Local track athletes strike L-L gold Mueller is a ‘great example’ while taking the 3,200 gold Proffitt, Mummau shatter school marks for the Barons
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
Warwick’s Ben Mueller and Solanco’s John Ausel were both exhausted as they came down the home stretch in the boys 3,200-meter run at the Lancaster-Lebanon League Championships last Friday.
That, Mueller said, was the reason that the two runners made contact.
"I don’t think he was trying to cut me off or anything, nothing like that," the WHS senior said. "We were both just giving it our all."
The officials, though, deemed that Ausel’s illegal contact with Mueller was worthy of disqualification, and although the Solanco runner crossed the finish line first, the gold medal was awarded to Mueller, who completed the race in 9:40.33. All others in the field also moved up one spot.
"That’s obviously not the way I want to win," Mueller said. "I ran a good race, I was happy with my race, but (Ausel) ran a better race. I know he would have beaten me, hopefully he knows he would have beaten me, but they just called it and there’s nothing we could do about it."
Warwick distance coach Ed Nixdorf added, "They both lost their balance after the contact, and the elbow was thrown, but it wasn’t thrown because (Ausel) was trying to bump anyone. It was thrown because he was trying to get his balance back. It was very obvious they were both tired, they were both wobbly and contact was made. And Ben was still in his path and that’s why Ausel got DQ’d. Ben was in his path, Ausel was not."
Mueller’s gold was one of eight medals that Warwick athletes brought home from the L-L Championships at Hempfield High School last Friday and Saturday. Team-wise, the Warwick boys tied for 12th place with Manheim Central, each with 19 points, while the girls finished 11th with 22 points.
Furthermore, Warwick got 14 qualifiers for this weekend’s District Three Triple-A Championships to be held at Shippensburg.
"We had a lot of PR’s, we had a lot of surprises, so the kids did really well," Warwick head coach Katie Vann said. "Ben was just a great example for our team and for everybody there. But for the kids in general, it was just a great performance and end to the (L-L) season."
It was certainly no surprise to see Mueller and Ausel separate themselves from the pack in the second mile of the boys 3,200. The two runners’ seed time were less than a second apart, with Ausel at 9:37.62 and Mueller at 9:38.39, which the Warwick junior ran at the Henderson Invitational one weekend before.
Although he acknowledged that his legs were still a little tired from Henderson going into the last mile, Mueller was executing his strategy to perfection.
"The race really panned out to what I expected it to be," Nixdorf said. "I didn’t know who was going to take the lead. Ausel took it right away and everything he did, Ben reacted to and even when Ben went at the end, he reacted to it."
The runners faced a stiff head wind in the backstretch, but Mueller made his move to pass Ausel with about 250 meters left. Ausel, though, still had time to counter and he caught Mueller in the final 100 meters.
"I think I caught him by surprise when I did go," Mueller said, "but then he had plenty of time to respond. I think maybe if I would have gone at 150 instead of 250, I might have had a better shot at him."
With the two runners jockeying for position in the final straightaway, that, of course, led to the controversial finish.
"Bittersweet," Nixdorf said. "It was a great race by both of them."
Great races were also turned in by the WHS boys and girls 4×800 relays. In fact, the boys’ foursome of Mueller, Mike Urban, Phil Headland and Chris Sandkuhler shaved eight seconds off their seed time of 8:14.26 while placing fourth in 8:06.23. On the girls team, Kristi Reidenbaugh, Bethany Han, Amanda Graber and Rachel Mueller each ran a PR as they dropped 18 seconds off their seed time en route to winning the bronze in 10:00.58.
"We expected a possibility of coming in second for the boys and third for the girls, so we were right where we wanted to be in the race," Nixdorf said. "We were expecting to be in the hunt and we were real satisfied with what we did. We got into the District Meet in both and we’re excited to have another chance at it."
Watching both teams finish with significant PR’s was a positive sign for the coaches.
"We’re peaking, which is good," Nixdorf said.
"Both of our 4×8 teams ran great times," Vann added.
In other action, senior Bailey Groves had a solid throw of 35 feet, 2 inches which earned her the silver medal in the shot put. Elizabethtown’s Sarah Fairbanks captured the gold medal with a throw of 39-8.
"I’m pretty happy with it," Groves said. "Obviously, Sarah is really good and I’ve been friends with her for awhile and I’m proud of her for throwing 39 (feet) … I felt like I had more to give, but hopefully this weekend (at Districts) where it really counts is when I can actually do it."
Groves admitted that she threw better in warm-ups than she did in the actual competition, but with a season-best throw of 37-4 under her belt at the Township meet earlier in the season, the Warwick senior knows that she has the potential.
