Whitsett earns four medals to pace Cocalico

By on May 17, 2017
Cocalico’s Demetri Whitsett (left) clears the hurdle during the L-L Meet  this  past  Saturday.  Whitsett  went  on  to  win  four  medals  to pace the Eagles. Photo by Preston Whitcraft

Cocalico’s Demetri Whitsett (left) clears the hurdle during the L-L Meet this past Saturday. Whitsett went on to win four medals to pace the Eagles. Photo by Preston Whitcraft

Demetri Whitsett enjoys staying busy.

That’s why he chose, as he has in every single meet this season, to enter four events this past weekend at the rain-soaked L-L League Track Meet.

“Staying busy keeps me warmed up all of the time so I don’t get lazy…It works for me,” Whitsett said.

There he was Friday, doing the 110 meter hurdles in between his leaps in the high jump and long jump. Saturday, he ran the 110 finals before closing out his meet with the 300 hurdles.

When it was all said and done Saturday afternoon at Hempfield, the Cocalico senior had medaled in all four events and set a school record in the process.

After placing third in the long jump, seventh in the high jump and fifth in the 110 hurdles, Whitsett capped his meet with a silver medal and the new Cocalico mark in the 300 hurdles.

In fact, he led all the way down the stretch before favorites Taraje Whitfield of Penn Manor and CV’s Aanyah Bermudez closed in and created a photo finish among the three. Whitfield was eventually awarded the gold (38.90), Whitsett (38.91) the silver and Bermudez (38.92) the bronze.

“I can’t say enough about Demetri and the way he prepares and competes,” Cocalico Coach Ron Derr said. “This is his second year in-a-row earning four medals at our league meet. There are not a lot of people in my memory who make that statement. His Friday night schedule was absolutely crazy with competing in the 110 hurdle trials, long and high jump at virtually the same time. But he has a fantastic method of remaining calm, also being in the right place at the right time and then just performing. There are few athletes who have competed for Cocalico that just enjoy competing like Demetri does.”

Friday night, Whitsett jumped 22-1 in the long jump to finish third behind champion Jose Barbon of CV (22-9.5) and runner-up David Martin of Hempfield (22-2). He then placed seventh in the high jump by clearing 6-0.

Saturday in the 110 hurdles, it was a two-man race for gold with Bermudez (14.61) edging Whitfield (14.62). Whitsett was a distant fifth with a time of 15.72.

That set the stage for the 300 hurdles, which Whitsett turned on the burners and held a sizable lead at the final turn.

“(Bermudez and Whitfield) had the two best times coming into the meet so that’s just what I aimed for,” he said. “I just wanted to take it out fast and see if they could catch me.”

Unfortunately for him, Whitfield did just that at the finish line.

“I didn’t feel him till the very end because he came up from behind me,” Whitsett said. “I had no clue. I wasn’t sure if I got first or third.”

Derr obviously was tickled with his effort despite just missing out on gold.

“His (300) hurdle race was one of the performances of the year,” Derr said. “In many minds the battle of the hurdles this year was between Whitfield and Bermudez. In his fashion Demetri just quietly prepared well and just missing winning the event. Just before the race began Coach Engle (Cocalico’s hurdle coach) said to the rest of us, ‘I have a good feeling Demetri is really going to perform well,’ and he was absolutely correct. What a race!”

Whitsett’s four-medal performance helped pave the way to a solid seventh place finish in the team standings for the Eagle boys (41 points).

Meanwhile on the girl’s side, Cocalico claimed a pair of throwing medals and one on the track to finish 17th overall with nine points.

“I was very pleased and proud with our overall team performance over the weekend,” Derr said. “The large portion of our kids either improved their finish over where they were seeded, or had their best performance of the year in many cases. Coach Engle really challenged them on the morning bus ride to Hempfield to not allow the weather to be a distraction and focus on only what they can control. The kids really took the message to heart and had a fantastic day.”

On the boys’ side, Cocalico junior Colin Higinbotham threw 133-3 to claim fourth place in the discus. Fellow junior Brad Heck earned sixth place in the javelin with a throw of 166-2 to round out another strong meet for Eagle throwers.

On the track, a pair of individuals earned sixth-place medals. Junior Jake Musselman bested his seeding time of 52.64 with a time of 52.13 to take sixth. And sophomore distance runner Evan Kreider took sixth in a loaded 3,200 field with a time of 9:50.66.

The Cocalico boys capped the day with a pair of medals in the relays. The 4 X 800 team of Evan Kreider, Simon Stull, Nick Stauffer and Dylan Becker placed fourth with a time of 8:17.15, which qualified that foursome for Districts. And in the 4 X 400, Joe Zimmerman, Stauffer, Stull and Musselman ran to a seventh place finish in a time of 3:36.34.

The lone Cocalico girls medals went to throwers Mackenzie Hainley and Kayla South, along with hurdler Hannah Palm.

Hainley, a junior who was javelin champion as a freshman and a silver medalist a year ago, took third in that event with a throw of 111-0. South, a junior, placed seventh in the discus with a throw of 99-7.

Palm, a senior, clinched her berth to Districts with a seventh-place medal in the 300 hurdles (47.99).

“Our boys relays in the 4 X 800 and 4 X 400 really dug deep for best-of-season performances earning them both medals, and in the case of the 4 X 800, another weekend to compete,” Derr said. “Hannah Palm as a senior knowing that if she didn’t run a great race would also be completing her career at Cocalico. It was special to see her run her best time of the year, earning a medal and also the right to run one more week. Our throwing coach Scott Krall got called into work for an emergency and it was really special to see Colin Higinbotham place fourth in discus.”

Up next, the District Three Meet will be held Friday (2 p.m.) and Saturday (9 a.m.) at Shippensburg University.


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