SHIPPENSBURG – Some did better than they did last week.
Some did better than they had all season.
Some did better than they ever had.
But all did the best they could.
On a hot Friday afternoon at Shippensburg University’s Seth Grove Stadium, Lebanon County student-athletes enjoyed a stellar opening day, both in the field and on the track, at the annual District Three Championships. The locale’s medal haul featured a pair of golds, a handful of silvers and a single bronze medal.
The County is poised to multiply that bonanza when the District Three Track and Field Championships concludes on Saturday.
Showing the way for Lebanon County yesterday were a couple of seniors – Dylan Lambrecht of Northern Lebanon and Casey Hess of Annville-Cleona, who both replicated titles earned at last week’s Lancaster-Lebanon League meet. Hess took home top honors in the Class AA long jump, while Lambrecht struck gold in the Class AAA shot put.
Surprising silvers went to Palmyra’s Grace Alpin in the Class AAA triple jump and Annville-Cleona sophomore Noah Gunderson in the Class AA high jump. Little Dutchmen senior Jack Tshudy came in as the runner-up in the Class AAA 3200-meter run.
Another Annville-Cleona distance runner, junior Braetan Peters claimed a bronze medal in the girls’ Class AA 3200-meter run.
For Hess, he didn’t eclipse the winning 22-0 jump he recorded at the L-L meet. But his 21-10 was a good seven inches beyond the runner-up effort put forth by Jayden Weisshaar of Littlestown.
“It went well. I jumped as well as I expected,” said Hess. “It was just a good day. I did what I had to do. I felt fairly confident. I knew I was going to get top three.
“Of course, I was nervous,” Hess continued. “But I knew I could do it. From my experience at the (Lancaster-Lebanon) league meet, I knew anybody could do it.”
Again, inactivity served Hess well.
After spending most of the spring on the tennis court and coming out for track and field late in the season, Hess did not practice during the week leading up to the District Three meet. It didn’t seem to matter.
“Today, I was a little more nervous, because I was seeded first,” said Hess. “I knew I had to do it. Today I felt a little better. At leagues, I didn’t go in with expectations.
“I didn’t do anything this week,” Hess added. “I did warm-ups, but I didn’t practice at all. My shins were sore. It helped, because they got gradually better. They hurt just a little today, because when you get some adrenaline in there, it makes them feel better. I’d say I was 95 percent.”
Not unlike Hess, Lambrecht was just a bit off of his performance from a week ago. Seeded first with a 59-3.5, the Viking 12th-grader heaved a winning put of 57-3.75 to top the competition by more than three feet.
All six of Lambrecht’s throws landed in the 54-feet-to-57-feet range.
“It felt good,” said Lambrecht. “It kind of felt like I might win coming in. I didn’t throw to the best of my ability, but there’s always next week, which is the most important one.
“It was a little more pressure this week,” continued Lambrecht. “I had to get good throws to get to states. After the first throw, I qualified, and then after that, I had to try to find the big one.”
Lambrecht’s performance had him looking ahead to next week’s PIAA Track and Field Championships back at Shippensburg University. But first, there is the matter of Saturday’s District Three Class AAA discus competition.
“I’m going to have to fine tune this week,” said Lambrecht. “It’s pretty much just trying to clean things up. I know there’s a guy out there ahead of me (in the state). I think his best throw is 59 also, just ahead of me by inches.”
Tshudy, the top seed, and Lancaster Catholic’s Daniel Myers, the second seed, pulled away from the rest of the field early in the Class AA 3200-meter race. Tshudy led Myers most of the way, before the Crusader senior out kicked him over the final 100 meters of the run.
Seeded fourth entering the Class AA high jump competition, Gunderson cleared 6-2 to cop silver. Littlestown’s Dante Elliott won the event with a jump of 6-6.
Palmyra’s Alpin, the 13th seed in the Class AAA triple jump, nailed a 38-0.25, nearly three feet beyond her personal best, to finish as the runner-up to South Western’s Zaiyah Marshall.
Peters was seeded second in the Class AA 3200-meter run. She was clocked in 11:55.39, about 30 seconds off Grace Kuhn of Wyomissing’s winning pace.