"I think I psych myself out a little bit sometimes," Groves said. "I just have to stop doing that and learn to relax."
Warwick throwers coach Alex Daecher said that Groves has been working extra hard lately and has been open to trying a couple new drills, so he is hoping for the best at Districts.
"She’s had a great season and a great career," Groves said. "It’s been four years culminating to this now and I know she wanted first really bad. I think she knows she has more in her. Hopefully we have four days here to get it out of her for Districts."
The Warwick boys, too, had a couple of medalists in the field events, where Landon Hess finished fourth in the high jump by clearing the bar at 6-0, and Colin Garner took sixth in the javelin with a throw of 161-10.
Garner punched his ticket to Districts with a throw of 178-0 at the Henderson Invitational, so he was a little disappointed not to throw in the 170-foot range at Leagues.
"I could have done better," Garner said. "I wasn’t too happy with it. I was thinking too much and trying too hard … You’ve just got to have fun and let it happen."
Daecher, though, believes that when the competition increases at Districts, Garner will be ready for the challenge.
"Colin did well," Daecher said. "Colin came from a no name at the beginning of the year to now competing with the elite and he just didn’t throw as well as he wanted to throw. He had a little bit of a head wind and it just didn’t turn out the way he wanted it to. I think when he gets to Districts next week, he’ll step his game up … his best throw is in good competition (at Henderson) so that’s good to know that he can do it under pressure."
Reidenbaugh, a senior, and Maddie Class, a freshman, got the job done under pressure in the 3,200, placing third and fifth respectively. Reidenbaugh’s finish in 11:50.80 was a career-best, while Class (12:10.19), even while battling a tough head wind, missed the District-qualifying time by just three seconds in her first year.
"We’re real satisfied and really happy that Kristi got in Districts," Nixdorf said, "and Maddie missed it by three seconds which is still good for a ninth-grader. I thought we could take third and fourth and we took third and fifth. So they ran very smart. The head wind on the whole back stretch was just terrible, but they had decent times."
Reidenbaugh was actually second behind winner Greta Lindsley (11:32.81) of Penn Manor, and then the Comets’ Breanne Funk (11:49.73) caught her off the final turn and edged her at the finish. But Reidenbaugh was still happy to beat her fourth-place seed.
"I just didn’t have anything left (on the home stretch) and (Funk) had a final kick," Reidenbaugh said. "But I’m really happy. (Maddie and I) both beat our seeds and ran a good race."
Class, too, was happy with her place in her first-ever L-L Championship Meet.
"My time wasn’t the best, but I beat my seed, so I was pretty happy with that," Class said. "I was 14 seconds off (a PR). For a windy day, I’ll take it." Manheim Central’s Cole Proffitt has tried to set new goals for himself in the javelin at every track and field meet this spring.
Considering he launched a throw of 197 feet, 3 inches in the final week of the regular season, it was natural for the Barons’ junior to focus on the 200-foot plateau at the Lancaster-Lebanon League Championships at Hempfield High School on Friday.
Finally on the last throw of the finals, Proffitt eclipsed that mark, reaching 200 feet, 7 inches which clinched the L-L gold medal and broke the school record of 197-8 which was previously held by Jack Iosue.
"I was really excited. I wasn’t really expecting it considering my prelim throws weren’t quite exactly up there," Proffitt said, "and I just kinda put it all together on that last throw."
Proffitt also took home a bronze with a person-best performance in the long jump, senior Breanna Barber added a gold in the high jump, senior Morgan Mummau came home with four medals, including three silvers and two new school records in the sprints, and sophomore Danae Peters won two medals in the distance events. Overall, MC won 13 total medals, as the girls squad tied for third place overall with Penn Manor, each with 55 points, and the boys tied Warwick for 12th place with 19 points.
"That was pretty good," Central coach Shane Adams said of the girls’ third-place finish. "About six girls scored those points and if you look at the other two schools that were ahead of us (Hempfield and Ephrata), they had multiple girls score their points, so it was pretty neat to watch them do that."
It was also pretty neat to watch Proffitt shatter the record which Iosue set in 2008.
"(Cole)’s been so consistent in the 190’s the past three weeks," Adams said. "It was just a matter of time before he did it."
On Friday, however, Proffitt might have been wondering if he was going to hit that mark at Leagues. In his previous attempts, his best heave was in the 180’s.
However, Proffitt knew his final throw was a good one when the javelin left his hand.
