The golden feat of Shue

By on May 29, 2019

Ephrata junior wins State 800 title

Ephrata’s Tyler Shue (left) leads the pack down the stretch of the State 800-meter run Saturday. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Ephrata’s Tyler Shue (left) leads the pack down the stretch of the State 800-meter run Saturday. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Standing atop the podium in Shippensburg’s Seth Grove Stadium in 2019 was the only goal for Ephrata’s Tyler Shue after finishing second in the 800 a year ago at the PIAA State Track & Field championships.

His entire season was geared toward that scenario, and it all culminated Saturday with a scintillating performance on a sun-splashed day at Ship.

Seeded just 11th in his signature race, Shue exploded out of the gates and literally never looked back. The Ephrata junior opened up an early 10-meter or so lead, and maintained that advantage until the final stretch where he opened it up and sprinted to State gold in a personal record time of 1:51.55.

In doing so, Shue not only set the L-L League record in the 800, breaking CV’s Jared Weaver’s mark of 1:52.26 set at the 2006 State Meet, but became just the fourth individual in EHS history to win State gold, joining Mary Witmer (intermediate hurdles- 2013, Mark Spang (discus- 1995) and Todd Peck (intermediate hurdles- 1980). The 1970 boys 4 x 400 relay team of Donald Busser, Dennis Hollinsworth, Steve Schaufert and Scott Shelley won the lone relay title in program history.

“It means so much to me,” Shue said moments after hopping from the podium after receiving the gold. “I’ve been putting hard work in for three years now to accomplish this. From the beginning of the year, this has been the goal so all year I was just training as hard as I could with max effort the whole time. And to finally be able to put the medal around my neck just seals the deal and caps of my season on a really high note.”

Shue called it his “best race of the year” from start to finish as he posted the 9th best time run in the country this year. It broke his previous PR and school record of 1:53.88, which he posted in last year’s State final when he finished second only to Collin Ebling of Pottsville.

“It definitely was (my best),” he said. “I thought running that 4:15 mile earlier in the season I couldn’t get much better than that. But being able to put down a fast time in the 800, which is my race, it’s just a little bit more special to me because I’ve been running it since eighth grade. So being able to finally break my PR from last year feels great.”

Last year, Shue posted that PR time after competing in the grueling 4 x 800 relay earlier in the day. Many in the Ephrata camp felt that Shue may have won gold in the 800 a year ago if not for that earlier race. So with that in mind, Shue scratched himself from the 1600 (where he won District silver two weeks ago) to conserve more energy for Saturday’s 800.

In the end, Shue said it was the right move.

“Going into this (800) race fresh was a lot better for me personally because I am used to running multiple events and still putting down a quick time. So mentally going into it fresh I felt a lot more confident in the race and so that definitely was a big factor in my success,” he said.

Normally, Shue’s style has been to allow someone else to grab the lead before kicking to the front at the end. Saturday, he went straight to the front by the first turn.

“I knew there was a lot of speed in the field,” he explained. ‘The guy from Central Bucks West (Blake Ewaskey) I know has a pretty strong kick so I knew I’d have to take it out pretty hard that first lap and try to create space. That way I’d have enough of a gap that even if I would start to slow down he wouldn’t be able to catch me at the end.”

By the end of the first lap, Shue maintained his 10-meter lead and showed no signs of slowing down. The final 300 meters he kicked it into another gear and distanced himself from the field the rest of the way to leave no doubt he was going to win.

“I went through the first lap in like 55 (seconds), and that’s what I wanted,” he said. ‘I was still feeling comfortable so I kept that pace for the next 100 and with 300 left I started to pick it up again. And with 200 left I just emptied the tank with whatever I had. This race it’s all or nothing so you just had to go for it.”

Shue finished nearly two seconds ahead of runner-up Jake Boyd of Council Rock North (1:53.42) and third-place finisher Collin Ochs of Council Rock South (1:53.68).

Shue, who now owns both indoor and outdoor State golds in the 800, joins just a select few in EHS history who have accomplished winning a State title. And he put his stamp on it with his record-setting performance.

“When I saw the clock I knew it was going to be something special,” he said. “As soon as I crossed I looked around at my time and when I saw it was 1:51, I was just so happy. Putting years of training in and finally accomplishing my end goal…I was ecstatic.”

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