Warwick boys secure first L-L League championship

By on May 16, 2019
Warwick’s Nate Good won the silver medal in the boys high jump after clearing the bar at 6-2 at the L-L League Championship Meet. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Warwick’s Nate Good won the silver medal in the boys high jump after clearing the bar at 6-2 at the L-L League Championship Meet. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

As the 4×400 boys relay teams were lining up for the second heat last Saturday, Warwick’s Connor Shields jumped on to the track ready to run.

One problem.

The Warriors were in the third heat.

Fortunately, Noah Martin was nearby and quickly alerted his teammate.

But Shields’ enthusiasm exemplified the Warriors’ mindset at the Lancaster-Lebanon League Track and Field Championships last weekend. They were eager to do anything they could for the team.

“The boys were really upset they didn’t win the Section title,” Warwick coach Alex Daecher said, “and when they got a chance to come back, they were excited to go out and beat people.”

Which is exactly what the Warriors did.

In fact, with 82 1/2 total points, the Warwick boys captured their first-ever L-L crown, holding off runner-up Manheim Township (72) by six points.

Together, the Warrior boys and girls made Warwick the first school to sweep the L-L team titles since Hempfield turned the feat in 2010.

“We worked so hard for this,” said senior Ryan Fegley, who set a school record in the 200 while winning bronze in 22.26 seconds. “We had the undefeated streak going and we dropped one to Township, the one we really wanted. But we kept our heads up and kept practicing hard. We knew we could do it and it means the world.”

“It’s huge,” Daecher said. “It’s never happened before (sweeping the L-L), so I’m very proud of them. No one gave (the boys) anything at the beginning of the season. It was all about our girls. And for them to step up and kinda get out of their shadow, that was great.”

Remarkably, although they took home the team championship, the Warrior boys didn’t win any individual or relay golds. In all, however, nine different athletes accounted for 17 total medals, and Warwick had multiple place-finishers in six events.

“It is really neat that we won the whole thing without a single first place,” Daecher said. “It goes to show that our kids had a team mentality this whole season. As much as our boys wanted to break school records and win their individual events, they definitely talked about their team wins more than anything else. After losing the Section title to Manheim Township, they really had a chip on their shoulders. The motto ‘Revenge Tour’ was mentioned throughout the season. They seemed to constantly want to show everyone that as a team, they could do it. And on Friday and Saturday, they showed the entire league what they are made of, and that is L-L League champions.”

Warwick became the first school since Hempfield in 2010 to sweep the boys and girls team championships at the Lancaster-Lebanon League Meet. The Warrior girls scored 133 points, placing easily ahead of runner-up Conestoga Valley (78) to win their third straight L-L title, while the Warwick boys finished with 82 1/2 points to claim their first-ever L-L League title. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Warwick became the first school since Hempfield in 2010 to sweep the boys and girls team championships at the Lancaster-Lebanon League Meet. The Warrior girls scored 133 points, placing easily ahead of runner-up Conestoga Valley (78) to win their third straight L-L title, while the Warwick boys finished with 82 1/2 points to claim their first-ever L-L League title. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Shields won three medals in the distance events, with bronze in the 3,200 (9:38.21) and 1,600 (4:17.24), while Fegley and Guernel Marcellus had three place-finishes in the sprints. In fact, Fegley’s bronze in the 200 in 22.26 seconds was a school record.

Martin and Nate Good won silver in the 3,200 (9:35.08) and high jump (6-2), respectively, en route to bringing home two medals apiece.

The 3,200 and high jump were both held during Friday’s opening-day action, and the Warriors set things in motion with a strong effort. Martin and Shields (9:38.21) went 2-3 in the 3,200 to secure 14 early team points.

“My time wasn’t great,” Martin said, “but I was happy with how the race played out.”

Good and Christian Hess were no doubt happy with how the high jump played out. Hess joined his teammate on the podium by taking bronze at 6-0.

“(Friday) night couldn’t have gone any better,” Daecher said. “It was unbelievable. Everything went so well.”

