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Proffitt repeats as L-L champ
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor
, Staff Writer
By his own admission, Cole Proffitt’s form was "terrible" last Friday in the javelin.
So that meant an opening for his competitors at the L-L League Track and Field Championships, right?
Not so much.
Despite his struggles on the runway, the Manheim Central senior still managed to uncork three throws over 200 feet.
And in the end, his heave of 204-1 was plenty good enough to win his second straight L-L gold medal at Hempfield High School. Cocalico’s Jhett Janis took the silver medal with a throw of 176-4.
"For someone to say you threw it perfectly at 205 is kinda like, ‘Alright, what else can I do?’ So if I’m throwing 205 and my form is terrible," Proffitt said, "then that’s awesome for me. That’s great to hear."
Proffitt’s gold led the way for a Barons’ boys team which finished sixth in the overall standings with 41 points. Central also got a silver from Tyler Hoag in the shot put with his throw of 48-11#-R and bronze from the 4×400 and 4×800 relays among their medal haul.
On the girls side, Lauree Wiegand earned a pair of top-four finishes – winning silver in the long jump (16-0) and a fourth-place medal in the high jump (5-0) – and Danae Peters chipped in with a bronze in the 1,600 (5:16.96) as the Lady Barons placed 14th overall with 18 points.
"They did pretty well, I think," Manheim Central head coach Shane Adams said. "The girls didn’t do as well as the previous year (when they tied Penn Manor for third place), but they’re very young."
Proffitt, meanwhile, did just as well as he did the previous year, repeating as the L-L javelin champion with a throw that topped last year’s winning effort of 200-7. He lived up to his number-one seed in the second of two heats, improving on each of his three throws with distances of 194-9, 195-7 and 204-1. That sent him to the finals as the thrower to beat, with Janis second at 176-4, which the Cocalico junior unleashed on his opening throw of heat competition.
"I knew Jhett could pop one any time because he has the ability to do it," Proffitt said. "So I mean, I was still trying to push pretty hard … I was so excited for the League Meet, so that alone pushed me."
Following a throw of 195-6 on his first throw in the finals, Proffitt again broke the 200-foot level on his next two throws, reaching 200-11 and 200-5. Although he wasn’t able to add onto his earlier heave, that mark of 204-1 proved to be insurmountable for the rest of the field.
"I was happy with my distances," Proffitt said. "It was the first time I had three 200’s in a meet and I was happy with that."
"That’s pretty exciting," Adams said. "He’s being consistent in that 200 range."
"I was very pleased with Cole’s series of throws," Manheim Central throwers coach Mike Wise said. "Last year, he threw only two throws all season over 200 feet. Also, when I consider his lack of training due to his injuries (shoulder and foot), it was a great day. As with any technical event, it is difficult to hit perfect positions every time because it all happens in a fraction of a second."
As he prepares for Districts this weekend, where he is the number-one seed in the javelin with his school-record throw of 205-11 at the Penn Relays, Proffitt will be looking to clean up those positions. In addition to needing to move quicker on his approach, Proffitt said he has room for improvement with his footwork.
"My plant leg is bent, my back foot is coming off the ground," Proffitt said. "So basically I’m throwing it off one leg. All those things I just really need to work on … If I can put it all together, big distances are waiting. I’ve just got to do that."
Regardless of what happens down the road, Proffitt has the distinction of winning back-to-back L-L titles.
"That’s awesome defending it," he said. "It’s pretty cool."
"Cole is a very focused and driven athlete," Wise said, "and having spent a good deal of time training with the Cocalico throwers and coach Krall over the last couple of years, he has developed close friendships with them, which in turn has also developed a healthy rivalry. So to repeat as the L-L League champ was definitely one of his several goals for this season."
Mason Hepner was focused in the distance events for MC, anchoring the Barons’ 4×400 and 4×800 relays to bronze-medal finishes. Josh Lachman, Jordan Shimer and Nathanael Erk also ran the 4×800 which crossed the finish line in 8:06.69, shaving 17 seconds off their seed time of 8:23.72. They hold the seventh seed going into Districts.
"They just raced well," Adams said. "I think they can go a little faster (at Districts). I hope they go right around 8:04."
Wade Beamesderfer, Erk and Lachman completed the foursome in the 4×400 and helped the Barons finish with a time of 3:27.34, just three seconds off the winning pace set by ELCO (3:24.59), earning the 10th seed at Districts.
Beamesderfer and Hepner also gave the Barons two medalists in the 400. Competing in the second of three heats with a seed time of 51.94 seconds, Beamesderfer put himself in medal position with a season-best time of 51.32 seconds, taking fifth overall. Hepner was sixth in 51.34 seconds.
"It doesn’t surprise me (to have two medalists in the 400)," Adams said. "Wade Beamesderfer has been running well all year and he’s very competitive. He won his heat and snuck in there for a medal. He just really went after it and ran well."
Lachman also picked up an individual medal by placing fourth in the 800 in 2:00.17 and Chris Lynn finished fourth in the 200 in 22.76 seconds, bettering his seed time (23.64) by nearly a second.
Joining Proffitt with a medal in the throwing events was Hoag, whose throw of 48-11 3/4 was second behind only Hempfield’s J.D. Aument (52-2). Hoag carries the seventh seed into Districts in the shot put at 51-2.
"Although (Tyler) was the junior high L-L shot put champion last year, this year was a whole new level with the heavier shot and more mature competitors," Wise said. "So for him to place second as a ninth-grader was really awesome."
"That’s Tyler’s first second place in a big meet like that," Adams said. "He’s very consistent and has been throwing well all year."
Turning to the girls, Wiegand showed her athleticism with medals in the high jump and long jump, and she nearly earned a third in the 300 Hurdles, placing 12th overall in a personal-best time of 50.44 seconds. Wiegand entered the L-L Championships with a seed time of 51.54 seconds in that event.
"Lauree is capable of placing in a lot of events," Adams said. "She’s a very talented athlete. She had a good meet overall and we were pretty pleased with that."
Wiegand’s effort of 16-0 in the long jump nearly equaled her season-best of 16-1 3/4, despite competing in a driving rainstorm. Lancaster Catholic’s Hannah Knowlton won the long jump with a leap of 16-6 1/4.
"I think (Lauree) just adapted to that rain in the long jump better than the other athletes," Adams said. "She’s just one of those athletes who if you ask her to do an event, she’s able to do it and do it well."
The Central girls’ other medalist was Peters, whose third-place time of 5:16.96 in the 1,600 was just off her seed time of 5:15.80. Still, it marked a two-second improvement from her time at last year’s L-L Meet, when she placed third in 5:18.14.
"I was pretty happy with (my finish). I didn’t get a PR, but I was, like, one second off my PR," Peters said. "(My strategy was to) go out hard and try to stay with (Lampeter-Strasburg’s) Joslin (Sellers) as long as I could and just push it in the last 400 meters."
Sellers ended up winning the silver medal in 5:15.36, behind only gold-medalist Greta Lindsley, of Penn Manor (5:03.95).
Rounding out Manheim Central’s seeds for the District Three Championships are Peters (11th in the 1,600 in 5:15.80 and 16th in the 3,200 in 11:33.36), Hepner (18th in the 400 in 50.84), Beamesderfer (23rd in the 400 in 51.32), Lachman (19th in the 800 in 1:59.74) and Austin Hart (18th in the discus at 141-1).
More PROFFITT, page B-6