L-L encore Warwick girls win five golds, repeat as League champs

By on May 16, 2018
Warwick’s track and field athletes celebrate with the L-L championship trophy after winning the League title for the second year in a row last Saturday. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Jaylyn Wagner, Lily Palacio-Lewis, Katy Kramer, Kate Dickow, Deirdre White. and Emily Williamson; (back, l-r) Caitlyn Wagner, Anna Martin, Juliette Delmotte, Abby Vance, Leah Graybill, Cassidy Kline, and Meghan Quinn. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Warwick’s track and field athletes celebrate with the L-L championship trophy after winning the League title for the second year in a row last Saturday. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Jaylyn Wagner, Lily Palacio-Lewis, Katy Kramer, Kate Dickow, Deirdre White. and Emily Williamson; (back, l-r) Caitlyn Wagner, Anna Martin, Juliette Delmotte, Abby Vance, Leah Graybill, Cassidy Kline, and Meghan Quinn. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

The 4×400 relay, as Warwick sophomore Cassidy Kline admitted, was a mental test last Saturday.

“Since it’s the last race, we’d all run our (other) races prior to this so our legs are pretty tired,” Kline smiled. “It was just getting over the thought of that.”

They did so masterfully.

With their meet record time of 3:57.06, the foursome of Kline, Lily Palacio-Lewis, Meghan Quinn, and Emily Williamson claimed the Lady Warriors’ fifth and final gold medal at the Lancaster-Lebanon League Championships at Hempfield.

“We didn’t necessarily have the meet record on our minds,” Williamson said. “We were just saying, ‘Alright, it’s the last race. Let’s give it everything we have left,’ and the meet record was just a bonus.’”

The Warwick girls did, however, have back-to-back L-L team titles on their minds.

And in the end, it wasn’t really that close.

Scoring 123 total points, the Lady Warriors easily outdistanced runner-up Manheim Township (71) to win their second straight L-L crown.

“In a league like this where it’s just so competitive across the board … I mean, there’s a lot of great teams out there and a lot of great kids,” Warwick coach Alex Daecher said, “and to do it two times in a row, it shows a lot about our girls and what kind of work ethic they have and how talented they are.”

That’s not all.

The team chemistry, as multiple girls described, has also factored into their success.

“Every single person on our team does their part in every single meet,” Quinn said. “We really help each other. If it’s not our best day, we still bring each other up and say, ‘Hey’ you’ve got it next time.’ I think that’s kinda really special about our team.’”

“I think we’re all super close,” Williamson remarked, “which makes it so much easier to run together and push together.”

Never was that more true than in the 100-meter dash, in which Warwick swept the top three positions. Junior Leah Graybill won the gold medal in 12.27 seconds, followed closely by Palacio-Lewis (12.34) with the silver and Quinn (12.75) taking bronze.

“It’s freakish that you go 1-2-3 in the 100 at a league meet in the whole county,” Daecher said, shaking his head. “It’s crazy.”

“It’s just really fun to have each other at dual meets,” Graybill said. “We know we’re going to run our best because we’re always running against each other. I think it definitely helps.”

The Black Knight Invitational on April 14 — where the Warwick girls’ star trio also swept gold, silver and bronze in the 100 — was actually a precursor of things to come.

“It was not an expectation, but it was a personal goal of mine,” Quinn said of sweeping the 100. “That (Black Knight Inv.) gave me a little bit more of a confidence boost.”

For Graybill, that was the first of her three golds and one silver medal on a day in which she accounted for 38 of the Lady Warriors’ points.

She seemed to be on her way to winning the 400 as well, taking the lead position on the back stretch. But an Ephrata runner, running in lane seven, merged into Graybill’s lane four and caused a collision. In the aftermath, the Warwick junior ended up second in 57.64 seconds, behind Cedar Crest’s Shayla Bonzelet (57.20).

“I felt somebody coming toward me and I thought maybe it was the girl in lane five just kinda drifting out into my lane,” Graybill recalled. “But then she ran into me, so I stopped and put my arms up, and then she kept cutting in and I was confused, I was like, ‘Are we supposed to cut in?’ I was confident going into it, and it was really disappointing at the end, but it’s what it is.”

“During the race,” Daecher said, “it was obviously a surprise and the other girl didn’t do it maliciously and it just bad luck for Leah. She took it like a champion she is. She took it with maturity. She didn’t seem sour about it. I’m sure she was upset, but she didn’t let it show. She didn’t let it affect what she did in the 200. It shows how unfazed she is.”

