District gold!

By on May 21, 2014
Warwick's David Lucas displays the gold medal he won in the District Three Triple-A discus with a throw of 163 feet, 10 inches last Friday at Shippensburg.

Warwick’s David Lucas displays the gold medal he won in the District Three Triple-A discus with a throw of 163 feet, 10 inches last Friday at Shippensburg.

Lucas wins discus; qualifies for States with Harpel

Warwick sophomore Ian Harpel was calm, cool and relaxed in the 400 at last weekend’s District Three Track and Field Meet.

Junior David Lucas was less than relaxed following a tough finish in the shot put. But he loosened up prior to throwing the discus.

Unruffled, they both qualified for the State Track and Field Championships.

Lucas claimed his first District gold medal in the discus with a heave of 163 feet, 10 inches, while Harpel, seeded 14th, opened eyes while shaving more than a half second off his PR, leading him to a silver medal in 50.12 seconds at Shippensburg University’s Seth Grove Stadium. Led by those two, the Warriors placed 12th with 19 points.

“David is supposed to be here at States,” Warwick coach Alex Daecher said. “He has had big throws on the big stage and I think he is going to do great this weekend. This will be a great culmination of hard work and dedication to a task at hand. I have all the confidence that he will preform well.

“I have been calling Ian a nickname, ‘The Nail,’ amongst the coaches lately,” he added. “When running the 4×400 this year, he has really been the nail in the coffin for that relay team. Whenever that last leg of the race comes up, he knows how to finish it and finish strong. When he is out there, whether he is leading or trying to catch up, there is no doubt in my mind that he is going to win. I feel the same now with him going to States. He is going have a great end to this season.”

Warwick's Ian Harpel gets a fast start in the District 400 on his way to winning the silver medal last Saturday.

Warwick’s Ian Harpel gets a fast start in the District 400 on his way to winning the silver medal last Saturday.

The season-ending PIAA Championships will be held back at Ship this Friday and Saturday, where Lucas and Harpel will look to continue their momentum on the big stage.

“It’s so exciting to be a District champion,” Lucas said. “Last year, I got fourth in Districts and I was excited to be on the medal stand as a sophomore. My junior season, getting the gold is fantastic.”

Thanks to his school record throw of 180 feet, 6 inches at the Penn Relays in April, Lucas was the favorite to bring home District gold on Friday. But after placing 11th in the shot put earlier in the day with a throw of 46-0, an event in which he was seeded 9th (47-#-R), Lucas needed to get himself into the proper mindset.

“He was kinda in a bad mood about (the shot put),” Warwick coach Alex Daecher said, “but he shook it off. He throws better when he’s a little looser and not real tight and nervous. He loosened up a little bit.”

“I did my absolute best to just sorta clear my head and shake it off from shot because I can’t let one event carry over to the other &tstr; I especially can’t let my secondary event carry over to my primary event,” Lucas remarked. “I feel like it affected me a little bit, but I was able to shake off the majority of what I was feeling.”

On his second throw in flight competition, Lucas uncorked a solid throw of 163-10. It wasn’t his best, but good enough to hold up for the gold medal, just over six feet ahead of Fleetwood silver-medalist Morgan Shigo (157-7).

“It was a little less than exciting distance-wise,” Lucas said. “I was just a little choppy in the circle when I was throwing.”

Certainly, the elements weren’t ideal, as the wind sent the disc into a flutter at times. Lucas made no excuses, and Daecher was pleased to see him overcome the adversity from shot put.

“(David) threw well,” Daecher said. “I don’t think he got what he wanted. I think he was looking to break some records and get back to 180 but he still looked good. He threw a couple nice ones. It kinda got up in the air sometimes and fluttered and fell. The ones he kept flatter definitely went a lot nicer.”

Lucas is seeded 5th at States behind Hempfield’s (District 7) Max Adams (186-11), Midd-West’s Jacob Shaffer (169-10), Coatesville’s Darrik Muroski (168-10) and Coughlin’s Anthony Khalife (164-5).

“I was just having a real good day at Penn and I know I can be very consistent up with those throws,” Lucas remarked. “I just didn’t have that great of a day at L-L’s, I just didn’t have that great of a day today. I’ve just got to keep working on being smooth in the circle and I’ll come back here next week and throw something big.”

Harpel certainly dug deep for a big performance on Saturday, easily shattering his previous PR of 50.94 seconds in the 400. Competing in the first of his two heats, he broke the tape in 50.12. That was faster than every athlete in the second heat, except for James Buchanan junior Peter Hughey (49.59).

“All I can say about Ian is, ‘Wow,’” Daecher said. “He really showed up on the big stage. To get a silver medal at a District track meet as a sophomore is special. He has a bright future ahead of him.”

“Today, I was really feeling it and I was just hoping to run the best I can,” Harpel said. “I ended up coming in first place in my heat, so I’m really happy about that. Second place overall I think is pretty good for a sophomore.”

On the back stretch, running into a head wind, Harpel was running toe-to-toe with Northern Lebanon’s Tyler Whitman, then found an extra gear coming out of the second turn. He ended up placing just ahead of Manheim Central’s Wade Beamesderfer, who crossed the finish in 50.75.

“(Whitman) definitely helped me pace myself,” Harpel recalled, “and then I gave myself the extra boost on the second corner and that really helped me get in front of everyone … Usually, I’m all hyped up, but today I was like, ‘I’m just going to be very calm and try to do the best I can,’ and I think that was what helped me to do my best.”

Looking ahead to States, Harpel is the 17th seed. Ridley senior Malik Jones holds the No. 1 spot with a time of 47.06 seconds.

“I’m just very thrilled that I can get to States,” Harpel said.

Qualifying for the PIAA Championships was the goal of the Warwick boys 4×800 team of Seth Spykstra, Michael Urban, Matt Polonus and Aaron Martin. To do so, the Warriors knew that they had to win the first of two heats.

Unfortunately, they fell a little bit short, clocking a time of 8:20.74, which was off their PR of 8:15.30.

Warwick distance coach Ed Nixdorf was hoping that leadoff runner Spykstra, who competed in Friday’s 3,200, would be able to get the early lead, but it wasn’t meant to be.

“To run head-to-head is your ideal situation because when you’re not ahead, then you have to dig and sometimes you dig too hard,” Nixdorf said. “(Running 58’s) are great first splits, but if you can’t maintain them, you went out too fast. Our chance to go to the State Meet was to win that heat. We didn’t do it, but they dug, they tried. It’s a disappointment, but it’s a privilege to get to the District Meet and we got here.”

Adam Wagaman, a first-year thrower, made the most of his first trip to Districts. Seeded 18th in the shot put (46-10), the Warrior junior advanced to the finals and finished 9th with a PR of 47-3#-R, missing a medal by just one spot. Central York’s Erik Ramirez took 8th with a throw of 47-11.

“Adam was the shocker,” Daecher said. “All the other kids were real nervous and he was just kinda calm and cool and nothing really phased him. I think three or four weeks ago, he was throwing like 44’s and 45’s and he got better every single week. If he sticks with it now and gets better, he could have a future in it if he really wanted to.”

Bruce Morgan is the sports editor for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at bmorgan.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4451.

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