"It felt like a great throw, but I didn’t think it was going to be 200 considering what my previous throws were," said Proffitt, who will be competing with the NSSF team representing the U.S. in the Carribean Scholastic Invitational in Puerto Rico on June 1-2. "I definitely knew it was in the 190’s at least, but I didn’t think it was going to be 200. I knew in my mind I just needed to do a five step and basically just attack it aggressively and I hit my block nice and hit the point and attacked it and it flew."
Still amped from breaking 200 feet in the javelin, Proffitt then jumped 20 feet, 8 1/4 inches on his next long jump attempt, which earned him the bronze medal. It also broke his previous personal best of 20-5 in that event.
"When it came to long jump, I was just going there to see how it would go, just to do another event," he said. "I wasn’t expecting any medal for that at all, actually. I was just going to focus on javelin. But the bronze in the long jump was just an extra add-on, which was awesome."
Proffitt will now take that effort of 200-7 into this weekend’s District Three Triple-A Championships as the number one seed in the javelin. Cocalico’s Kyle Felpel is right behind him with a distance of 198-7.
The Manheim Central junior has already improved on the Barons’ sophomore javelin record of 177-1, but he wants to continue to make progress.
"I’ve been putting more time into it and taking it a lot more serious," Proffitt said. "It was definitely a season goal (to get the school record), but my goal for the season is 210."
Mummau, too, is no stranger to breaking her share of records, and last Saturday, the MC senior shattered her own marks in the 100 and 200 in 12.18 and 25.33 seconds, respectively.
Unfortunately, Hempfield’s Sarah Helgeson was a little bit better, as the Black Knights’ sophomore edged her in both events in 12.05 and 24.94 seconds. Helgeson then easily won the 400 in a meet record time of 56.34 seconds, with Mummau taking the silver in 58.80.
"I felt really good," Mummau said. "Even though I didn’t win or anything, I was still really pleased with how I performed because I had PR’s in almost all my events, so that was really good."
"(Morgan) ran fast — Sarah just ran faster," Adams said. "It was competitive."
Mummau carried over the momentum which she gained at the Stan Morgan Invitational on May 5, where she gold in the 100 and 400 and silver in the 200. She then had a solid week of practice and was ready to defend the golds that she won in the 100 in the past two years and the 200 in 2011.
Knowing the competition that was there, however, in Helgeson and Ephrata’s Kelly Liebl, Mummau acknowledged that she had some nerves before racing.
"I just tried to focus on myself and just running my fastest time and controlling what I could control," Mummau said. "(Helgeson) is really good and really talented and I can’t control her. I can control myself. Obviously I was a little disappointed I didn’t win just because I won the 100 the past two years. but then again, my time this year is almost half a second faster than it was last year at Leagues. So that’s nothing to be ashamed of."
Like Proffitt, Mummau said that taking the bronze in the long jump at 16-4 was an extra bonus. Up until this year, she hadn’t really trained seriously in that event, but with Randi Boyd graduating from last year’s squad, Mummau stepped up for the Lady Barons. Saturday, and her hard work was rewarded. Her personal best was a 16-9 at the Stan Morgan Invitational.
"I just kinda did it for fun, and then this year I kinda got a little more serious about it," Mummau remarked. "Getting third, I was pretty happy with that."
Looking ahead to Districts, she is seeded third in the 100 and fifth in the 200.
"My goal right now is to get top five in those events because top five go to States," Mummau said. "And then obviously, I’d love to PR or at least stay consistent with my times from this weekend."
Barber has been a model of consistency this season in the high jump. Earlier, she cleared 5-4 to break the MC track and field program’s oldest-standing record, a 39-year mark set by Sue Thomas in 1973.
On she once again performed at a high level and cleared the bar at 5-2. Solanco’s Emily Allport also reached that height, but Barber had fewer misses to clinch the gold medal.
"She made a couple good attempts at 5-4," Adams said. "We thought all it would take (for the gold) is 5-2 and it would go down to misses. And we thought she would easily do that because she is very consistent over 5-2."
In the distance events, Peters battled Penn Manor’s Greta Lindsley through the first half of the girls 3,200 and eventually settled for the fourth-place medal in a time of 12:01.90. She also won bronze in the 1,600 in 5:18.14.
"What was neat about (the 3,200) is that she tried to race the Penn Manor girl," Adams said. "She went out and she tried to race her and we were happy with her. She stayed with her through the first four laps."
In other action, Sophia Iosue placed fourth in the girls discus at 102-8, Austin Hart was fifth in the boys discus at 131-9, Renee Wiegand took sixth in the girls javelin at 109-0, and the boys 4×800 relay finished sixth in 8:10.08. More MC TRACK, page B-8 More WARWICK TRACK, page B-8