Even knowing the levity of the result, Kolt Byers couldn’t help himself from laughing as he remembered senior Payton Rohrbaugh’s first registered high jump in a track meet since his freshman year.
Rohrbaugh’s form was far from perfect. The bar bounced after he hit it on the way down from a 5-foot, 2-inch leap, yet somehow it managed to stay in place. It was all Rohrbaugh would need to maintain second place in the event against York Tech, creating a four-point swing in his team’s favor.
“It was such a lucky jump,” Byers said, barely able to contain his laughter. “I’m pretty sure at one point it came off the standards.”
Rohrbaugh shook his head, adding that Byers had given him advice throughout week.
“He basically told me not to snap so much, and try not to be so trash at it,” he said with a laugh. “I was clear on the first jump. Thank God, because I don’t think I was going to get 5-4.”
The light-hearted appreciation of the moment was all well and good. But it turned out, just about every placement mattered in the Eagles 79-71 victory over York Tech that sealed Bermudian’s third straight YAIAA-3 boys’ track and field title.
“Back to back to back, it’s just insane,” Byers said. “Being a part of this team that did it is crazy.”
For the last two seasons, the Eagles have been the outright favorite to win the division. After the graduation of their top two distance runners, Chad Long and Tony Petrosky, the outcome of Tuesday’s meet was anyone’s guess.
For two weeks, head coach Chris King studied the teams’ scorecards, figuring out where he might squeeze out a few extra points. His first move was to vacate the 4x800 relay at the start of the meet and the 4x400 relay at the end – their chances of victory were unlikely in the former and speculative at best in the latter.
“We scrapped it all along. I knew if we put our best out there in the 4x400 we could compete, but I couldn’t guarantee it because we hadn’t run it together all year.” King said before turning to the bigger picture. “It’s been the same two teams three years in a row. They outnumber us and can move some kids around. In this case it was a team effort. They’ve been waiting for this one all season.”
The vacated relays gave King the freedom to put senior sprinter Thomas Bross in the long jump and enter Rohrbaugh in the high jump. Both took second in their rarely practiced events.
“Going into this, I knew they hadn’t scored in the high jump all year,” King said. “We worked some guys in there and changed things around. We had to give up the 4x400, but we got it, thank God.”
The master stroke came with Byers. All season long, he had flexed into the pole vault to catch teams unawares in his newest event. With a lock for a sweep in that event against Tech, King instead moved him into the javelin, where it turns out he’s a true competitor as well.
On his third throw of the afternoon, Byers unleashed a 147-foot, 2-inch chuck that beat York Tech’s Hunter Karpulk (144-8), as well as the best output from all but three other throwers in the Times Area. Berm’s Ryan Hart’s 139-3 took third in the event.
“I threw it last year at this meet, too,” Byers said. “I’ve been a quarterback since I was younger, so my arm has always been my thing. I was still surprised with my numbers today.”
As usual, Byers starred in the high jump (6-4), the long jump (20-6) and the triple jump (42-2.5), where he took first in each. Rohrbaugh was nearly as effective, winning the 100 hurdles (15.1) and 300 hurdles (39.5), and contributing to a must-have 4x100 relay victory.
Regular 4x100 teammates Thomas Bross and Ryan Hart contributed to that, and Cameron Brenneman played his part in the 45.2 second finish, filling in for Byers.
Hart pulled out a victory with a PR in the 400 (52.4). Bross couldn’t come up with a solo win against York Tech superstar Jaiere Alford, who ran a 11.0 in the 100 and 22.5 in the 200. That didn’t stop Bross from having his finest meet of the season, finishing in 11.2 seconds and 22.9 seconds, respectively, for career bests.
Winning a title without last year’s MVP Ryan Curfman was bittersweet for Bross.
“Ryan was my best friend, so winning those two years was awesome,” he said. “This year was iffy, but we won it, so that’s impressive. We shocked a lot of people.”
One of the day’s greatest performances came from the rock-solid Ryan Lauver, who threw for a season-best in the shot put (47-1.5) to hold off John Casper (45-10). Berm’s Joe Cooper swooped in for third (44-6.5). At the end of the afternoon, Lauver also popped a 135-2 in the discus to secure second place. Casper picked up the win, York Tech’s only first in the field with a 153-5 toss, but Lauver got the last laugh as his points pushed the Eagles over 75 for the afternoon.
“I knew what was on the line for today and I knew I had to pop one out for my team,” he said. “I’ve been working on my footwork for discus, planting my foot a couple inches in front of the center part of the circle, really spin around with the arms up, and snap through to finish. For shot, I’m trying to keep my hips closed so I can pull it around better, more toward center-left so I can get a better mark.”
