Collision Course: Only four-time champ Ephrata stands in Cocalico’s way of title

By on May 4, 2016
One of the expected key battles next Monday figures to be between Cocalico’s Jamie Zamrin (left) and Ephrata’s Sydney Morgan and Haley Schaller in the distances. Photos by Preston Whitcraft

One of the expected key battles next Monday figures to be between Cocalico’s Jamie Zamrin (left) and Ephrata’s Sydney Morgan and Haley Schaller in the distances. Photos by Preston Whitcraft

For the second-straight year, the girls Section Two title will be on the line when Ephrata and Cocalico get together in the final meet of the season next Monday.

A year ago, Ephrata won a battle of unbeatens, using its depth to capture a 92-58 victory over the Lady Eagles and secure its fourth-straight section title.

Monday, Ephrata will try to play spoilers as the Lady Eagles (6-0) look to complete an unbeaten regular season and dethrone the Lady Mounts as section champs with a victory.

Should Ephrata emerge victorious, Cocalico and the winners of the Garden Spot-Manheim Central meet Monday will finish in a two-way tie at the top.

Ephrata (4-2) lost a pair of 75-75 meets due to tiebreakers to take the Lady Mounts out of contention. Still, they look to be quite formidable.

“Ephrata presents a really tough match up for us and they have been getting better and better as the season has progressed,” Cocalico Coach Ron Derr said. “They are tremendous back-yard rivals and we have had some tremendous competitions throughout the years. This could shape up to be another great one.”

Ephrata Coach John Keller said he is anxious to see how Monday’s meet plays out.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to compete against Cocalico,” Keller said. “They are a great team, one that I picked at the beginning of the year to contend, so this is no surprise. As a coach and athlete you have to look forward to a chance like this and use it as motivation and rise above it. I have already told our girls, we are out of it…we made our own bed, so we can go relax and compete against a great team with league meet and district qualifying standards that we can shoot for. That being said, I still think we are a pretty good track & field team that can compete with anybody, so we’ll see. We are gonna try and win a track meet to close out this season. That would be sweet redemption with all that happened around here this spring.”

Both teams have firepower on the track, but Cocalico may have the edge in the field events and especially the throws with defending L-L champs Emily Stauffer (shot and discus) and Mackenzie Hainley (javelin) anchoring the infield.

On the track, Ephrata holds the edge in the sprints with Jennie Young and Kay Liebl providing a nice one-two punch. Cocalico appears to have the advantage in the hurdles with Steph Wahl and Megan Gingrich in the fold, while distances could go either way as Cocalico’s Jamie Zamrin should battle the likes of Ephrata’s Sydney Morgan, Nadine Eichenlaub and Haley Schaller for crucial points there.

“For us to have a chance we need to be completely healthy and we will need to win the ‘could go either way events,’” Derr said. “Both teams have some absolute top-notch competitors and it makes it tough to really point out where the points will go. Whoever takes the majority of those ‘either way’ events will most likely leave with the victory.”

Keller said second and third-place points could be the difference.

“(The key for us is) our speed and controlling the relays,” he said. “We probably have the edge in the shorter sprints and relays, but it’ll probably be a chess match the whole way through the meet. I mean the match-ups in the distance events can go either way…certainly Jamie Zamrin is a great runner and we have to neutralize her and hope we can take two of the three places in those events. Plus, their throwers are top notch, best in the league with a coach that I highly respect in Scott Krall so we’ll have to scratch and claw any points we can get in the field. Some of these other events, it is just a toss-up. Who is going to rise to the occasion, and who is up to the challenge? It is one of those meets where a second or third place could be the difference.”

Monday afternoon in Denver, Cocalico earned wins in all but one event as the Lady Eagles rolled to an easy 123-22 victory.

Zamrin (400 and 800), Ashley Derr (1,600 and 3,200), Joelle Lehman (100 and long jump), Gingrich (300 hurdles and triple jump) and Stauffer (discus and shot) all were double event winners to pace Cocalico.

Ephrata also was dominant in a 116-34 win at Elizabethtown as the Lady Mounts were led by Kay Liebl’s three wins (100, long jump and pole vault). Amanda Hauser (high hurdles and 300 hurdles) and Kandice Liebl (discus and javelin) each added a pair of wins for the Lady Mounts.

On the boys’ side Monday, Ephrata improved to 3-2 in section play with an 80-70 victory over the Bears to complete the boys/girls sweep.

Charlie Warden (100, 200 and 400) and Wes Morgan (shot put, discus and javelin) both won three events each to lift the Mounts. Mark Njenga added a pair of wins in the long and triple jumps while Zach Lefever (800) and Rhett Hart (1,600) also won key events.

The Cocalico boys, meanwhile suffered an 80-70 defeat at the hands of Lebanon.

The Eagles (3-2) got four wins on the day from Demitri Whitsett, who captured the high hurdles, 300 hurdles, long and high jump events. Other Cocalico winners included: Evan Kreider-3,200; Abdul Saad-shot put; Josh Hoover-discus; and Brad Heck- javelin.

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