EHS girls take third without Liebl

By on May 13, 2015

 Senior star gets green light for Districts

Ephrata’s gold-medal winning 4X800 team of (left to right) Taylor Mahlandt, Megan Mahlandt, Haley Schaller and Sydney Morgan pose after winning the title with a time of 9:41.96. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Ephrata’s gold-medal winning 4X800 team of (left to right) Taylor Mahlandt, Megan Mahlandt, Haley Schaller and Sydney Morgan pose after winning the title with a time of 9:41.96. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Without injured star Kelly Liebl, the Ephrata girls were playing against a stacked deck this past weekend at the L-L League Meet held at Hempfield.

But that didn’t stop the rest of the squad from going after it. And when things were all said and done late Saturday afternoon, all things considered, the Lady Mounts’ third place finish was indeed quite an accomplishment.

Liebl, the defending 100-meter champion who was held out the L-Ls due to a hamstring injury, watched from the sidelines as the Ephrata girls won one gold, three silvers and a bronze to place third with 54 points behind only champion Hempfield (105) and runner-up Cocalico (64).

The Lady Mounts’ lone gold of the weekend came in the 4X800 relay as the team of Megan Mahlandt, Sydney Morgan, Taylor Mahlandt and Haley Schaller took first place with a time of 9:41.96. Megan Mahlandt added a second place in the 800 with a PR time of 2:21.56, senior Erica Voigt placed second in the triple jump with a PR of 34-4¼, and the girls 4X100 relay of Kay Liebl, Ariel Smith, Jennie Young and Cassie Vaitl also took a silver with a time of 49.65.

Kay Liebl, the younger sister of Kelly, grabbed the only third place finish for Ephrata in her sister’s signature event. She won the bronze in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.93.

On the boys’ side, Ephrata placed in a pair of events including the 3200 where Zach Lefever grabbed third place with a PR time of 9:46.29 and Nate Becker placed sixth with a time of 9:54.79.

Also, the 4X800 team of Peneal Wolde, Becker, Dayne Wetzel and Chris Hershberger took bronze with a time of 8:10.74.

“Overall I was pleased,” Ephrata Coach John Keller said. “The girls stepped up in several events including the triple jump, the 800 and 300 hurdles to score points and just as important secure District Three spots. Our 4X1 team ran the fastest time of the season and finished second, plus it certainly was nice to see Kay on the medal stand in both the 100 and long jump…something tells me there was a bit extra incentive there. Both (girls and boys) teams together secured 11 personal records (eight for the girls and three for the boys), so when you see most of your kids putting it out and laying it on the line like that in a championship meet you have to be happy.”

“Obviously it was disappointing not to have Kelly be a part of what would have been her last L-L League meet,” he continued. “She has meant so much to this team as well as the four-year (section championship) run this program has put together. It just re-iterates in sports you cannot take things for granted. But I think the girls responded well and with a total of 54 points we actually outscored last year’s team total and placed higher, so yeah…looking at the meet as a whole, I think you have to be real pleased.”

The girls 4X800 race didn’t go as planned for Ephrata, which dropped the baton on the first hand-off. Fortunately, there was enough time to make up the time lost, and that’s exactly what they did.

“Any time you win a race at the L-L League meet you have to be happy,” Keller said of the race. “The girls’ 4X8 did not run as the coaches would have drew it up, but the eventual planned outcome was the same. Freshman Megan Mahlandt led off and we found ourselves in second at the exchange with a lot of traffic with other athletes making the same exchange. Haley Schaller was running second and must have gotten bumped and the baton got jarred loose and fell to the ground. Fortunately it was not kicked and Haley could pick it right up. (Haley) knew she was in the position to make up the deficit and she did so with a vengeance. Taylor Mahlandt ran the third leg and held on to the lead then it was up to another freshman (Morgan) to hold on. Syd had to run a 2:22, but she held onto the lead to give the girls the ‘W’. Two freshman, one sophomore and a junior…it’s pretty hard to argue with the results these girls have put out this spring, a school record followed by a league title.”

In the boys’ 4X800, which was won by Cedar Crest (8:00.99), Ephrata finished behind runner-up McCaskey (8:05.41) for third place but posted the program’s fastest time in that event since Keller took over in 2004.

“While it is nine seconds shy of the school record, I thought the guys really laid it on the line and ran a great race,” Keller said. “Peneal took it out and put the boys in great position early with a 2:02.1 split, then Becker, Wetzel and Hershberger just followed suit and held on to the third spot. They ran a great race last week at the Township relays and came back with an even better race this week. I am very proud of the boys. I think they are sitting pretty good for Districts and they should be very confident going into next weekend.”

In addition to the above-mentioned performances, other place winners for Ephrata included: Kay Liebl, fourth in the long jump (15-11¼); Schaller, fourth in the 800 (2:22.76); Morgan, sixth in the 1600 (5:17.89); Voigt, fifth in 300 hurdles (47.91, PR); and Samantha Weaver, sixth in the 300 hurdles (48.51 PR). The girls 4X400 relay of Weaver, Megan Mahlandt, Sara Holtz and Voigt also earned fifth place with a time of 4:14.55.

Up next, the District Three Meet will be held Friday and Saturday at Shippensburg University.

The big question on everyone’s mind is will Liebl, the defending District champion in the 100 and a silver medalist in the lump jump, bit healthy enough to compete?

According to Keller, all signs are “go” at this point, although she will not be entered in her signature event.

“Kelly is entered in the long jump, 400 meter dash and will anchor the 4X100 relay at Districts,” Keller said Monday. “Obviously this will only happen if we have a clean week at practice, and she can hold up throughout the meet. She has been receiving treatment and has been cleared to compete. As painful as the decision was not to run the 100, we stayed away from that event because of the explosive start and that is the event she has injured herself with both times this season. I feel she is confident with the events chosen, and it will give her the best chance for success.”

In addition to Liebl, other Ephrata athletes who qualified to compete at Districts include: Jordan Carvell- 3,200-meter run (11:36.84); Kay Liebl- 100-meter dash (12.64) & long jump (16-11); Megan Mahlandt- 800-meter dash (2:21.56); Sydney Morgan- 1,600-meter run (5:14.84); Haley Schaller- 800-meter run (2:22.76); Erica Voigt- 300 hurdles (47.91) & triple jump (34-4.75); Samantha Weaver- 300 hurdles (48.51); Jennie Young- 100-meter dash (12.84); Nate Becker- 3,200-meter run (9:40.00); Zach Lefever- 3,200-meter run (9:46.29); the girls’ 4X100 relay (49.65); the girls 4X800 relay (9:36.53); and the boys 4X800 relay (8:10.74).


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