Strenko, Stauffer shine as CHS girls take fourth
TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com
, Staff Writer
While Ephrata was enjoying perhaps one of its greatest day on the track Saturday, the Cocalico girls also were reaching new heights at the L-L League Meet held at Hempfield.
Behind the strength of senior Ashley Strenko, who won three individual medals, and freshman thrower Emily Stauffer, who claimed the team’s lone gold, Cocalico (38 points) quietly captured fourth overall in the team standings behind Ephrata (89), Hempfield (85) and Garden Spot (61.33).
"This is the highest finish a girls team from Cocalico has ever had during my years as a coach," Cocalico Coach Ron Derr said. "I was very proud of the way our kids competed and we were thrilled to be mentioned following the names of Ephrata, Hempfield, and Garden Spot. I have been stressing to the girls all year what a good team that we have, and how competitive our section is, and they were very excited to hear how that was demonstrated when it was announced that we finished fourth. We had several setbacks and disappointments to deal with during the competition but the girls kept digging in and striving to perform well and picking each other up."
Stauffer, the top seed in the shot, won her first post-season gold medal with a throw of 41-9 1/2 during a steady rain, which easily surpassed Sunny Green of CV who finished second with a throw of 37-2.
"It is an absolute joy to have Emily on the team," Derr said. "She is establishing some amazing accomplishments this season, and I would consider her performance on Saturday to rank highly among them. It can be a real challenge to be the favorite and the person expected to do well, and she came through. Emily got to throw during one of the more challenging times of the day on Saturday when the rains were coming down, and Hempfield is also a very challenging place to throw. To come through and be the league champion is a great accomplishment."
Strenko, the leading points getter for the Lady Eagles with 15 team points for the meet, was on the entire weekend. In the high jump, Strenko tied the school record and hit her PR with a jump of 5-2. That height tied the mark posted by CV’s Savannah Stauffer. However, Stauffer was awarded the gold and Strenko the silver based on fewer attempts.
She added a distant third-place finish behind Ephrata’s Mary Witmer (14.68) and Garden Spot’s Hannah Williams (14.93) in the 100 hurdles with a time of 16.00. By the way, in the prelims, she broke the school record in that event with a time of 15.85.
Strenko also placed sixth overall in the long jump (15-9 1/2) to complete an outstanding meet.
"Ashley had a fantastic weekend," Derr said. "Ashley almost always has a smile on her face but she is a tremendous competitor and has really shined at the league meet the past two seasons."
In addition to the above-mentioned athletes, several others earned medals for the Lady Eagles. They included: Marissa Gingrich, who claimed a bronze medal with a third place finish in the 800 (2:19.48); Rebecca Grube, who took fifth place in the discus with a throw of 106-8; Megan Gingrich, who earned a sixth-place medal in the triple jump with a leap of 32-4; and the girls 1600 relay, which included Carrie Sensenig, Marissa Gingrich, Megan Gingrich and Janelle High. they placed fourth in a time of 4:08.54.
On the boys’ side, Cocalico won three medals on the weekend, including a pair of silver medals, to finish in 11th place with 17 points.
Senior Shea Evans started things off Friday with a solid second place performance in the high jump. Evans jumped 6-4 to earn the silver behind McCaskey’s Tyree Ballenger, who won the gold with a jump of 6-6.
"Shea has been so consistent this year, and currently he is really jumping with a lot of confidence," Derr said of Evans. "I was extremely happy with his performance on Friday. I have spoken often with the team about the quality of our league so they know how special it is to have a chance at being league champion in an event. It was also great to see Shea come to the meet Saturday, despite not competing in any events, to support the rest of the team."
Perhaps the biggest hyped event prior to the weekend was the boys javelin event where Manheim Central’s Cole Proffitt and Jhett Janis of Cocalico would go head-to-head. Two of the top throwers in the State, Proffitt prevailed on this day with a throw of 204-1 to win the gold. Janis, who earlier this year uncorked a throw of 204-6, struggled to a second place finish with a throw of 176-4.
Cocalico’s Spencer Moser also competed in the event but placed seventh with a throw of 157-9.
"Friday night was not one of the better javelin nights for us," Derr said. "There are a lot of technical aspects to having a great javelin throw and both the guys had their struggles."
The final medal of the weekend for Cocalico was earned by the 4 X 100 relay squad, which placed sixth with a time of 44.27.
The District Three Track Meet will be held Friday, May 17 (1-6 p.m.) and Saturday, May 18 (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) at Shippensburg University.
More CHS GIRLS, page B-2