In Saturday’s much anticipated 1,600, Shields was in the hunt for the gold from the get-go. Through three laps, Ephrata’s Tyler Shue, CV’s Nate Grucelski and Shields were in the top three. Township’s Evan Dorenkamp overtook Shields early on the final lap, only for the Warrior senior to make a push into second behind only Shue.

“With 350 to go, I thought I had it,” Shields said. “I was feeling good, so I made a little move right there, but those guys just kicked by me.”

In the end, Dorenkamp’s kick earned him the gold, taking the title in 4:14.53 just ahead of Shue (4:15.20). Shields (4:17.24) out-legged Grucelski (4:17.48) for the bronze medal.

“I’m happy with the way I raced,” said Shields, who was less than a second behind his school-record time of 4:16.67 at the West Chester Invitational. “It’s really good competition. Nate had the second time in the State coming in and he got fourth, so that says something about the League. I was coming back from the two-mile (Friday) and I knew those guys were fresh, but I just had to race.”

Martin chipped in with an eighth-place medal in a time of 4:27.40, not far off of his PR of 4:24 at the West Chester Invitational.

“I’m pretty pleased with it,” he said. “It’s not a PR, so obviously I want more, but with it being a double (including the 3200) I’m happy with how it worked.”

Shields also placed fourth in the 800 in 1:58.69.

But it wasn’t just on the track where Warwick was taking care of business. Good came away with a bronze medal in the pole vault after clearing the bar at 13-0. Elsewhere, senior Nick Coomer claimed a fourth-place medal in the shot put with his throw of 48 feet, 8 1/2 inches.

“For the season, my PR is 52-5, so it was a little bit of an off-day,” Coomer said.

After throwing a 46-11 in the trials, he improved to 48-8 1/2 on his second throw in the finals, giving him the bronze-medal spot at that point.

But Northern Lebanon’s Dylan Lambrecht passed him in the third round with a throw of 49-1 1/2.

“I was just trying to heave up my best one (on the third throw) and it wasn’t the best,” Coomer said. “It didn’t feel right. I think I wasn’t flipping my hips enough. But next week, I’m just going to hit practice hard and get ready for Districts.”

In the sprints, Fegley and Marcellus went 3-4 in the 200 in 22.26 and 22.79 seconds, respectively.

Both also competed with Sean Badessa and Hess on the 4×100 relay which placed fourth in 44.33 seconds, but the Warriors — seeded second in 42.95 seconds — were hoping for better.

Fegley and Marcellus were still thinking about that race going into the 200.

“We knew we had to bring our all, so we really went for it,” Fegley said.

Capitalizing on a technique they drilled during the week in workouts was pivotal.

“In practice,” Fegley said, “we learned how to float — drive out the first 60 meters and kinda float, which means you’re not pushing, but you’re maintaining speed and not really getting faster. Then once you get on that home stretch, really buckle down and go for it. That was key. Usually, we burn out by, like, the 50-meter mark on the home stretch, but we had a lot more energy going into it this time.”

Lampeter-Strasburg’s Ezra Mellinger (21.59) and McCaskey’s Da’Avionce Rodriguez (22.22) won gold and silver, but not without a test.

“(My finish) was a good time. I could’ve done better, but it’s good enough,” Marcellus said. “I’ve never raced against Ezra until today, but I heard about him and I’ve heard he’s pretty good. I just always wanted to race against him and see how my speed was against his. He came out better, but I’ll work on that.”

The two Warwick sprinters weren’t done there. Fegley and Marcellus also took home hardware in the 100-meter dash, placing fourth and fifth in 11.24 and 11.31, respectively.

Freshman Jacob Smith was another double winner for the Warriors, running to a seventh-place medal in the 800 in 2:00.18 and teaming up with David Bach, Jeremiah Hendrix, and Parker Keares on the 4×800 relay which took seventh in 8:26.88.

Plus, Tanner Haines chipped in with a sixth-place medal in the 110 High Hurdles in 15.86 seconds.

“You can see, it was a team effort,” Daecher said. “We didn’t just have one or two superstars out there. We had everybody pulling their weight and getting points where we needed them.”

 

About

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *