Stauffer claims District gold
TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com
, Staff Writer
Emily Stauffer may be a ninth grader. But the Cocalico phenom certainly doesn’t toss the shot put like a freshman.
This past weekend at the District Three Track & Field Championships held at Shippensburg University, Stauffer became Cocalico’s first female District champion in 20 years when she heaved the shot 40-7 1/2 on her first throw of the day to capture gold.
Stauffer, who had three throws in the 40s Friday but admittedly was a "little off," easily defeated second-place Jocelen Ruth of Kutztown, who threw 38-1 1/2. Shanna Sweigart of Cedar Crest took the bronze with a throw of 38-1 1/4.
With her gold, Stauffer is the first female track and field winner at Cocalico since Marianne Gockley took first place in the AA high jump, and is the first girl in school history to win the District’s top prize in AAA competition. She also qualified for this week’s State competition back at Shippensburg where she is seeded sixth going into the competition.
"It’s definitely exciting," Stauffer said following her victory. "It feels good to be a champ. I mean, it’s not my best and I know it can be more than that, but it feels good to be on top right now."
Cocalico Coach Ron Derr said Stauffer, who earlier this year uncorked a throw of 43-10, has already accomplished quite a lot in the pit in such a short period of time.
"Emily is already putting together an incredible resume for her track and field career," he said after her win. "Each week the environment becomes a bit more challenging and she seems to find a way to rise with it. If she was a baseball pitcher one would have to say she didn’t have her best stuff (Friday), and that’s another credit to both she and our throwing coach Scott Krall. There are very few people who can be a district champion without the A-plus type of day. Forty feet is an excellent throw in (girls) shot put and despite a few technical glitches, Emily was able to hit it three times."
While Stauffer was the lone Cocalico athlete to grab gold, three of her Eagle teammates – juniors Jhett Janis and Marissa Gingrich, as well as senior Shea Evans- earned top eight places and will join her at States this upcoming weekend.
Janis uncorked a throw of 191-1 on his final throw of the finals to claim second place behind only Cole Proffitt of Manheim Central, a rival and friend, who won the gold with a toss of 196-6. Janis already locked up second place with an earlier throw, so he let it all hang out one final time, which impressed his head coach.
"Jhett is such a competitor," Derr said. "I really appreciated how Jhett went for it on his final, and his best overall throw of the competition. He had one last shot to catch Proffit and he put his all into it. It says a lot about a kid who already knows he has achieved no less than a second-place finish, but he wasn’t quite satisfied and wanted just a bit more. I always love seeing kids compete."
A week ago at the L-L League Meet, Janis threw 176-4 which got him the silver. However, that was disappointing to the CHS junior, especially since he had hit 204-06 earlier in the year.
"It was definitely a relief (to get back in the 190s)," Janis said following the competition. "I definitely knew what I had to do to get back in the 90s and I definitely know what I’ve got to do to get back in the 200s. It’s just staying up. When I’m throwing, I’m really coming forward and just not being patient. I’ve just got to stay relaxed. You want to hit a 200 every single time, but it’s just hard to come out here and just do it every single time. You’ve got to stay relaxed and patient."
Janis, who has never beaten Proffitt head-to-head, said States, where he’ll be seeded seventh, would be the opportune time for him to pull off that feat.
"It’s not a bad thing at all (losing to Proffitt)," he said. "But one of these times, I’d like to beat him. Next week is the last time I’ll see him until maybe college, so I definitely want to try get in his head. I know we practice one day this week together, so that will be fun."
Evans, fresh off a silver medal at the League Meet, equaled his PR in the high jump, leaping 6-4 on his first attempt at that height after narrowly getting 6-2 on his last try to claim third place behind champion Tyree Ballenger of McCaskey (6-6) and runner-up Ibn Short of Milton Hershey (6-6).
And Gingrich set a new school record in the 800, with a run of 2:16.57 to claim seventh place overall.
"I haven’t had an opportunity to speak directly to Shea, but he did have us on the edge of our seats," Derr said. "When he had two misses at 6-2, and you could visibly see he was having some struggles I have to admit I was very concerned. Then somehow he hit his third and last attempt. And a few moments later also hits the 6-4 jump on his first attempt. It was quite the turn of event to be moments from having a terrific season end, to then all of a sudden be in the driver’s seat for a high district medal."
"And as far as Marissa is concerned, if I would relate her race from a teaching perspective she ran an absolute A-plus race. She ran with the group and hit her early goal paces and then ran aggressively at exactly the right moments. She has had a fantastic season and it is so exciting she has earned the right to compete next week at the state meet. I felt after watching her run at leagues that she had some room for improvement as far as the race happened, and wow, did she ever compete well."
In addition to the above-mentioned athletes who will be moving on, four other Eagles saw their season come to a close at Districts.
Ashley Strenko tied for 10th place in the girls high jump with a leap of 4-10, and also competed in the 100 hurdles but did not advance to the finals.
Rebecca Grube took 11th place in the discus with a throw of 105-0, while Cordell Musser did not advance out of his heat in the 110 hurdles. And junior thrower Spencer Moser, who made it to States a year ago in the javelin, had a rough day as he fouled on all three preliminary attempts and did not advance to the finals.
Looking ahead to States, Derr had no predictions on how his athletes will do but just wants them to soak it all in.
"For States I always hope that the athletes can truly enjoy the moment," he said. "They have earned the right to compete against the best our state has to offer in an event. Then I hope they can relax and compete with everything they have got and apply all the previous work and training they have put in over the course of the season, and even before the season."
More STAUFFER, page B-5