BY JEFF FALK
PHOTOS BY LORI MESSERSMITH
SHIPPENSNBURG – They all have piercing eyes, cunning intellects and colorful coats. But this Fox also has a golden arm.
On Friday during the opening round of the 91st annual District Three Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University’s Seth Grove Stadium, Adam Fox got in touch with his inner animal. The Annville-Cleona junior unleashed a beast of a heave to capture a gold medal in the Class AA javelin competition.
Pre-seeded second, Fox popped a 173-7 to out distance top-seed and defending champion Matt Reinhart of Berks Catholic by a good three feet. While it might not have been the longest throw of Fox’s budding javelin-throwing career, it may have been his biggest.
Fox later finished second in the Class AA shot put and his medals were just two of the 13 earned by Lebanon County student-athletes on a good first day of the district meet. The championships of area track and field will conclude on Saturday.
Lebanon County’s medal haul would’ve been even greater if it hadn’t been for a hamstring injury that sidelined Annville-Cleona sophomore star Reagan Hess. Hess was scratched from four events by the injury sustained at last weekend’s Lancaster-Lebanon League Championships, thus ending her promising season.
“Coming in I knew I was seeded second and I knew I was throwing against the defending champion,” said Fox. “I just tried to push that out of my mind. I was talking to my coach, and tried to fix some things.
“At practice, I was throwing 170s and 180s,” continued Fox. “But you nailed it on the head. Consistency is more important than popping one big throw. But it just took that one throw today.”
Fox let fly his winning heave on his second throw after advancing to the finals. A quarterback for the Little Dutchmen football team during the fall, Fox is progressing nicely in a javelin-throwing career that is barely three years old.
“Going into it, I have a mental picture of it, and I just have to get it done,” said Fox. “I got it on my second throw in the finals, and I just had to sit there and wait. I’d like to throw further, but… It was a little lower than I would’ve liked, but I can’t complain.
“I’d really like to go to college for it,” Fox continued. “We’ll see how next year goes. But I’m relatively new to the sport.”
In addition to Fox’s performance – and despite Hess’ absence – Annville-Cleona took home a total of four medals. Little Dutchmen junior Tori Malloy was fifth in the Class AA long jump, and teammate Derek Bosworth was sixth in the triple jump.
Meanwhile in the Class AAA pole vault, Northern Lebanon junior Damian DiAngelis grabbed a bronze medal to spear-head a local performance that saw Lebanon County competitors finish third, fourth and fifth. While DiAngelis would’ve liked to have stood higher on the medal podium, he reached new heights with his pole – a personal best of 14-0.
“When something like that happens, your heart is going so fast,” said DiAngelis, who had reached 13-6 in winning the event at the Lancaster-Lebanon League meet. “I’m definitely happy. It’s always a good day when you P.R..
“Fourteen has always been a wish,” DiAngelis added. “We all knew I was capable of it. I was close at leagues. Now at states, hopefully I can go higher.”
DiAngelis will be joined at states by Lebanon High vaulters Jesse Brownstein, who came in fourth, and Eric Peiffer, who tied for fifth.
“It’s nice to be going to states with the local guys,” said DiAngelis. “They’re part of the elite group of guys from the area. It feels pretty good. It was a pretty nice day. I had some good competition pushing me.”
In the girls’ Class AAA shot put, Cedar Crest senior Shana Sweigart lived up to her seeding and finished fourth with a heave of 40-9.5. Another Falcon, sophomore Destinee Holloman was eighth in the AAA long jump.
Matt Vines of Northern Lebanon was sixth in the Class AAA discus, while Cedar Crest junior Chris Kelly came in eighth in the same event. For the Palmyra Cougars, senior Miranda Salvo was fifth in the Class AAA 3200 run and 12th-grade Katy McClellan was sixth in the javelin.