hogan (D) 5:42.0, 2. Bair (G) 5:47.2, 3. Marrin Crist (G) 6:15.6; 400 relay: 1. Gettysburg (Bertram, Claire Stover, Karla Wivell, Pililis) 54.2; 400: 1. K. Oaster (G) 1:02.6, 2. Sidney Shelton (G) 1:03.0; 800: 1. Bair (G) 2:32.2, 3. McKinney (G) 2:46.9; 200: 1. Bertram (G) 27.2, 3. Pililis (G) 29.1; 3200: 1. Megan Yingling (G) 13:50.7, 2. Crist (G) 13:59.6; 1600: 1. Dover 4:46.6; Pole vault: 1. Maddie Yinging (G) 6-6, 2. Katie Ketterman (G) 6-6, 3. Katie Wivell (G) 6-6; High jump: 1. Kat. Wivell (G) 4-10, 2. Carly Eckhart (G) 4-8, 3. Kat. Wivell 4-6; Long jump: 1. White (D) 15-10, 2. Lilly Natter (G) 15-3, 3. Karli Bortner (G) 14-11.75; Triple jump: 1. White (D) 34-1, 2. Bortner (G) 32-5, 3. Natter (G) 31-9; Shot put: 1. Felston (D) 32-3.25, 2. Alexis Luntz (G) 27-9.25, 3. Stover (G) 25-7.75; Discus: 1. Felston (D) 90-5, 3. Kaya Vail (G) 77-0; Javelin: 1. Sam Shafer (G) 90-5, 2. Allyson Weishaar (G) 83-0.
3200 relay: 1. Gettysburg (Colin Arnold, Cole Drew, Auden Day, Dustin Fluke) 9:06.5; 110 hurdles: 1. Lacks (D) 16.8, 2. Michael Riggs (G) 17.2, 3. Cole Boudreau (G) 17.3; 100: 1. Michael Sanders (G) 11.6, 2. Jayden Palmer (G) 11.7; 1600: 1. Andrew Hirneisen (G) 4:48.7, 2. Dustin Fluke (G) 4:51.5; 400 relay: 1. Dover 46.0; 400: 1. Sanders (G) 50.6, 3. Palmer (G) 56.6; 800: 1. Hirneisen (G) 2:08.8, 2. Cole (G) 2:12.0, 3. Ethan Turner (G) 2:16.2; 200: 1. Sanders (G) 23.1, 3. Palmer (G) 24.9; 3200: 1. Rackely (D) 11:29.7, 2. Fluke (G) 11:45.0, 3.Sam Douds (G) 12.23.2; 1600: 1. Dover 3:43.9; Pole vault: 1. Renfrew (D) 9-6, 2. Collin Smith (G) 9-0; Long jump: 1. Johnson (D) 18-6.5, 2. Andrew Scherer (G) 17-3.25; High jump: 1. Johnson (D) 5-6, 3. Palmer (G) 5-2; Triple jump: 1. Lopez (D) 41-2.5, 2. Scherer (G) 36-6; Shot: 1. Jake (D) 41-7.5, 3. Juan Neri (G) 37-4; Discus: 1. Neri (G) 133-4, 3. Alvi (G) 111-7; Javelin: 1. Lacks (D) 124-4, 2. Smith (G) 120-0, 3. Jared Townsend (G) 117-0.