Proffitt captures District gold medal Peters, two relays shatter school records
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor
, Staff Writer
The weather conditions were perfect for Manheim Central’s Cole Proffitt last Friday.
Unfortunately for the Barons’ senior, the runway for the javelin throw was not.
A newly-replaced patch near the foul line was causing some slippage for the throwers at the PIAA District Three Track & Field Championships at Shippensburg University.
Still, Proffitt managed to overcome that curve ball and heave a throw of 196 feet, 6 inches, which was good enough to capture his first District Three Triple-A gold medal in sunny, warm conditions.
"I’m happy to win, but not with the throw," Proffitt said. "I just have to prepare for it better. I think (the runway) was new and it was a little bit slippy, but that’s no excuse. I need to come mentally focused next time."
Manheim Central’s Danae Peters was mentally focused while earning a sixth-place medal in the girls Triple-A 1,600 in a school-record time of 5:06.77 on Saturday, shattering a 25-year old record previously held by Carina Winters, who ran 5:11 in 1988, and qualifying for States for the first time. The Lady Barons’ junior also took an eighth-place medal in Friday’s 3,200, dropping nearly 11 seconds off her seed time (11:33.36) en route to crossing the finish line in 11:22.94, which also sends her to the PIAA Championships.
"I think (Danae) hoped to qualify for the State meet and break the school record," MC skipper Shane Mack said. "She had a pretty good week of practice, so she was capable of running fast and she did."
Peters, however, wasn’t the only one to break a school record for Manheim Central last Saturday. The Barons’ 4×800 boys (Mason Hepner, Josh Lachman, Jordan Shimer and Nathanael Erk) took seventh-place and advanced to States in a school-record time of 8:00.63, dropping six seconds from their previous best time (8:06.69), and the 4×400 boys (Hepner, Beamesderfer, Erk and Lachman) ran to a record time of 3:25.95 while bringing home an eighth-place medal.
The Barons’ 4×400 relay took more than three seconds off the previous mark of 3:29.4 set by Lee Pfoutz, Brian Bell, Scott Shenk and Mike Ulrich in 1990. The 4×800 relay dropped nearly six seconds off the school record time of 8:06.2, formerly held by Drew Engle, Alex Beamesderfer, Greg Eyer and Corey Johnson since 1990.
"I did (think they were capable of school records), but I didn’t expect the 4×8 to go eight minutes," Mack said. "I expected to see maybe 8:03 or 8:02. I didn’t expect to see eight-flat. I also didn’t expect them to qualify for the State meet because of the competition that was ahead of us when you look at the seeds. But they went and they ran very, very well together as a group."
Barons’ freshman Tyler Hoag also chipped in with a fifth-place medal in the Triple-A boys shot put with a State-qualifying throw of 50 feet, 3 inches, and junior Austin Hart placed eighth in the discus (138 feet, 2 inches).
Overall, Manheim Central will be represented in four individual events and one relay at the PIAA State Triple-A Championships this Friday and Saturday, May 24-25 at Shippensburg. Proffitt is seeded third in the javelin, Hoag holds the 20th seed in the shot put, Peters is 18th in the 1,600 and 23rd in the 3,200, and the boys 4×800 is 22nd.
Ethan Shalaway, of Boyertown in District One, is seeded number one in the javelin at 208 feet, 8 inches, and Luke Smorey, of Baldwin in District Seven, is second at 200 feet, 3 inches.
"That’s the most in my coaching at Manheim that we’ve taken to the State Meet," Adams said. "Last year we took three and all three did individual events. This year is the first time I believe a relay has gone, within my eight years, so it’s pretty neat to see."
It was also neat for the Barons to see Proffitt win his first District gold medal. He grabbed the top seed coming out of heat competition with a throw of 187-5 on his first attempt. Although the Central star fouled on his next two, he was two feet ahead of his friend Jhett Janis, who was second at 185-6.
"(The runway) was in my head. It definitely was, I can’t deny that," Proffitt said. "All I have to do is just ignore that and focus on throwing and I think I should be fine (at States)."
Proffitt’s preparation in the week leading up to Districts included getting his hip into the throw and using his entire body. He improved on his first throw of the finals, reaching 190-9, and then he came through with the eventual-winning heave of 196-6 on his next one.
"I wasn’t throwing well in the beginning because, like I said, that was in my head after I slipped in warm-ups," Proffitt said. "But I kinda took a different angle at the runway (on the 196-6 throw) and tried to avoid that patch that they just put in. And that ended up working for me, not as well as it should, but I got a nice one out there."
He ended up needing that throw when Janis broke off a throw of 191-1 on his final attempt, which locked up the silver medal.
"I definitely had relief after hitting that 196 and then knowing that I had it locked up," Proffitt said. "… Honestly, I’m just glad to see (Janis) back in the 90’s. We’re buddies and we train together and stuff like that, so it’s good to see him doing well."
The seasonable weather didn’t hurt Proffitt’s ability to do a little bit better.
"I love it. When it’s hot and no wind, it’s perfect," he said. "It can be 100 degrees and I’d be fine with it. It’s better than cold and windy."
Needless to say, Proffitt will be hoping for more hot weather this Saturday when he looks to cap his high school career with a State gold. In the meantime, he will cross the District title off his checklist of things to do.
"To win is awesome. It’s always awesome," he said. "But like I said, I just have a lot of work to do."
Peters went right to work in the 1,600, going out with the leaders en route to running a career-best time.
"She ran well," Adams said. "The concern is sometimes her not going out fast enough and then getting behind (the leaders). Some of those girls in the mile also have good 800-meter speed and 400-meter speed."
One of those girls is Lampeter-Strasburg’s Joslin Sellers, who easily beat Peters when the two teams faced off in dual-meet action. This time, Sellers finished just one second ahead of the Lady Barons’ junior in 5:05.97.
"Danae didn’t lose that contact with her, so she maintained it," Adams said. "She’s made a huge improvement from that last time they raced."
Peters also made a huge improvement from her previous best time in the 3,200 on Friday. Just as she did in the mile, Peters got a strong start to the race, climbing as high as seventh place after five laps in a time of 7:05. Lower Dauphin’s Ella Breidenstine overtook her on the seventh lap, but Peters didn’t relinquish her spot easily.
"I was just like, ‘I need to stay with her,’" Peters said. "I was going for PR and I think I got that. It was a really fast race, but I felt really good, and I just (thought), ‘I’m going to go for it.’"
Peters ended up finishing just over one second behind Breidenstine (11:21.64) while shaving 11 seconds off her time.
"Often times, my sixth and seventh laps are kinda slow, so I was like, I really need to push those laps to try to make them faster than they normally are," Peters said.
"I believe the two mile will end up being her best event when it’s all said and done in her high school career because she’s so consistent with each lap," Adams said. "But she did throw some speed out there this past weekend too."
More PROFFITT, page B-7