Hartman, Liebl earn State medals
Senior Crystal Hartman and junior Kelly Liebl were two big reasons Ephrata was able to win its third-straight Section Two championship this year.
And this past weekend at the State Meet held at Shippensburg University, that twosome closed out the year in style as each earned a medal in their respective events.
Hartman, who took home the seventh-place medal in the javelin last year, captured fourth place overall in that event Friday afternoon when she tossed a PR throw of 138-10. As for Liebl, the EHS junior set a PR of 12.22 in the 100 Friday in the trials. Then in the semifinals Saturday morning, she earned a spot in the finals Saturday afternoon with a time of 12.32.
That guaranteed Liebl a medal, and she went on to post a time of 12.46 to place eighth in the final.
It was a fitting way to close out a great season for those two athletes.
“I told (Kelly) Day One when we were up here that she was going to medal,” Hartman said “We were trying to come home with more points than we did last year. It was great that we both could go up there and place at the State Meet. It was an awesome way to end the year, and it doesn’t get much better than that.”
Liebl, who also finished 18th in the long jump (16-9), called it a nerve-wracking experience.
“Coach Keller mainly just told me it’s about me out there,” she recalled the pre-race conversation she had with her coach. “He said, ‘It’s not about who is on my left or right sides.’ I just had to focus on my race and what I can do. And I think I did a really good job with that. It was a lot of pressure, looking back on it. It was a lot of pressure but I didn’t really let it get to me.”
And in advancing to the final, she couldn’t wipe the smile from her face.
“It’s outstanding,” she said. “I’m just so happy. I was going to try to get to finals. I’m not going to say I was expecting it but I just wanted to see what I could do. I came in seeded 10th…I knew it was within reach but I was going to have to stay focused in trials, and luckily I was, and I made it into the final race.”
After advancing out of her trials heat, Liebl knew she would be in a battle to move on out of the semifinals and into the finals. She placed fourth and was sweating it out until she looked up in the crowd.
“I knew it was top three in each heat and the next two fastest times who move on,” she said. “And I got fourth in my heat so I was pretty nervous. But then I saw Coach Keller up in the stands celebrating so I figured I got it. I’m just ecstatic right now.”
Being a junior, Liebl has an excellent chance to return to Shippensburg next year as a senior. She was asked if her eighth-place finish raises the bar heading into next year.
“This year kind of sets the bar high I guess,” she said. “A lot of (my success) this year I think was due to my confidence. My confidence was there a lot more than it was last year, which I think really helped.. Next year hopefully I’ll have the same amount of confidence in myself and just come out here and do possibly even better than I did this year.”
While Hartman won’t have that opportunity since she is graduating, she did make the most of her last high school competition.
As the 15th seed, Hartman was the final thrower in the first heat Friday. And she hit her personal record throw on her second attempt on the day.
“It was crazy because I almost fouled,” Hartman said of the throw. “I was literally like an ant away from fouling on it. Actually when I realized that I didn’t foul, I still didn’t think it was that far of a throw. And then they said, ‘138-10,’ and I got real emotional. It still doesn’t even seem real.”
Hartman, who will be attending Shippensburg next fall, said she just enjoys throwing there and especially at States where the competition brings out the best in her.
“Shippensburg is my favorite place to throw,” she said. “It’s just so open…it’s just you and the jav. I just go out and, when people throw well, it usually brings out the best in me because I know that I have the ability to throw with them. I use that adrenaline to drive me.”
That seemed to work well for both Hartman and Liebl this weekend.