Cocalico track splits with Spartans on Senior Night

By on May 3, 2017
Cocalico’s Hannah Palm (center) clears the final hurdle on her way to winning the high hurdles in a time of 16.9 Monday vs. Garden Spot. Photo by Preston Whitcraft

Cocalico’s Hannah Palm (center) clears the final hurdle on her way to winning the high hurdles in a time of 16.9 Monday vs. Garden Spot. Photo by Preston Whitcraft

The athletes fought the flag-straightening wind as the Cocalico boys and the Garden Spot girls captured track and field wins Monday afternoon on senior recognition day in Denver.

In the boys competition the Eagles (4-2 league) outdistanced the Spartans (0-6) 114-36 while the Garden Spot girls (2-4) had to win the final event (4 x 400 relay) to outlast Cocalico (0-6) 79-71.

Girls Meet

“Last year, we graduated maybe the most talented senior class we’ve ever had on the girls side,” noted long term head coach Ron Derr. “Emily Stauffer, Stephanie Wahl, Megan Gingrich and Brooke Meckley have almost half of our record board. There have not been a lot of meets where we could go toe-to-toe this year. It came down to the last run. That was our best time of the year. Unfortunately, I think it was Garden Spot’s as well.”

The Lady Eagles had a slim lead on the team scoreboard through the first 12 events, led by senior double winners Hannah Palm (100 and 300 hurdles) and Nadia Stauffer (1600 and 3200).

Other Cocalico winners included senior Julia Sensenig (400) and juniors Ashley Derr (800), Mackenzie Hainley (javelin) and Katharine Carasco (discus).

“Hannah Palm and Julia Sensenig had personal records (PR’s) in the 400,” added Derr. “I think Nadia Stauffer had a double PR in both the mile and the two mile, which is really astounding, especially where you’re hitting the wind.”

“These senior girls have been good leaders and worked hard,” explained Derr. “They were very supportive of the younger girls, in what has been a transitional year.”

The difference on this day may have come down to the three relay events, which were swept by Garden Spot.

Boys Meet

“A few years ago, our boys were on the bottom end of the spectrum,” said Derr. “They’ve hung with it and the team has begun to jell and take steps forward.”

The Eagles sit in a four-way tie for second place in Section Two with a chance to break part of that tie next Monday at Lebanon.

They were never threatened Monday, holding the upper hand in both the track (66-21) and field (48-15). Cocalico was particularly dominant in distance races (31-1) and throwing events (25-2).

Senior Demetri Whitsett was a three-event winner at his final home meet, capturing the 300 hurdles, long jump and high jump, while finishing second by a lean to teammate and fellow senior Taylor Martin in the high hurdles.

“Last year, Demetri wanted to enter four events in the League Meet,” said Derr. “That might have been a first for us. He medaled in all four events and he has been an absolute points machine for us over the years.”

Other winners included seniors Martin (high hurdles) and Brady Maxwell (shot), sophomores Evan Kreider (1600) and Dylan Becker (3200), juniors Jacob Musselman (400), Colin Higinbotham (discus), Bradley Heck (javelin) and Conlan Kerschner (pole vault) and freshman Josiah Stauffer (800).

Nine additional Eagles contributed to the team points total by claiming second or third place finishes in their events. That team depth was led by junior Michael White, who finished second in each of the three throwing events.

An unusual quartet of runners took place in the final event, the 4 X 400 relay as seniors Juan Bermudez, Dan Nicholas, Maxwell and Martin carried the baton around the track.

“They said coach, can we do that?” explained Derr. “I love seeing things like that. You want to compete and achieve those PR’s and try for the team wins, but it’s still a high school sport and I think fun needs to be a key part. For being a football lineman (Maxwell) it was very respectable and he competed the whole way.”

After Monday’s final dual meet at Lebanon, Cocalico’s next challenge is the Lancaster-Lebanon League Meet at Hempfield on May 12 and 13. Derr commented on any last-minute tweaking for his athletes.

“Once you hit this point, the hay is in the barn,” said Derr. “Shortly it’s going to be time to pull back a little bit. Try to go in as fresh mentally and physically as possible and see what they can do.”



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