Njenga Soars at Christmas City

By on December 30, 2014
 Ephrata’s Mark Njenga leaps to a school record long jump of 21 feet 2 inches on Saturday at Lehigh University.

Ephrata’s Mark Njenga leaps to a school record long jump of 21 feet 2 inches on Saturday at Lehigh University.

The Ephrata Track & Field teams traveled to the Christmas City this past weekend and took the Lehigh University sports campus by storm.
Mark Njenga, who had a nice start to his junior indoor season just eight days prior at F&M, proved a week later the hot start was no fluke. Juggling the long jump and high jump at the same time at any meet is no easy task, yet Mark handled the events with ease and did not let the crowded indoor setting phase him.
Njenga soared to an indoor school record long jump of 21-feet, 2-inches to finish in third place overall. He accomplished this feat on his final jump, yet had been very consistent all morning with several jumps over 20 feet.
“Consistency is what we are looking for, and I think it is where Mark has come as an athlete,” said Coach John Keller. “He has matured and is growing up a bit. He is an outstanding jumper and can be very dangerous if he can put it all together, Saturday he was in a groove and was jumping out there with the best kids in the arena.”
Njenga broke the record that was set in 2010 by Matt Kujawski (20-3¼). In the high jump competition, Njenga nipped the bar three-straight times at 5-feet, 10-inches and finished the day clearing 5-8. Njenga later came back to run a blistering 200-meter dash in 24.81 seconds.
While Njenga was traveling back & forth from the high jump to the long jump, Nate Becker and his distance medley relay teammates had a record-setting day in mind themselves. Leading off the relay and running the “odd distance” of 1,200 meters, Becker cruised to a time 3:26.7 and set his teammates up with a great start. Sam Anyona then took the baton and ran the second leg, which is 400 meters before he handed the baton to Dayne Wetzel, who ran 800 meters. Anyona (59.5) and Wetzel (2:07.6) held their own and kept the Mountaineer boys in the race before it was Zack Lefever who would finish things off by running 1,600 meters. Lefever ripped off a 4:54.7 and the record had gone down.
With a team time of 11:28.65, it eclipsed the old record set back in 2011 (11:41.97). The team placed sixth overall in the race. Becker would come back later to finish sixth in the 3,000 meter run (9:34.52) and Detzel would also claim the sixth spot in the 800 meter run (2:10.67).
The Mountaineer boys team secured two other personal records on Saturday, Rhett Hart knocked 30 seconds off his best mile run crossing the line in 5:00.40 and senior Travis Troutman won his heat in the 400 meter dash finishing in 55.79.
For the Lady Mounts, it was Jordan Carvell having another great 3,000 meter run and freshman Jennie Young competing in four events while securing a 200 meter PR and leading the sprint medley relay to an indoor record. For Carvell, she started up right where she left off a week ago with one exception. she knocked off some eight seconds on her 3,000 meter run time and now has a PR set at 11:01.65. Taking it out with the leaders, Carvell, who placed third overall averaged between 43 and 44 seconds per lap in the 15 lap race.
“Another great run for Jordan,” said distance coach Mike DelPiano. “We had her focus on the 3,000 only for this meet and she delivered a great time. She took it out from the start, and that is of utmost importance. I could not be any more proud of how she has started this indoor season.”
For Jennie Young, she has caught her coach’s eye from day one.
“Pretty impressive how she has handled herself so far this winter,” said Keller. “As a freshman, I can tell, she is a gamer. She will bring it to the best she can each time out. That is something that comes within. I have some things, technique-wise, we need to work on, but I am very happy with how she has competed.”
Young ran the 60 meter dash in 8.61 seconds and later came back to grind out a PR in the 200 meter dash (28.84). She competed in the 4 X 200 meter relay and finished off the meet leading off the girls sprint medley relay to a new school record. Along with Young, the team consisted of Kyra Horst, Erica Voigt and Taylor Mahlandt. Both Young (28.8) and Horst (29.8) ran 200 meters, Voigt ran 400 meters (66.8) and Mahlandt finished off the relay running 800 meters in 2:34.01 thus setting the new record. The girls finished fifth overall in 4:39.51 and took 10 seconds off the old record set last season.
Earlier in the day, Mahlandt ran away from the competition in her heat in the mile run, finishing in 5:38.38 and a sixth place overall finish. Horst bettered her 60 meter dash time, sprinting to an 8.61PR and Voigt hurdled her way to a PR in the 60 meter hurdles (10.86). Voigt just missed finals in the triple jump, jumping a season best 32-8¼.
Another good meet for both the winter track & field teams has them off to a great winter season. Both teams will be back in action January 10 when they travel back to Franklin & Marshall College.

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