Crowning achievement: Hoag leads MC at Districts

By on May 25, 2016
Manheim Central senior Tyler Hoag reached a distance of 56 feet, 4 3/4 inches to win the District Three Triple-A boys shot put title last Friday at Shippensburg. Photo by Preston Whitcraft.

Manheim Central senior Tyler Hoag reached a distance of 56 feet, 4 3/4 inches to win the District Three Triple-A boys shot put title last Friday at Shippensburg. Photo by Preston Whitcraft.

Throughout the season, Tyler Hoag has been shooting to reach the 58-foot mark in shot put.

The Manheim Central senior came close last Friday, but fell slightly less than two feet short.

It didn’t matter.

With his throw of 56 feet, 4 3/4 inches, Hoag still managed to grab the gold medal at the District Three Triple-A Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University.

“It feels pretty good,” Hoag said. “I came in seeded first, so I kind of had a standard to keep. There were a lot of good throwers behind me, so I knew I had to compete.”

That was the first of three medals that Hoag won at Districts, including a fifth in the discus (155-2) and eighth in the javelin (169-10), as the Baron boys finished eighth in the team standings with 25 points.

Billie Jo Bollinger battled a steady rain during Saturday’s action to win bronze in the 300 Hurdles in 46.22 seconds which led the Lady Barons, who finished 26th overall as a team with 10 points.

“I wasn’t very happy with (my time) because I got a 44 before, so I wish I could have dropped that again, but I’m happy with my place,” Bollinger said.

Overall, Hoag and Bollinger were two of five MC athletes who advanced to States, to be held this Friday and Saturday, May 27-28 back at Shippensburg University. Derek Adams (javelin), Heidi Strausbaugh (javelin) and Cole Sunderland (800) have also extended their season one more week.

Extending his cushion over the rest of the Triple-A boys shot put field was Hoag’s goal on Friday. Northern Lebanon’s Dakota Leonhard (54-4 3/4) and Manheim Township’s Ben Viau (54-4 1/4) were close on his heels, but Hoag was able to hold on for his first District gold.

“Pretty good,” Hoag said when asked how he was feeling. “I could have done a little better. It was a good series, but toward the end, I just wasn’t finishing. So I know I have more. I just couldn’t get it together.”

Looking ahead to States, Hoag, a University of North Carolina-Charlotte recruit, is seeded fourth, but Knoch’s Jordan Geist, from District Seven, is the favorite with an eye-popping seed of 72-7.

The Baron senior, though, plans to work hard this week on training and technique to get himself ready for his final high school meet.

“I just need to perform the best I can to see how high I can go,” Hoag remarked. “I’ve been close (to 58), so we’ll see if I can hopefully get that next week.”

Warwick’s Eric Garner set the pace in the javelin with his winning throw of 187-7, but the Barons still put two throwers onto the medal podium in that event behind Adams’ fourth-place throw of 175-9 and Hoag’s eighth-place effort of 169-10.

Later in the discus, Township’s Viau took the gold at 168-0, roughly 13 feet ahead of Hoag, who placed fifth at 155-2. West York’s Luke Hoffman, at 155-9, edged him for the fourth-place medal.

Elsewhere, Bollinger was plenty motivated for the 300 Hurdle finals after suffering a spill in the 100 High Hurdle trials on Friday.

“I wanted this a lot more because this was my last chance to do anything and go to States,” said Bollinger, who placed 12th at Districts in the 300 Hurdles as a freshman in 47.43 seconds. “Being a sophomore, I wanted to show that I could do it and I wanted to get there. (I told myself), ‘This was the last event, last chance, you have to do it.’”

The elements were less than ideal on Saturday, with athletes competing cold, rainy weather, and it contributed a bit to a tough start out of the blocks for Bollinger.

“It was a little slippy, so I wasn’t expecting that,” she said. “I didn’t come out as strong as I should have, but it was good, though.”

Bollinger’s friend Nesta Petit-Ton, of Garden Spot, was in front of Bollinger before slipping at the midway point of the race. She eventually finished out of the medals with a time of 54.77 seconds.

“(Nesta) and I are great friends and I felt really bad for her,” Bollinger said. “She deserved to win, but it was just … unlucky.”

Down the stretch, Bollinger went neck-and-neck with Cumberland Valley’s Paige Geatz, but the MC sophomore outleaned her at the finish. Geatz placed fourth in 46.27 seconds.

“I saw her by my side,” Bollinger recalled. “I’m not supposed to see other lanes, but I saw her there, I knew she was there, and the last five, 10 yards, I was like, ‘I have to get in front of her.’ I thought it was a tie, but apparently not, so that made me really happy (to get the bronze).”

Sunderland, too, found himself in a sprint to the finish with Milton Hershey’s Austin Padmore. In the end, Padmore finished in 1:56.84 to edge out Sunderland (1:57.12) for the bronze. Carlisle’s Matt Wisner finished with top honors in 1:55.92.

“(Padmore) had a good kick, I couldn’t beat him,” said Sunderland, who was seeded fifth in 1:56.64. “(My time)’s not a PR, it’s about a half-second off, but I’ll take it on a day like this.”

In the opening 200 of the race, the leaders got out to a sizzling fast start. Eventually, they settled into a more comfortable pace, and Sunderland’s goal to stay with Lebanon’s Derin Klick paid dividends. Klick took the silver medal in 1:56.77.

“I just wanted to make it to States,” Sunderland said. “I dropped out of the 1,600 so I could be up for the 8 for States. I knew I’d be lining up next to Derin and he beat me pretty good at the League Meet, so I figured if I could run beside him or with him, I thought it would help me with a good time. That was pretty much the goal. We got out pretty fast in front of the group.”

Sunderland had his eyes set on a goal time of 1:54 on Saturday. The rain didn’t help that pursuit, but he will get another shot at it this weekend at States.

“I’d like to pass through the trial stage and make it (to finals) on Saturday. I’ve never been to States, so it’s pretty exciting. At Districts last year, I ran the 1,600 and if I would have run a little bit better, I would have made it to States. So it’s just a nice moment.”

Manheim Central’s other District medalist was sophomore Heidi Strausbaugh, who took fifth place in the javelin with a throw of 118-5, close behind fourth-place finisher Megan Fry (119-7), of Central Dauphin. New Oxford’s Madison Smith set a new District record of 141-0 to win the gold.


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