Reaching expectations

By on April 3, 2019
Lily Palacio-Lewis takes the hand-off from Meghan Quinn for the anchor leg in the Warwick girls’ 4x100 relay in Monday’s meet against McCaskey. The Warriors went on to win the event in a time of 48.0 seconds. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Lily Palacio-Lewis takes the hand-off from Meghan Quinn for the anchor leg in the Warwick girls’ 4×100 relay in Monday’s meet against McCaskey. The Warriors went on to win the event in a time of 48.0 seconds. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

WHS boys and girls remain tied for first

The importance of the 4×400 relay in track and field can’t be emphasized enough.

As the 11th and final event on the track, the outcome of a meet is often decided in that race.

“So much always comes down to that 4×4,” Warrior assistant Bobby Rhoads said, “so you want to have gutsy kids there.”

In freshman Jacob Smith, junior Jeremy Bell, and seniors Ryan Fegley and Connor Shields, the Warwick boys have exactly that.

In a thrilling race, those four pulled out a first-place finish in a PR time of 3:33.3 and the Warriors improved to 2-0 by defeating McCaskey 93-57 in a Section One clash Monday afternoon in Lititz.

The Warwick girls (2-0), meanwhile, got two individual wins from junior Lily Palacio-Lewis and completed the sweep with an 88-62 victory.

“Looking at us five, six years ago, we were hoping to stay competitive with people,” Warwick head coach Alex Daecher said. “Now being able to sweep a top-notch program like McCaskey, I can’t say enough about them. (McCaskey’s) kids are fast, they compete hard and are very well-coached. But for our kids, it goes back to when you set high expectations. The kids tend to reach them and I think that’s what our coaches have done for our kids.”

Warwick’s kids on the boys 4×400 had their hands full, but Smith gave them an early lead.

“(Jacob)’s an athletic phenom right now for us and he led off fantastically,” Rhoads said.

The Tornado, though, didn’t go away, and in neck-to-neck races on the next two legs, Bell and Fegley got the baton to Shields with a five-meter lead.

“McCaskey’s anchor is a tough kid,” Rhoads said. “He went after him quick and Connor, coming more from the distance background, he went out a little slower maybe than he should have and the kid hawked him down pretty quick.”

Shields answered, however.

In the final 100 meters, with the outcome hanging in the balance, the Warrior senior got the job done, crossing the line in 3:33.3. That was a five-second drop from the relay’s time of 3:38.4 in their season-opening meet at Cedar Crest.

“They were neck-and-neck and Connor ended up pulling ahead and maybe won by two, three steps,” Rhoads said. “The whole team was pretty excited about it. It was a big race for the meet and a big race for them.”

There were other heroes on this day too.

Senior thrower Nick Coomer won golds in the shot put (52-5) and discus (127-1), along with silver in the javelin (140-10), as the Warriors outscored the Tornado 41-22 in the field.

“What can you say? Nick’s been huge for helping the boys,” Daecher said.

So has sophomore Nate Good, who earned wins in the high jump (6-4) and pole vault (11-6), along with bronze in the long jump (18-6 1/2).

Smith, meanwhile, added a victory in the 800 (2:07.0), to go with silver in the 1,600 (4:39.4). Noah Martin took the 3,200 (10:11.6) and Bell was victorious in the 1,600 (4:39.4).

In the sprints, Fegley won the 200 (22.3) and Shields brought home top honors in the 400 (52.1).

Martin, Shields, Marcus Wachira and Bell led off with a victory in 4×800 (8:26.5), shattering the track track record (8:28.7) formerly set by Manheim Township’s Maurer, Riley, Horton and Velozwong-Antocacci in 2017, and the foursome of junior Sean Badessa, Fegley, senior Christian Hess, and Guernell Marcellus took the 4×100 in 44.7.

“Our boys jumpers like Christian and Tanner Haines and Nate Good have been solid getting us points left and right,” Daecher said. “Ryan Fegley won the 200 today. I mean, I can rattle off names … Noah and Shields and everybody is stepping up.”

Ditto for the girls.

Palacio-Lewis led a 1-2 Warwick finish in the 100, reaching the finish line in 11.6 seconds, just ahead of senior Leah Graybill (11.7), and she claimed top honors in the 200 (25.2) and silver in the long jump (16-0). Meghan Quinn added runner-up finishes in the 200 (25.5) and triple jump (33-11 1/2).

With key athletes such as senior Jaylyn Wagner and juniors Juliette Delmotte and Cassidy Kline currently unavailable due to injury, others are trying new events and earning crucial points.

“The neat thing about it is, sometimes track can be such an individual sport,” Daecher said, “and it’s great to see the kids say, ‘Yeah, I’ll go try something new. The team needs me to do this? Fine, I’ll go do it.”

Graybill added a win in the 400 in 57.2 seconds and teamed up with Emily Williamson, Quinn and Palacio-Lewis to claim the 4×100 (48.0), as Warwick held a 56-31 edge in track events.

“Our girls sprinters have expectations that they set among themselves that they’re going to perform at a high level,” Daecher said, “And they do that week in and week out. One of the hard parts of track is consistently and it just shows how talented they are that they come out and do it every time.”

Sophomore Emily Skidmore took gold in the High Hurdles (17.4) and silver in the 300 Hurdles (51.8), while senior Kate Dickow took the 3,200 (11:54.8) and sophomore Anna Martin won the 1,600 (5:29.8) to lead the distance events.

Wrapping things up on the track for the Warwick girls, the foursome of Aubrey and Emily Williamson, Graybill and Quinn won the 4×400 in 4:03.7.

In the field events, sophomore Katy Kramer took the pole vault (7-9), senior Trinity Bitting-Ellis was first in the high jump (5-0) and second in the javelin (16-0), while sophomore Madelyn Snavely (88-0) and freshman Anna Mateyak (84-1) took 1-2 in the discus. Snavely also won silver in the shot put (28-11 1/2).

“Our girls throwers stepped up,” Daecher said. “In the discus, they got first and second, which was huge. It was like the nail in the coffin.”

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