The Bermudian Springs girls sealed off a stellar season with a 123-27 victory. Their only loss came to a Delone Catholic squad gearing up for a run to repeat as District 3 Class 2A champions.
Senior Kayla Pyles had a career day victories in the 100 dash (13.4), the 300 hurdles (48.6) and the 100 hurdles (15.5). The latter broke her own school record as well as that held by Kathy Poist since 1989. The previous mark was 15.6 seconds.
Jennifer Garcia-Reyes won the discus with a new PR (105-10), as well as the shot put (30-1). Davina Cunningham had her best 200 of the season, knocking off teammate Rachel Spangler with a 27.6 second finish. Spangler won the high jump (4-8) and the long jump (15-11).
3200 relay: 1. Bermudian Springs (Rebecca Durbin, Kaitlyn Bergmann, Mia Hensil, Margaret Keough) 15:51; 100 hurdleS: 1. Kayla Pyles (BS) 15.5, 3. Lillian LaBure 18.9; 100: 1. Pyles (BS) 13.4, 2. Madison Harbaugh (BS) 14.0; 1600: 1. Kaitlyn McCollum (BS) 6:04, 2. Durbin (BS) 6:05.6; 400 relay: 1. York Tech 54.6; 400: 1. Lillian Peters (BS) 1:04.0; 2. Leah Bealmear (BS) 1:07; 300 hurdles: 1. Pyles (BS) 48.6; 2. LaBure (BS) 50.5; 800: 1. Henzel (BS) 2:50.0, 2. Bergmann (BS) 2:51.8; 200: 1. Davina Cunningham (BS) 27.6, 2. Rachel Spangler (BS) 27.8; 3200: 1. Durbin (BS) 13:45, 2. McCollum (BS) 13:55; 1600 relay: 1. Bermudian Springs (no time reported); Shot put: 1. Jennifer Garcia-Reyes (BS) 30-1, 2. Terisha Selby (BS) 27-5; 3. Campbell Grims (BS) 26-10; Javelin: 1. Morris (YT) 94-8; 2. Selby (BS) 89-0, 3. Grimes (BS) 87-8; Discus; 1. Garcia-Reyes (BS) 105-10, 2. Jewel Tallman (BS) 78-1, 3. Abbigail Robinson (BS) 76-0; High jump: 1. Spangler (BS) 4-8, 2. Hannah Wheeler (BS) 4-6; Long jump: 1. Spangler (BS) 15-11, Sammie Stomes (BS) 14-6; Triple jump: 1. Gordon (YT) 39-9, 2. Maddie Harbaugh (BS) 30-7.75; 3. Avery Benzel (BS) 29-6.25; Pole vault: 1. Melania Shoop (BS) 8-10, 2. Johanna Pitner (BS) 8-0, 3. Skyler West (BS) 8-0.
3200 relay: 1. York Tech 11:55; 110 hurdles: 1. Payton Rohrbaugh (BS)S 15.1, 3. Dameon Nelson (BS) 17.7; 100: 1. Alford (YT) 11.0, 2. Thomas Bross (BS) 11.2, 3. Ryan Hart (BS) 11.4; 1600: 1. Kircutto (YT) 4:56; 400 relay: 1. Bermudian Springs (Hart, Rohrbaugh, Cameron Brenneman, Bross) 45.2; 400: 1. Hart (BS) 52.4; 300 hurdles: 1. Rohrbaugh (BS) 39.5, 3. Nelson (BS) 44.9; 800: 1. Cwyklinski (YT) 2:05.8; 200: 1. Alford (YT) 22.5, 2. Bross (BS) 22.9, 3. Brenneman (BS) 24.9; 3200: 1. Kizzuto (YT) 11:03, 3. Hector Pascual (BS) 11:53; 1600 relay: 1. York Tech (no time reported); Shot put: 1. Ryan Lauver (BS) 45-1.5, 3. Joe Cooper (BS) 44-6.5; Javelin: 1. Byers (BS) 147-2, 3. Hart (BS) 139-3; Discus: 153-5, Lauver (BS) 135-2, 3. Cooper (BS) 125-4; High jump: 1. Byers (BS) 6-4, 2. Rohrbaugh (BS) 5-2; Long jump: 1. Byers (BS) 20-6, 2. Bross (BS) 19-9, 3. Gage Staub (BS) 18-8.5; Triple jump: 1. Byers (BS) 42-2.5, 3. Staub (BS) 37-10.5; Pole vault: 1. Ethan Beachy (BS) 9-6, 2. Korey Smith (BS) 9-6, 3. Kobe Althoff (BS) 9-6.