Ephrata’s Witmer breaks own indoor 400 meter record
Ephrata’s Mary Witmer competed at Penn State University this past weekend at the PTFCA Indoor State Track & Field Championships.
Witmer’s day started in the 60 meter hurdles where there were a total of 28 athletes entered. Not having her best start, Witmer finished the race in 9.65 seconds, a mere 0.16 seconds off moving on to the semifinals and 0.07 seconds off her own school record.
"She flinched just before the starters gun went off," said her hurdle coach Todd Ream, "that was probably two-tenth’s of a second right there. She ran a very good technically sound race after that, but it was just enough at the start to nip off some precious seconds, and in a race like this one, every little bit is critical."
Witmer bounced back an hour later to compete in the 400 meter dash where she was competing against 30 other competitors, six (including her) in her heat. The race was tightly contested pretty much all the way through the two laps. Witmer had gotten boxed in, however she fought through some traffic and moved to the outside coming down the home stretch, narrowly missing winning her heat.
Her time of 59.05 seconds re-set her own school record in that event and was good enough to place 16th in the State.
"Mary’s first lap put her behind a bit," said Head Coach John Keller. "She had some traffic to navigate and even got slightly cut off, but that is the indoor 400. Once she got herself to the outside and could open up, she moved past the pack pretty quickly. Had the race been another five meters, she would’ve won her heat. All that said, it was a great experience for her and I was very proud. She has done some amazing things in the three years she has competed on the winter track team."
Witmer, who is headed to Division One Liberty University in the fall, closes out her indoor season and career at Ephrata with four individual school records and two more as part of a relay. That ties her with Betsy Sensenig as the only two athletes with six total school records in the EHS winter track & field program.
For Witmer, she will now try and pull something off that has never happened at Ephrata, lead the girls to a second-consecutive Section Two championship this spring.
"It will be a challenge," remarked the coach. "I have already spoken to the girls’ team about this and am very excited to get the spring season started."