Repeating as an Adams County champ has never been more difficult than it was Friday. A misting rain proved to be a great neutralizer for even the strongest candidates in individual events. Only 7 of 16 returning champs held their seed.
The only constant, it seems, is that the Delone Catholic girls will forever remain queens of the Adams County Track & Field Classic. Though the Squirettes were not as strong on the track as they’ve been in the past, their depth and dominance in the field led to a convincing 171.5 points for a fourth-straight team title. The next closest opponents, Gettysburg (108.5) and Fairfield (108.0), were left in their shadow.
Delone’s 4x100 relay, run by Emily McCann, Brooke Lawyer, Danielle Malesky and Julianna Malesky, gave Delone its only gold on the track. In the field the Squirettes shined, however. Danielle Malesky brought home the pole vault (8-7), Bailey Wagaman won the high jump (5-0), Lauren Trummer repeated as triple jump champ (32-7.5), Becca Dolce did the same in the shot put (33-10.75) as did Maddie Sieg in the javelin (122-4).
“I bet we had 20 girls that contributed with at least one point tonight,” Delone Catholic coach Dusty Lehr said, adding that his team is senior-heavy in the field. “Most kids have other primary sports, but I preach that if you come out for the track team, you can pick an event and chip away to get better at it. You don’t have to be a superstar to help. They’re all contributors.”
For the first time since 2017, a new boys’ team champ was crowned. New Oxford’s Brennan Romanoff (138-4) pulled out a first in the javelin and Jarred Rolle (133-4) followed with a third behind Bermudian Springs’ Ryan Hart (133-7) to edge the Eagles, 142-138 in the team event.
New Oxford’s distance crew dealt some damage. Owen Kreeger won the 800 (2:07.36), with Tayshawn and Dawaun Golden following within half a second. The three of them teamed up with Noah Strausbaugh to break their own meet record in the 4x800 relay, lowering the time to 8:24.98. The 4x100 relay (Connor Becker, Anthony Witherow, Josh Little, Andrew Sanford) also brought home a gold. Triple jumper Abdul Janneh got one with a 43-6.5 jump as well.
With the temperature falling as quickly as the raindrops by meet’s end, the Colonials had already gathered onto the bus when they learned of their fortune.
“They were pretty excited when (Gettysburg athletic director) Casey Thurston came on the bus with the cup,” New Oxford coach Jason Warner said. “Once they moved the meet away from the weekend at Shippensburg, we told the guys we were going to try to stomp the yard, so to speak. When the weather turned out the way it was, we pulled a couple guys out of events, but we gave a pretty good effort.”
NEW DATE, NEW CHALLENGES
The past three years, the Adams County Invitational fell on the Friday before the Shippensburg Invitational, leading some coaches to save their athletes’ best efforts for the larger challenge on Saturday.
The earlier date allowed teams like New Oxford and Fairfield to let their athletes run wild, but also came with the risk of a cooler climate. Biglerville opted not to participate to avoid showers and high-40 degree temperatures.
Fairfield’s Milly Heinbaugh took advantage of it all to become the new girls’ 100 and 200-meter champ, a title previously reserved for Biglerville’s Faith Redding. Heinbaugh dashed to gold in 12.9 seconds in the shorter of the two, and finished in 27.02 in the latter. She capped the afternoon as Adams County’s most successful solo athlete on the track with a gold in the long jump (15-5).
“It was really nice to compete, except for the weather,” Heinbaugh said. “I’m always a little intimidated to see Brooke (Lawyer) and Faith. I knew everyone else was cold, so I’d just run my hardest.”
Heinbaugh enjoyed working with former coach Phomma Phahnhty the previous two seasons, but said Marcia Roan’s return to the job has been a joy as well.
“She brings everyone together,” Heinbaugh said. “There’s a lot of great chemistry between everyone. She brings us a lot of confidence, and gives us beads for taking first or getting a PR. She makes sure everyone in the school knows how well we’re doing.”
Fairfield’s Zoe Logue served up an upset, topping former 110 hurdles champ Kayla Pyles of Bermudian Springs, finishing in 16.57 seconds to Pyles’ 16.85.
“I was expecting a good race and it was a good race,” Logue said. “I’ve been getting lower on the hurdles, snapping my leg down and getting faster in between.”
Zoe is the last of a Logue dynasty that provided Fairfield with PIAA golf and soccer championships. She misses her sister, Moriah, who graduated last year, but said having an opportunity to carve her own legacy is giving her confidence.
“I was a little intimidated because Moriah was so good at hurdles,” she said. “This year’s been relaxing.”
