Ephrata athletes claim three medals

By on May 30, 2018
Ephrata’s Tyler Shue (left) takes the baton from teammate Tanyon Loose (center) during Saturday’s 4 X 800 relay final at the State Meet. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Ephrata’s Tyler Shue (left) takes the baton from teammate Tanyon Loose (center) during Saturday’s 4 X 800 relay final at the State Meet. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Shue leads the way with individual silver, bronze in relay

After an exhausting Saturday, there is a good chance Ephrata’s Tyler Shue spent the rest of the holiday weekend off his feet.

That’s because he used up nearly every ounce of energy on them in the sweltering heat Saturday to help the Ephrata boys’ track team to three medals and an 11th overall finish at the PIAA State Meet held in Shippensburg.

Shue, a sophomore distance runner, led the way. First, he anchored Ephrata’s 4 X 800 relay, which also included AJ Morales, Andrew Foster and Tanyon Loose, to a third-place finish with a school record time of 7:47.30. Then, just a few hours later, came back to win a silver medal in the 800-meter run, challenging eventual champion Collin Ebling of Pottsville before holding on for second with another school record time of 1:53.88.

Senior jumper Elie Basenga added the third and final medal on the weekend for Ephrata, and his second in as many years when he finished in a tie for sixth in the boys’ high jump, clearing 6-4.

Ephrata, which finished with 15.5 points in the team standings, was the highest scoring L-L League and District Three squad at the meet.

“Outstanding efforts and some great performances for the boys,” Ephrata Coach John Keller said. “Just to see them compete the way they did, then have Shue come back when every one pretty much had him written off and run the perfect race in the 800, really just filled me with pride for our team and our sport. To score more points than the rest of the L-L just goes to show you what we had at the State Meet…big-time performers.”

Morales kicked off the first leg of the 4 X 8 and the lone senior of the Ephrata foursome got the Mounts off to a promising start, running a PR split of 1:55. Still, the Mounts were in fourth position behind CB West, Seneca Valley and Pennridge when Foster got the baton.

Foster, who as District champion in the 3200 elected to sit out that event to enhance his team’s chances in the 4 X 800, made up some ground and put Ephrata into third place with another PR split of 1:57.

“I hadn’t broken 2:00 all year,” the junior stated. “I wanted to go as close as I could to 1:57 and just try to put everything out for our team. It felt like I was falling apart but I just kept going…and it felt like it was pretty quick.”

It was, and Loose then took the baton and maintained third place with his PR split of 1:59. Unfortunately, by that time the CB West runner had roughly a 30-yard lead on Shue, who immediately was in sprinting mode as he quickly moved into second and set his sights on the CB West anchor.

“I knew I had the speed to catch him, and I was pretty sure I had the endurance…so I just went for it.”

Shue eventually pulled even at around the 400 mark, but didn’t have much left as CB West pulled away late to win gold in a time of 7:42.95. Pennridge (7:46.27) nipped Ephrata for second despite Shue running a 1:54 split and helping the team shatter the old school record by nearly five seconds.

“The heat really got to me at like 450-500 meters in,” Shue said afterwards. “I tried to stay with him but the last 100 he started breaking away. I just got tight and couldn’t keep up.”

Ephrata Distance Coach Mike Delpiano added, “Tyler laid himself out there from the getgo. He went out and killed himself on the first lap and didn’t really have enough to hold on. That’s maybe a little bit of inexperience, but I’m never ever going to knock pure guts and heart because when somebody lays it out there for their teammates and gives it all they can I’m never going to criticize that. When you are running for a state championship, your adrenaline is pumping and it’s hard to hold back.”

Morales called the bronze-medal performance a huge accomplishment.

“We’ve been working as a team going on two years now and I’m just thrilled to be able to make it to this level and perform at that quality…I’m just really proud of all of us as a team and individually. We all put our work in and it really showed in the race, beating our school record by a lot. I’m extremely proud of these guys…I’m not disappointed at all.”

Delpiano agreed.

“This is probably one of the more competitive relays in the state year after year, so for little Ephrata to go elbow-to-elbow with them, I’m pretty proud of them and what they did. It was a total team effort and the boys knew exactly what they needed to do. They went out and executed it to the best of their abilities, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Approximately three hours after the 4 X 8, Shue was back out looking for his second medal in the 800. He remained in the lead pack before he and Ebling emerged as the leaders heading into the final 100 meters.

Down the stretch, Ebling had a little more gas in the tank, however, and pulled ahead to stay and hold off Shue for the win.

“I was kind of iffy at the start but once we started going I started to get into my rhythm,” Shue said of the race. “I’d say with about 250 left, I honestly didn’t feel like I had anything left. People just started going so I just tried to go with them, and it worked out for me.”

Basenga, who won the bronze medal in the high jump at States a year ago, was looking to bounce back from a tough District meet where he did just enough to be the 28th and final seed in Saturday’s competition.

He did just that, clearing 6-0, 6-2 and 6-4 before bowing out with three missed attempts at 6-6.

“I could have done better, way better,” he said after receiving his medal. “But in the end, I got sixth in the state so therefore that makes me one of the best in the state, so I’m proud of myself.”

In addition to the Mounts who earned medals, a few others from Ephrata competed at States this past weekend.

In girls’ AAA shot put, Ephrata senior Jenna Raezer closed out her high school career with an 11th place finish with a throw of 38-2.

In the girls AAA 200-meter dash, Ephrata senior Jennie Young finished the preliminary round with a time of 26.28, and did not advance.

And in the girls AAA pole vault, Ephrata senior Sarah Megivern was unable to clear the initial height of the bar and did not advance in the competition.

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