Party like it’s 1999: Warwick girls win first Section One title in 19 years

By on May 9, 2018
Cassidy Kline (right) hands the baton off to Jess Williamson for the second leg of Warwick’s 4x400 relay against Cedar Crest on Monday. Photos by Missi Mortimer

Cassidy Kline (right) hands the baton off to Jess Williamson for the second leg of Warwick’s 4×400 relay against Cedar Crest on Monday. Photos by Missi Mortimer

Monday’s meet had barely ended, so the Warwick girls’ feat hadn’t yet sunk in for Leah Graybill.

In fact, although the Lady Warriors had just finished off a perfect 6-0 season and clinched their first Section One crown since 1999 with a 99-50 conquest of Cedar Crest, the junior sprinter doesn’t expect that it will until the end of this month.

“I think after the season is over and all of our team goals finally set in and everything comes together, I think that’s when it will finally sink in,” Graybill said.

The Section One title was just the first of those team goals.

Post-season goals are next, and as the defending L-L champs, the Warwick girls have to be considered among the favorites to repeat this Friday and Saturday when the League Meet is held at Hempfield High School.

Warwick’s 49-point win over Cedar Crest (4-2 Section) to wrap up the Section title for the first time in 19 years didn’t hurt their cause.

“It’s huge,” Warwick coach Alex Daecher said. “When I first started coaching long ago (in 2014), we were 0-6 for, like, two or three years in a row. It just shows the kind of heart the kids have. And I think more than anything, I think it shows a lot of selflessness on the girls’ part.”

What Daecher was referencing, specifically, was that the coaches asked Emily Williamson at the last minute to compete in the meet’s opening event — the 4×800 relay. The junior runner did exactly that, and teamed up with Anna Martin, Jaylyn Wagner, and Deirdre White to bring home a win in 9:54.4.

“That’s super neat to see, especially on a track team,” Daecher said. “We had to grab (Emily) and say, ‘You’re running in the 4×8,’ because we thought, ‘Hey, we need to win that to kinda get us on the right path.’ And (the girls) are fine, they do what they’re asked to do for the team. There’s not a lot of individualistic thought, like, ‘Hey, I would rather do this race.’ If we ask them to do something, they’ll do it without second-guessing us.”

There were plenty of heroes for the Warwick girls on this night.

Graybill swept the sprints with golds in the 100 (12.0), 200 (25.3), and 400 (57.5), along with joining Lily Palacio-Lewis, Meghan Quinn and Juliette Delmotte on the first-place 4×100 (50.1).

Kline added three golds by taking the High Hurdles (15.8), 300 Hurdles (45.7) and running the opening leg on the 4×400 (4:21.6) ahead of Emily Williamson, Jessica Williamson, and Wagner.

“(Cassidy)’s amazing,” Graybill said. “I love her so much. I’m just so proud of the progress she’s made between last year and this year. She had a great race on Friday (setting the school record in the 300 Hurdles at the West Chester Henderson Invitational) and she’s doing really good this year.”

So is senior Abby Vance, who added key points in the field for the Lady Warriors by placing first in the javelin (113-9) and pole vault.

“There was 10 points we weren’t planning on getting,” Daecher said. “Abby’s a senior, so it’s great to see her have a great last meet to help out.”

Madelyn Snavely was also clutch with a bronze in the javelin (95-7).

“We knew that (Cedar Crest) has a very good throws team,” Daecher said, “and we were actually not counting on our throwers getting a lot of points. We went over there and the first event we did, we got six points and we were only planning on coming away with one. So that was another huge thing.”

Delmotte was another who added huge points, taking both the long jump (15-4 1/2) and triple jump (35-5). Mathilda Zartman added a silver in the long jump (15- 1/4) and a bronze in the triple (32-4 1/2).

Although the Lady Falcons held a 35-28 scoring edge in the field, Warwick offset that by taking the track events, 71-15.

A Lady Warrior sweep in the 100, with Palacio-Lewis (12.1) and Quinn (12.5) following behind Graybill was a shot in the arm.

“After our 4×8 and then sweeping the 100, I knew we were on our way,” Graybill said. “Then after the 200 and 300 Hurdles, I was pretty confident.”

Kate Dickow added a gold in the 1,600 (5:13.3) and White led a Warwick sweep of the 800 in 2:26.3, just ahead of Dickow (2:27.0) and Emily Williamson (2:27.5).

Martin also took the 3,200 (12:05.3), while Palacio-Lewis and Emily Skidmore chipped in with runner-ups in the 200 (25.6) and 300 Hurdles (50.7), respectively.

“Again, the girls on the track did their job as they’ve been doing all year,” Daecher said. “That’s why we’re here in this spot because they’ve scored so many points in meets. Leah, you can’t deny what she’s done for the team, and Lily and Meghan Quinn and the list goes on and on. Kate Dickow, Cassidy Kline … the running’s just been exceptional.”

“I was just really proud of everybody and how everybody did,” Graybill said. “I think it was a really good season for all of us.”

The Cedar Crest boys salvaged a split in the meet by defeating the Warriors. 91.3-58.7. The loss dropped the Warwick boys’ final record to 3-3 in Section One.

Brendan Gates won three golds to lead the Warriors, taking the High Hurdles (15.0), 300 Hurdles (39.1) and 4×400 relay (3:31.2) with Mark Langat, Jeremy Bell and Connor Shields. Shields also won the 400 in a time of 52.7 seconds.

Turning to the field events, Nathan Good led the way with a pair of firsts in the high jump (5-11) and pole vault (11-6). Ryan Fegley took the triple jump (39-7) and Eric Ensinger chipped in with two silvers in the shot put (40-8) and discus (115-10).

*****

Last Friday, Leah Graybill and Cassidy Kline set school records in the 400 and 300 Hurdles to lead Warwick at the Henderson Invitational.

Graybill’s mark in the 400 (56.69) earned her one of her three golds, including firsts in the 100 (12.21) and 200 (24.86).

Kline, meanwhile, set the school record in the 300 Hurdles (45.40) while winning silver, and she added a fifth-place finish in the High Hurdles (15.65). The sophomore sprinter also teamed up with Emily Williamson, Deirdre White and Meghan Quinn on the winning 4×400 (4:01.95).

The Warwick girls 4×100 added a silver in 48.80 seconds, while Lily Palacio-Lewis took second in the 100 (12.30) and third in the 200 (25.60).

Juliette Delmotte was third in the triple jump (37- 3/4), Quinn placed fourth in the 100 (12.78), and Kate Dickow took 12th in the 1600 (5:15.37).

Others who competed for the Warwick girls were Abby Vance in the javelin (13th at 99-5), Emily Williamson in the 400 (14th in 1:01.72), White in the 800 (18th in 2:23.86) and Anna Martin in the 1600 (5:33.19).

Brendan Gates led the Warrior boys by placing second in the 300 Hurdles (39.02), Connor Shields chipped in with a fifth-place finish in the 800 (1:55.03), Nick Coomer was eighth in the shot put (46-6 1/2) and Christian Hess tied for 10th place in the high jump (5-10).

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