A year ago, Littlestown’s Derek Herr set meet records in the 110 hurdles and the 300 hurdles. This year he defended his 110 hurdle title with a narrow victory over Bermudian’s Peyton Rohrbaugh finishing .17 seconds ahead of him with a 15.40. He opted out of the 300 hurdles entirely so he could run the 100 dash. He took that title, too, finishing in 11.71 seconds. That opened the door for Rohrbaugh, who nearly touched his own school record in the 300 hurdles with an impressive 39.95 second race. He beat the field by nearly five seconds.
The most interesting turn came from Bermudian’s Kolt Byers, who could not defend his high jump title, dropping it in a tie on misses to Littlestown’s Dan Gazmen (5-10). He also just missed back-to-back triple jump titles, falling to New Oxford’s Abdul Janneh (43-6.5).
Byers brought home two golds, anyway. The first came when he topped Janneh on his last long jump attempt (20-4.5). The second came in his newest event, the pole vault. His 11-7 finish set a new PR and took the day.
The junior took on the event at the behest of assistant coach Jamie Lehr, who has wanted Byers in the pole vault since freshman year.
“A couple of college coaches have asked about decathlons, so that sold me,” he said. “I’m scared of… well, not too great with heights. Going 10 feet in the air upside down sort of gets to me.”
Byers was frustrated, but not too concerned after dropping the high jump, his bread and butter. He jumped 6-6 this winter to take second at the PTFCA Indoor State Championships. He won with the same height as a sophomore.
“I want to try to beat our pole vault school record at 14-7. It’s a long shot, but we’ll see what happens,” he said. “I also want to break the school record for long and triple, and high jump (6-10).”
It would be hard to be a fan of Gettysburg athletics and not know that freshman Anne Bair was a powerhouse in the making on the track. After outstanding cross country and basketball seasons, a pair of county titles in the 1600 (5:48.47) and the 3200 (12:36.77) came as no surprise.
The rise of Gettysburg sophomore Noah Sanders was a little more off the radar.
Sanders started his afternoon by shocking former YAIAA champ Noah Strausbaugh in the 400, finishing with a time of 51.06 that would have been good enough for conference gold last May. The Warrior followed up with a win in the 200, nipping Berm’s Rohrbaugh by .01 seconds with a 23.73 second race.
“I’m very happy. I’ve been training all winter for this and I’m taking it very seriously,” Sanders said, adding that he’s dropped more than two seconds since last season. “I’ve been doing a lot of heavy leg training to build endurance. My coaches have been pushing us a lot this season. In indoor track, we had a lot of tough practices.”
Gettysburg junior Andrew Hirneisen also took first in the 1600 (4:42.73) and the 3200 (10:19.49).
NEW MEET RECORDS
Strong performances over three years and a bad day of weather limited new marks to two performances.
The first belonged to the Colonial 4x800 relay. The same group returned to shrink nearly eight seconds off of last year’s time for a new record of 8:24.98. It was the first time the quartet assembled since the district meet last year. At the YAIAA championships last season, they threatened the New Oxford school record (8:07.1), held since 1983, with a 8:13.02 race.
Not one of four - Strausbaugh, Kreeger and the Golden twins - are seniors.
The Colonials will have to get back to their end-of-season mark from a year ago in the next week or so to qualify for the Penn Relays.
“We only have a couple more chances for that,” Kreeger said. “There will be a bunch of good teams there, but we haven’t had a chance to pace off anyone except ourselves so far. It’ll be nice to see where we stand when we have someone to run with.”
In the girls’ high jump, Delone’s Bailey Wagaman matched the meet record set by Juliana Malesky from 2017, nailing a 5-0 jump. Both Malesky and Wagaman hit 5-2 last year. Malesky’s 5-3.25 is the school record. That also came in 2017.
“I was super excited,” she said. “It was my goal to get first today. Julianna and I get each other up. We both want to win, but we don’t care who gets first as long as it’s someone on our team.”
Gettysburg sophomore Lora Bertram became the second hurdler to slip ahead of Berm’s Pyles, doing so with a strong finish in the 300 hurdles to clock a time of 49.88. It’s her fastest FAT time, but she’s run just a bit faster on the hand clock.
“I wasn’t really focused on her,” Bertram said. “I was just trying to focus and improve and get a PR, especially with the conditions out here today. My favorite part is coming down to the last 100. It’s been a really fun season so far.”
To call Janneh’s victory over Byers in the triple jump might be a stretch. The Colonial’s PR is slightly better than that of the Eagle. Last year Byers won the Adams County meet, but Janneh topped him for fourth at the YAIAA championships.
“Since middle school it’s been a rivalry,” Janneh said. “We always competed against each other. It’s nice to beat someone you’ve been going against for so long.”
See Page B4 for results.