Gettysburg track and field coach Jeff Bair isn’t one to show signs of nerves.
The even-keeled veteran has coached countless big meets as well as big games for both the Warriors’ boys’ and girls’ basketball programs.
So when he let out an audible sigh just minutes before the final event of Tuesday’s home meet with Susquehannock, you knew things were tense.
Little did Bair know what was come, as the Warriors girls’ 4x400-meter relay team came from behind to top Susky by a matter of inches to win the event and tie the score at 75-75, giving the hosts the meet victory via tiebreaker, 11 event wins to seven.
The victory puts Gettysburg (4-0) in sole possession of first place in Y-2 and in control of its own destiny for a division title.
“It’s been about 72 hours worth,” Bair said of how long he’d been wound up for the meet. “We looked at this meet so many different ways on paper. They had such strong depth and we were just trying to find out how we could chip at it without giving it all away.”
The host Warriors got off to a strong start to the meet on the track, taking the 3200 relay and then the 100-meter dash as Alivia Colgan just nipped Susquehannock’s Sabreena Fahringer, running a 12.4 compared to Fahringer’s 12.6.
“It was really good. It was very close race,” Colgan said of the momentum from the early win. “It was exhilarating, and it felt very good to win that. It gave me a boost confidence.”
The Warriors dominated the track events, taking wins in eight of the 11 races, but the Susky (5-1) depth kept the visitors in it.
Gettysburg’ Winter Oaster turned in a hat trick of wins in the distance runs, including a crucial victory in the 1600 that allowed the Warriors to go into the final event with a chance of victory.
“I said to Winter after the race, after 4x400, ‘you allowed that to happen,’” Bair said of Oaster’s big performance. “She had to do that so that we could have the opportunity to do everything else.”
Bair’s daughter Anne, who was recently named first-team all-state in basketball, also came up with a big performance for the Warriors. Not only did the junior run the second leg in the deciding relay, she also took second in the 800 behind Oaster and won the triple jump, an event she had never attempted before Tuesday and only learned how to do on Monday afternoon.
“It was crazy,” Anne said of curveball. “I think basketball-wise I just have that jumping ability. They have a great triple jumper. I’m just super competitive and I think (Ryleigh Marks) pushed me today.”
Samantha Shaffer also had a big day for Gettysburg, grabbing key victories in both the discus and the javelin.
Jeff Bair said he expected the meet could well come down to the final event and because of that, held out leadoff runner Megan Hurst and third-leg runner Alison Harvey from any previous events.
By the time Harvey took the baton for the third leg, the Warriors and Susky were just about neck and neck. They remained that way throughout the leg and Colgan received the pass, she knew what she needed to do.
“I was just taking deep breaths and thinking ‘this is the last race, you’ve got to put everything you’ve got into it and just run,’” she said.
The winning time of 4:06.8 was just five-tenths off the school’s record and good enough for fifth in the district this year.
“I think a big part of it is that we’re so young,” Jeff Bair said of managing nerves while keeping high expectations. “That last relay was a junior and three sophomores, two of whom had never done track before. So we’re gaining experience. We’re just hoping we have nice weather these next couple of weeks and we can continue to improve, because we have some great possibilities for districts and just want to keep getting better.”
On the boys’ side, Gettysburg moved to 4-0 and remained atop the Y-2 standings, downing Susquehannock (2-4), 96-54.
“The best part is that we’re getting better,” Jeff Bair said of his boys’ team. “Our high jumpers are getting better. Collin Smith in triple jump is getting better. Max Gourley is getting better. Again, we have a lot of new people and then our mainstays like Drew Cole, Sam Douds and Noah Sanders are showing up. Gunner Wilson is turning into a beast, and all those pieces together provide us the opportunity to be in the situation we’re in.”
Sanders, who’s already set three school records this year, swept the sprints and anchored the winning 4x400 relay. Smith won both the long and triple jumps, and Cole won the 800 in addition to anchoring the winning 4x800 relay.
The Warriors will return to action on Friday when they head to the Dallastown Invitational.
Gettysburg boys 96, Susquehannock 54
Gettysburg girls 75, Susquehannock 75
(Gettysburg wins via tiebreaker)
3200 relay-1. Gettysburg (Gunner Wilson, Auden Day, Sam Douds, Drew Cole); 110 hurdles-1. Immel (S) 16.1, 2. Cole Boudrea (G) 17.2, 3. Joe Egloff (G) 17.9; 100-1. Noah Sanders (G) 11.0, 3. Trent Ramirez-Keller (G) 11.8; 1600-1. O’Brien (S) 4:42; 2. Cole (G) 4:49; 400 relay-1. Gettysburg (Ramirez, Jaden Johnson, Wagner, Andrew Gastley); 400-1. Sanders 52.0, 2. Wagner (G) 57.3; 300 hurdles-1. Immel (S) 44.6, 2. Boudreau (G) 44.7; 800-1. Cole (G) 2:09.0, 2. Wilson (G) 2:10.5; 200-1. Sanders (G) 21.7, 3. Ramirez-Keller (G) 24.5; 3200: 1. O’Brien (S) 10:54.1, 2. Douds (G) 11:03.0; 1600 relay-1. Gettysburg (Wagner, Wilson, Cole, Sanders) 3:37.9; Pole vault-1. Gabe Pecaitis (G) 11-0; 3. Collin Smith (G) 9-6; Long jump-1. Smith (G) 18-2.25; 3. Justino Neikirk (G) 17-8.5; High jump-1. Carter (S) 6-2, 2. Smith (G) 5-6; Triple jump-1. Smith (G) 38-4.25, 2. Wagner (G) 36-4.25, 3. Neikirk (G) 35-11.75; Shot put-1. Snedgar (S) 41-7.25 2, 2. Hunter Williams (G) 41-6.25 ; Discus-1.Williams (G) 123-5; Javelin-1. Max Gourley (G) 132-3, 2. Williams (G) 120-7.
3200 relay-1. Gettysburg (Rachel McKinney, Rebekah Reaver, Megan Hurst, Winter Oaster) 12:45.9; 110 hurdles-1. Marks (S) 15.5, 3. Danielle Gebler (G) 17.7; 100-1. Alivia Colgan (G) 12.4, 3. Alison Harvey (G) 12.8; 1600-1. Oaster (G) 5:39.2, 3. Gabriella Sainato (G) 6:41.5; 400 relay: 1. Susquehannock 51.2; 400-1. Derkosh (S) 58.8, 3. Anne Bair (G) 1:01.9; 300 hurdles-1. Colgan (G) 47.9; 800-1. Oaster (G) 2:32.6, 2. Bair (G) 2:32.9; 200-1. Colgan (G) 26.2; 3200-1. Oaster (G) 12:34.4, 3. Marrin Crist (G) 13:47.9; 1600 relay- 1. Gettysburg (Hurst, Bair, Harvey, Colgan) 4:06.8; Pole vault-1. Andrews (S) 7-0; 2. Katie Wivell (G) 7-0; 3. Karli Bortner (G) 6-6; Long jump-1. Bitner (S) 15-4.5, 3. Gebler (G) 14-3; High jump-1. Andrews (S) 5-1, 2. Wivell (G) 4-10; Triple jump-1. Bair (G) 34-6.25; Shot put-1. HammonD (S) 31-11.75, 2. Natalie Kloster (G) 27-3.5M 3, 3. London Mincey (G) 27-0.5; Discus-1. Samantha Shaffer (G) 100-6; Javelin-1. Shaffer (G) 97-0.