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‘Slick’ity split In sleet, Lady Mounts clinch tie while Eagle boys dominate in the field
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
Monday’s track meet between Cocalico and Ephrata had everything.
Not only did the meet feature a pair of backyard rivals, some of the best athletes in the county were performing on the track and in the field behind the Ephrata Middle School.
And the weather was horrible. Sleet, in fact. But that didn’t deter what turned out to be an entertaining meet that ended in a boys/girls split among the schools.
In girls action, Ephrata clinched at least a share of the Section Two title with a dominant performance. The Lady Mounts (5-0 section, 6-0 overall), who can clinch the title outright with a win at home in the season finale next Monday afternoon, took 16 of the 18 events contested to sprint past Cocalico, 104-45.
On the boys’ side, the Eagles took control in the pits, sweeping all of the field events to key an 87-63 victory.
"When we first arrived at the meet I teased (Ephrata Coach John) Keller that the Cocalico-Ephrata meet is supposed to have much better weather," Cocalico Coach Ron Derr said. "With the weather being the way it was I was very pleased with the competitiveness and performance of our kids. They were preparing well for their events and competed well throughout the meet."
Kyle Felpel and Mark Belousov led the dominant field performance by the Eagles, claiming two events each. Felpel captured both the shot put (59-3 1/2) and discus (177-8) while Belousov was a winner in the long jump (18-4 1/2) and triple jump (38-10 1/2).
Jhett Janis won the javelin for Cocalico with a throw of 153-6, while Shea Evans captured the high jump with a leap of 5-8. Ben Graybill completed the sweep with a victory in the pole vault (12-0).
"Our field performers were the difference in the meet," Derr said. "Their boys team scored a lot of points in the longer sprints and distance races and fortunately we were able to overcome those with the field events."
"We outscored them 54-33 on the track and turned around and scored nine in the field," he said. "You knew Felpel was going to get his points, I expected that. We just lack experience in the jumps and have had a difficult time scoring any points in those events. To our boys credit, they have not given up and compete very hard. For that I am proud of them. They will be stronger individuals for not quitting on themselves, their teammates and this season."
As mentioned above, Ephrata had the advantage on the track as the Eagles won just three events as Tyler Buckwalter took home the 100 title with a time of 11.4; Cordell Stauffer won the high hurdles (16.0); and the 400 relay team of Spencer Moser, Brad Whittaker, Alec Whitsett and Buckwalter was victorious in a time of 46.5
Ephrata’s Quint Felak led his team with a pair of wins, including the 200 (24.0) and 300 hurdles (42.3). Four other individuals were victorious for the Mounts including: Jon Husson in the 400 (55.4); Dagmawi Baykeda in the 800 (2:13.5); Billy Hauser in the 1600 (4:49.6); and Sam Wolde in the 3200 (10:50.9).
The final two wins on the day for Ephrata came in the relays. The 1600 team of Cody Andes, Husson, Lue Vang and Felak placed first in a time of 3:46.6. And the 3200 squad of Jordan Schrom, Husson, Tyler Masterson and Baydeka was victorious as well with a time of 9:01.0).
Cocalico improved to 5-1 while Ephrata fell to 0-6.
On the girls’ side, it was business as usual for Ephrata as the outstanding trio of Mary Witmer, Crystal Hartman and Kelly Liebl accounted for 10 of the Lady Mounts’ 16 wins on the day.
Witmer led the way with four victories, claiming firsts in the 400 (61.0), high hurdles (15.2), 300 hurdles (50.0) and triple jump (36-5) events.
Both Liebl and Hartman were triple winners on the day. Liebl sprinted to victory in both the 100 (12.3) and 200 (26.4) and added a win in the long jump (15-0 1/4). Hartman captured the throwing trifecta, winning the shot put (28-5 1/2), discus (90-2) and javelin (92-10).
"When you have a triple-edged sword like we have in Mary, Crystal and Kelly, it really makes it difficult for the other team to prepare," Keller said. "Those three girls are competing at a very high level in some very key events and have been awfully tough to beat in our dual meets. When you can get between 40 and 50 points from three athletes, and you know you can count on that, I think that just raises the confidence level of the whole team."
Derr was impressed.
"Coach Keller and the Ephrata staff have done a fantastic job of building a super girls team," Derr said. "Athletes like Liebl, Witmer and Hartman give them some tremendous building blocks and really help them field a formidable lineup. They also have some flexibility as to where to place them in individual events or relays based on team matchups."
In addition to Liebl, Witmer and Hartman, senior Abby Binkley set the Ephrata school record in the pole vault, reaching a record height of 9-1 which eclipsed the old record of 9-0 set by Megan Stauffer a year ago.
Other Ephrata individual winners included: Nicole Wilkerson in the 800 (2:38); Melynda Beam in the 3200 (12:30.1); and Sondra MacNeal in the 1600 (5:45.4). Ephrata added relay wins in the 400 (Binkley, Yasi Davis, Natalie Flaim and Liebl, 52.4) and 3200 (MacNeal, Madison Fox, Vanessa Hurst and Wilkerson, 10:22.1) to round out its impressive day.
"Winning 16 of the 18 events I did not expect," Keller said. "I had told our girls before the meet that they should expect the Cocalico girls’ best shot and that we cannot expect to just show up and win. I was real pleased with our performance. It certainly was dominating and we took control early and really did not look back. That is the expectation now for the girls– set the tone of the meet early and try and dominate. Our girls were focused and did not let the weather play a part. We have been so solid through the lineup all season, and that strength was apparent (Monday). Our girls took them serious, and that was the message I sent."
Leading the way for Cocalico was sophomore Miranda Weitzel, who was the lone individual to win, taking home the high jump with a leap of 4-8.
The 1600 relay squad of Carrie Sensenig, Marissa Gingrich, Amber Pinkerton and Gina Glass also was a winner with a time of 5:53.0).
"Going into this meet I told our girls that this is the best team we have seen so far this season and that offers a great opportunity to challenge our previous best performances," Derr said. "In my years of coaching and competing I have seen that often the best performances occur only when you have great competition. And with Ephrata being our ‘backyard rival’ we went into the meet with a goal of competing hard hoping to better our previous best marks."
Both Cocalico and Ephrata will compete at the Millersville Invitational Friday afternoon, beginning at 3 p.m. Cocalico will then host Conestoga Valley Monday afternoon at 4 p.m. More TRACK, page B-4