Lady Warriors run away with three L-L titles

By on May 18, 2016
Running the anchor leg of the 4x400 relay, Warwick freshman Emily Williamson digs deep to hold off Manheim Township’s Courtney German in the final turn. The Lady Warriors won the L-L gold in a time of 4:02.92. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Running the anchor leg of the 4×400 relay, Warwick freshman Emily Williamson digs deep to hold off Manheim Township’s Courtney German in the final turn. The Lady Warriors won the L-L gold in a time of 4:02.92. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Out of the corner of her eye, Warwick’s Emily Williamson saw Manheim Township anchor Courtney German closing fast.

The Lady Warrior freshman had one thought.

“We were coming around the back stretch, she was coming up behind me,” Williamson said, “and I was just like, ‘You’ve got to go. Don’t look back.’”

Doing exactly that, she held off the MT junior to clinch gold for the Lady Warriors in the 4×400 relay in 4:02.92 at the Lancaster-Lebanon League Championships last Saturday at Hempfield. The Lady Blue Streaks were runner-up in 4:03.63.

“I was super excited being it’s the first year in Leagues with those girls,” said Williamson, who was joined on the relay by Leah Graybill, Deirdre White and Sam Shields.

“The relays were pretty exciting,” Warwick coach Alex Daecher said. “That was pretty intense.”

The Warwick girls 4×800 relay (Williamson, White, Erika Echternach, Shields) added a gold in 9:30.73 and freshman Kate Dickow ran away with first-place honors in the 3,200 in 11:20.31, as the Lady Warriors finished fifth in the team standings with 67 points. Manheim Township finished with 78 points to claim the crown.

Freshman Trinity Bitting-Ellis chipped in with silver in the high jump (5-2), Dickow added a fifth-place finish in the 1,600 in 5:17.61, and freshman Leah Graybill earned two L-L medals, taking fourth in the 200 (25.67) and seventh in the 100 (12.66).

“The freshman that we brought up this year are really quality kids,” Daecher said. “They are without a doubt some of the hardest working kids on our team. Trinity has really worked to perfect her jumping and Coach Hallowell has been a great coach and mentor for her. She really tries to perfect her art. Leah, Emily, and Kate are really tight and get along so well. They feed off each other and push each other at practice and at meets. Leah has a great attitude and work ethic, she pushes herself and others around her. Emily is the fighter. She really held that MT girl off in the 4×400. She has a no-quit attitude. Kate is a great kid to be around and watch compete. She never seems flustered or rattled by anything.”

Kicking things off on Friday, Dickow turned in a personal-best effort in the 3,200, shaving two seconds off her seed time of 11:22.45. With roughly 200 meters left in the race, she passed Manheim Township’s Hannah Dieterle and won by four seconds ahead of the Lady Blue Streak junior, who finished in 11:24.59.

“That was impressive,” Daecher said. “(Kate)’s tough as nails. I mean, I don’t know how they go eight laps at that speed. And she still had something in the tank to finish off really strong. She was in a dead sprint the last 400.”

The Lady Warriors’ 4×800 relay also proved to be tough as nails. Entering the L-L’s seeded No. 2 behind MT in 9:38.91, which they ran at the Hempfield Invitational four weeks earlier, the foursome of Williamson, White, Echternach and Shields proceeded to run an eight-second PR. The Lady Streaks took runner-up in 9:32.32.

“Our (distance) coach, Matt Bomberger, had coached them up to do exactly what they did,” Bomberger said. “He said if we can do this, this and this, we’ll win and he seemed pretty confident.”

“I think (the key) was just trying to stick with everybody up front and it was just us and we were just cheering from the side, keeping the girls running on the track aware of what their time was,” said Williamson, who ran the opening-leg on the 4×800.

While the Warwick girls were hopeful for gold in the 4×800, their goal in the 4×400, in which they were seeded second in 4:03.70, was just to do their best and let the chips fall where they would.

“In the 4×4, we knew we were going against some tough competition and the goal was just to stick with those girls out in front and run as fast as we could,” Williamson remarked.

“(Emily) probably had five steps on (German) when she got the baton,” Daecher recalled, “and the girl narrowed the gap, but she just held her off in the last turn and then just took it from her.”

Individually, Williamson added an eighth-place finish in the 400 in 1:01.42, Echternach ended up fourth in the 1,600 (5:15.56), and Shields was fifth in the 800 (2:23.45).

Bitting-Ellis tied with Cedar Crest junior Ariel Jones in the high jump, both at 5-2, but Jones ended up with the gold after prevailing in a jump off.

“They didn’t miss any of their jumps until they got to 5-4,” Daecher recalled. “(The jump-off) became quite a contest. One would get a good jump and then the other one would do it …. Kate’s gotten 5-4 already, so hopefully she can do that on Saturday (at Districts).”

Senior Sheridan McNeill gave the Warwick girls a second medalist in the high jump, placing fourth in a jump-off at 5-2. Rounding out Warwick’s list of medalists was junior Avian Gaddis, who placed sixth in the 100 (12.62).

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