Indeed, Graybill came back strong to win gold in the 200 in a school and L-L meet record time of 24.72 seconds, just ahead of Palacio-Lewis, who took the silver medal in 25.12 seconds, and Quinn, who was seventh (26.30). Graybill also shattered the school mark in Friday’s preliminary heats when she ran a 24.73.

“I was so happy,” she said. “That was the race that I was like, ‘OK, we’re going to do this,’ because I was super disappointed afte the 400 and just gave it all I had left at the end.”

Still, however, Graybill had enough left in the tank to team up with Juliette Delmotte, Palacio-Lewis and Quinn on the first-place 4×100 which broke its own school record with a time of 48.56, holding off Hempfield (48.94) at the finish line. Their finish was just an eyelash of the L-L Meet record of 48.47 set by McCaskey in 2007.

“It’s exciting,” Graybill said of the school record. “I know for our 4×4 at Districts and States, our goal is the school record (3:53.11 set in 2002). We know what it is and we want to beat it. But for the 4×1, we just run and hope that our handoffs go as well as we practice them.”

Delmotte also took home the gold medal in Friday’s triple jump competition at 37 feet, 1 3/4 inches, edging Conestoga Valley’s Avionda Saunders (37-1 1/4) for the top spot.

“Coach Hallowell kept saying something about her (technique) and on her last jump, she got it,” Daecher said. “(Juliette) came in as a sprinter, and now she’s changed herself into a triple jumper. It goes to show how coachable the girls are.”

Junior distance runner Kate Dickow is another prime example of that, running to a silver-medal finish in Friday’s 3,200 in 10:56.02, behind only Jamie Zamrin (10:51.76). Cedar Crest’s Gwyneth Young won the bronze in 10:57.91.

In the end, all three girls broke the L-L Meet record of 11:03.7, set by Lampeter-Strasburg’s Emily Kruger in 2003.

“It was a PR, so I was really happy,” said Dickow, who is also close to the school record (10:53). “My goal was to PR and definitely break the stadium record, so that was really exciting.”

Zamrin helped to push her in the race.

“I was grateful for her competition,” Dickow said. “I was hoping to stay a little more cautious for the first mile, which I did. For the second mile, (the goal) was just keep picking it up, and the last 800 was actually the fastest 800 of my race, so it was pretty exciting.”

Dickow also chipped in with a sixth-place finish in Saturday’s 1,600 in 5:11.49. Elizabethtown’s Katie Locker won the gold in 5:00.97.

“I was fairly happy with (the 1,600) coming back from a hard race (Friday),” Dickow said.

Deirdre White added a silver medal in the 800 (2:24.71) and teamed up with Kline, Caitlyn Wagner and Williamson in the 4×800, bringing home a runner-up finish in 9:31.11.

“We never ran this exact relay with these people, but we knew all of our times were so strong,” White said, “so we would pull together.”

“We were definitely shooting for something in the 9:30’s,” said Williamson, who also stepped up with a seventh-place in the 400 in 59.95 seconds.

Kline — in addition to her efforts on the 4×400 and 4×800 — also added a pair of individual medals in the hurdle events. She was second in the 300 Hurdles in 45.55 seconds, behind only Manheim Township’s Leah Sassaman (44.74), and she took eighth in the High Hurdles (17.16).

“(The 300 Hurdles) was definitely a mental one,” Kline said. “Running the 4×8 and then running the 100 Hurdles again (after Friday’s prelims) was very difficult, and I knew I wasn’t goint to PR or anything. I was just hoping I could get through it.”

Meanwhile, Trinity Bitting-Ellis added points in the field events by placing sixth in the high jump, clearing the bar at 4 feet, 10 inches.

The outcome in the team standings was no longer in doubt by the time Kline, Palacio-Lewis, Kline and Williamson approached the starting line for the meet-ending 4×400 relay.

But that didn’t stop them from going out and setting yet another L-L meet record.

Palacio-Lewis and Williamson ran the first two legs and kept Warwick within striking distance of McCaskey, and then Quinn overtook the Lady Mounts’ Baileigh Andrews on the third leg and the Lady Warriors never trailed from there.

Asked if she could hear Andrews behind her, Quinn laughed and said, “Not particularly her, but other people yelling for her to pass me, so I was like, ‘Alright Megan, you have to really kick it in because she’s coming.’ Ephrata and McCaskey gave us a little bit of a push through the whole race.”

Just as they did in the race for the team title, though, the Lady Warriors had too much firepower.

“We knew what we had coming in,” Palacio-Lewis said. “It was just being able to perform and lay it all out on the track.”

“I know a lot of us were nervous coming into this meet,” Williamson said, “but I think once we got here, we were like, ‘Alright, this is what we’ve been talking about. Let’s just go out and do everything we’ve been taught and get this championship.’”

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