With fewer invitationals than in previous years due to the pandemic, area track and field teams will have to take advantage of those opportunities when they arise. Many Times Area individuals did just that this past weekend, turning in some outstanding performances.

Gettysburg traveled to Coatesville in District 1 to participate in the prestigious Coatesville Invitational. Fresh from Thursday’s record-setting day, Noah Sanders picked up right where he left off. The senior had run blistering times in the 100 (10.5 hand time) and 200 (21.9 hand time), breaking not only the Gettysburg school record in each event, but also the Adams County records. On Saturday, he ran 11.33 (FAT) in the 100, good enough for fourth place. Sanders came back in the 400 with a second place time of 49.14 (FAT), missing his own school record by one-hundredth of a second. David Williams, of Cumberland Valley, won the 400 in 48.60.

The Warrior distance crew also fared well. Junior Drew Cole ran a personal record 4:36.92 in the 1600 (7th), and followed that up with another PR of 2:05.44 in the 800 (8th). Brother Gavin Cole, a 9th grader ran in the freshman/sophomore 1600 race, and placed second with an impressive 4:49.27. In the 3200, senior Sam Douds set a huge personal record, placing 8th in 10:10.66.

For the Gettysburg girls, junior Anne Bair placed 7th in the 800, running 2:21.39, just four seconds off the school record. Freshman Winter Oaster, the slight and speedy cross country standout, placed second in the 3200 with a personal best 11:41.81, 15 seconds behind winner Ashley Gordon of Pennridge. Oaster’s time is the fastest 3200 meter time a girl has run in a Gettysburg uniform since Johanna Spangler set the school record (11:17.9) in 2008.

In all, the Warriors saw 10 personal best performances from nine athletes.

On Friday, Fairfield traveled to Mt. Carmel for the Breslin Invitational and came away with some very satisfying marks. Marcus Pruy blazed a 23.01 (FAT) in the 200 to place second, a half-second behind Braeden Wisloski of Southern Columbia. Pruy is second in the Times area in the 200, behind Gettysburg’s Sanders. Pruy also ran a leg on the Green Knights’ 4 x 400 relay to pace his team to a second place finish in 3:41.86, five seconds behind Danville.

Fairfield’s girls had many outstanding performances on the day. Honey Strosnider led the distance runners, placing 6th in the 800 (2:35.26) after having run a 5:45.51 in the 1600 (7th). Junior Emma Dennison fairly flew in the 300 hurdles to win the event in a personal best time of 49.93. In the pole vault, Aliyah Hillman got her senior season off right when she soared 10-feet-6-inches to place second, just six inches from the Fairfield school record. Annalise Bond from Selinsgrove jumped an impressive 11-6 to win the event.

Lastly, many area athletes competed at the Arctic Blast Invitational at Northern High School. As many as 19 schools usually participate in the local meet, but due to Covid, meet organizers did not want that many athletes in the stands and around the grounds. Some thinking outside the box prompted the Northern staff to host the field events on Saturday, and then host the track events on April 24. The creative solution enabled many area throwers and jumpers to compete in an invitational they might not have had the chance to attend.

Fairfield, Bermudian Springs, New Oxford, South Western, and Gettysburg were the area teams that participated. Aliyah Hillman got home from her stellar effort in the pole vault at Mt. Carmel, went to bed and got up to travel to Northern, where she jumped 10-6 for the second time in two days. This time, she was victorious, winning by virtue of less misses in the competition. Gabe Pecaitis had a personal best jump of 11-0 to place fourth for Gettysburg in the boys vault.

Katie Wivell high jumped 5-0 to win her event for Gettysburg, and South Western’s Dustin Edwards leapt 6-2 to claim the boys’ title.

In the horizontal jumps, freshman Allison Watts and Avery Benzel ruled the day for Bermudian Springs. The duo went one-three for Bermudian in the long jump, with Watts winning (15-9 ½) and Benzel third (15-3 ¾). Watts also won the triple jump (34-9) with senior Benzel second (32-5 ½). Justino Neikirk of Gettysburg placed second in the boys’ long jump with a personal best jump of 19-3 ½. Bermudian’s Ricky Pacana grabbed second in the triple with a jump of 40-9 ¼.

Charles Gaither was the standout in the throws. The South Western senior, not looking like he missed a year of competition, was second in the discus (139-5), and also second in the shot put (45-3). Northern’s Jon Barrett got the best of Gaither in both events, winning the discus with a monster throw of 160-0, and the shot with 45-4 ¼.

Shaely Stabler of New Oxford (101-11) and soph Sam Shaffer of Gettysburg (99-5) placed two-three in the girls’ javelin.

The Arctic Blast Invitational will continue with the track events in two weeks.

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