Stauffer claims two State medals

By on May 27, 2015

 

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 Cocalico’s Emily Stauffer shoves the shot during Friday’s State Meet in Shippensburg. Stauffer took fourth place in the shot and later added a bronze medal in the discus. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Cocalico’s Emily Stauffer shoves the shot during Friday’s State Meet in Shippensburg. Stauffer took fourth place in the shot and later added a bronze medal in the discus. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

ocalico junior Emily Stauffer, one of the favorites to win State gold in the shot put, had a rough day Friday both physically and competitively.

Seeded second in that event, Stauffer couldn’t quite shake a back injury that has plagued her throughout the season. The end result was still good&tstr;a throw of 42-6 which gave her a fourth place medal at States&tstr;but not what she was looking for.

However, after resting her back overnight, Stauffer returned to the pit for the discus Saturday feeling good. And the end results proved it.

Stauffer uncorked PR after PR, with her best throw reaching a distance of 133-6. It was good enough to earn the bronze in that event and make up for any of the disappointment she felt Friday.

“Friday was a little rough in the shot, but it was definitely something I could learn from,” she said. And Saturday I felt I did really well in discus. Overall, it was a good weekend.”

While Stauffer was able to leave Shippensburg with a pair of medals around her neck, Ephrata star senior Kelly Liebl closed out her career unable to duplicate her performance of a year ago when she won the eighth-place medal in the 100-meter dash.

The odds were stacked up against Liebl, who in addition to still being nagged by a hamstring injury, was forced to compete in all three of her events in a two-hour time span of the competition on Friday.

In the long jump, the District Three silver medalist jumped 17-6.25 to place 13th overall. In the 400, Liebl ran her second fastest 400 time ever but finished third in her heat with a time of 57.37 and did not advance to the finals. And, as part of the girls 4 X 100 relay, which also included sister Kay Liebl, Ariel Smith and Jennie Young, that squad bested its seed time of 49.28 with a time of 49.22 to finish 14th overall but out of medal contention.

Asked if she felt it was unfair to have to perform all of her events in such a short period of time, Liebl didn’t offer any excuses.

“I wouldn’t say it’s unfair,” she said. “There’s other athletes who have to do it too. I mean, it’s your choice to pick and choose the events that you do. So I took on the challenge, so yeah, that’s on me then if it doesn’t turn out well. But I don’t think that was really a problem. I’m usually used to doing that. With my hamstring, I haven’t really had a chance to be so busy. I don’t think it should have been a problem.”

As for Friday’s shot put competition, Stauffer, who has thrown 47-10 and was State runner-up as a freshman two seasons ago, just couldn’t crank one out there. She reached 42-plus on three of her six throws but her back didn’t allow her to fully cut loose.

In the end, Selinsgrove’s Courtney McCartney won gold for a second-straight year with a throw of 46-feet. Jocelyn Ruth of Kutztown was second (42-11.75) while Janese Lynch of Academy Park (42-6.25) edged out Stauffer for third.

“(My back) had a pretty big effect,” Stauffer said. “I tried, I mean I struggled the whole season with it. It wasn’t hitting right because every time I would plant it would just hurt really bad. I tried but obviously it was not good enough to get the title.”

Saturday was a new day, and Stauffer took full advantage, setting her PR four different times before throwing 133-6 late in the competition.

It was what the doctor ordered after a disappointing Friday.

“I’ve been struggling with discus this whole entire season,” she said. “I was in the 115 range and I was just stuck there. And then I came out (Saturday) and just had so much adrenaline…I just had so much fun throwing the discus. It definitely made up for my performance on Friday.”

In addition to Stauffer, both junior Stephanie Wahl and freshman Jamie Zamrin competed in events for Cocalico on the track at States this past weekend.

Wahl capped an outstanding junior season when she finished fourth in her heat in the 100 hurdles with a time of 15.80. Unfortunately, she did not advance out of her heat.

As for Zamrin, the talented freshman closed out her first State appearance with a 15th place finish in her heat with a time of 5:36.97 in the girls AAA 1600. She did not advance out of the heats.

While Liebl didn’t walk away with a medal this weekend, she still leaves Ephrata as one of the most decorated track athletes to ever suit up for the purple and gold.

After her final event Friday, she was asked if she has allowed herself to think that her high school career is now over?

“Not really,” she said. “I haven’t really been able to comprehend that yet. Yeah, it’s very bittersweet. I’m going to miss this very much. But it’s definitely a different mindset though. If I wouldn’t be running in college, I think I’d be a lot more sad. But I know there’s more competition waiting for me and chances to improve upon what I did here today.”

Ephrata Coach John Keller certainly understands what Liebl has meant to his program.

“It’s not the way she wanted to go out and I know that and I respect that,” he said. “But for what she’s done for our school, our program and what she has accomplished – never have lost a track meet, those four section titles – she has a lot to hang her head high about and be proud of. She’s just such a good kid. Ultimately, I think we just kinda ran out of gas. Lack of preparation. I mean, we probably missed four weeks total of training (with weather and her injury). When the season started with probably a foot of snow on the track and we were running in the parking lots and it was bitter cold. It’s bittersweet. I know it isn’t what she wanted, but yet, she did well.”

“She’ll leave our program as the premier sprinter,” he continued. “She has school records in the 100, 200, 400, long jump, plus two records in relays, the 4×1 and 4×4. And she does more than that. She elevates the level of the other kids around her…she carries the respect, she’s a team leader. I can go on and on. She’s just a great kid to try and coach, works her tail off.”

Liebl, who just last week jumped 18-2 to finish second in the District in the long jump, was disappointed not to make the finals Friday.

“It was pretty disappointing,” she said. “Especially I think it was somewhere within two or three inches, so yeah, that was disappointing. But people came out and jumped really well. I got a decent jump out, 17-6, something like that. But before my 18-2 last weekend, I haven’t even jumped in the 18’s. I was obviously hoping to come back and be able to do that again, but you never know. I did it one time. It was definitely in my head to go out there and just jump the best I could.”

In her 400 race, Liebl said, “I think I ran an OK race. Honestly, my legs are a little tired. You always you could have done better. I wish I could have found some more to give it, but being part of the competition, all of the girls stepped up.”

The 4 X 100 team’s finish was impressive in Keller’s eyes, considering the competition and the fact that they set s school record.

“For the 4×1, certainly we were seeded 22nd and finished 14th overall in the state of Pennsylvania,” he said. “I think that’s a pretty good achievement. When you get out here and see how fast these kids are, these schools are running 46’s, and I’m just super proud of our girls. They ran our fastest time ever, they set the school record, they did it on the biggest stage that the sport has to offer. I know they wanted to come back (Saturday) and race for a medal. But I go back, 14th in the State, that’s doing pretty good for a bunch of girls from Ephrata, I think.”

Bruce Morgan contributed to this story.

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