SHIPPENSBURG – Motivation is important. It possesses the power to push champions over the top.
Dylan Lambrecht was finally motivated by opponents.
The Cedar Crest 3200-meter relay team’s motivation originated from teammates.
As for Tommy Bildheiser, well, his motivation comes from within.
On an overcast Saturday at Shippensburg University’s Seth Grove Stadium, motivation played a vital role in Lebanon County’s exceptional showing during the final round of competitions at the annual District Three Track and Field Championships. Spearheaded by performances from Lambecht, the Cedar Crest 3200-meter relay team of Luke Hinegardner, Ryan Wolfe, Jayden Haegele and Bildheiser, as well as Bildheiser individually, the County earned a total of 14 more metallic medals.
Lambrecht, a senior out of Northern Lebanon, captured his sixth gold medal of the postseason – and second of the District Three meet – and stayed undefeated by winning the Class AAA discus. Hinegardner, Wolfe, Haegele and Bildheiser fed off each other’s energy to earn top honors in the Class AAA 3200-meter relay.
Then, drawing from the intense competitive fire that burns within him, Bildheiser went out and won the gold in the Class AAA 800-meter run, in gutsy fashion.
“I’m going to say that the relay definitely means more to me,” said Bildheiser, a senior. “The relay is something special. This was the first time we ran together this season. I love those guys with all my heart. They’re like my brothers.
“It (the gold in the 3200-meter relay) was amazing,” added Bildheiser. “It’s something we’ve been working for since the winter (season). We executed perfectly. I was telling the guys all week that if we do well, we can win it. Cedar Crest has a great history in the 3200-meter relay. Today we just tried to live up to that tradition.”
Bildheiser was the top seed for the afternoon’s running of the open 800, and he certainly lived up to the expectations. He battled Arik Harnish of Lampeter-Strasburg for about 600 meters of the race, before employing a strong kick to win going away.
Bildheiser was clocked in 1:56.43, while Harnish was second and Falcon teammate Wolfe third.
“I started in the waterfall, and we didn’t seem to go out as hard as I thought we should,” said Bildheiser. “My coach has a game plan for me. One of the kids was pushing me, and I was pushing him back, so I just took off.
“I think I’m very competitive,” Bildheiser added. “Even scrimmages in the winter, I treat them like the big meets. I think every meet is huge. All I want to do is win.”
Bildheiser anchored the victorious 3200-meter relay team in a similar strong fashion. Hinegardner got the Falcons a solid lead with a fast start, and Cedar Crest was only really challenged once during the race.
The Falcons’ winning time of 7:53.56 was almost three seconds faster than the rest of the field.
“We knew we were capable of this,” said Wolfe. “We were just so stoked to come here and feed off the crowd. It’s always a surprise when you win a district championship. But it would’ve been a surprise for this team if we didn’t win.
“We can count on him (Hinegardner) to put us in the lead position,” continued Wolfe. “But we all did the same thing. Everyone executed as well as they could have.”
For the first time all spring, in a high school meet, Lambrecht met with some stiff competition. The Northern Lebanon senior needed a final disus throw of 165-2 to edge Jon Barrett of Northern in dramatic style.
“It was a competition today,” said Lambrecht, who captured the gold medal in the Class AAA shot put the day before. “It was a little bit back and forth, and I think I definitely got better because of it. Jon threw a 164 and passed me. I had to respond.
“The technique for each throw is pretty much the same,” added Lambrecht. “But the discus circle is about a foot bigger, so you have to take longer strides. With the shot put, I rely more on my upper body, as opposed to my lower body.”
Palmyra garnered silver medals in a trio of Class AAA events. The Cougars’ foursome of Quinton Townsend, Jake Klucenic, Xander Topos and Anthony Mansfield ripped off a 3:22.61 to finish as the runner-up to champion Cumberland Valley in the 1600-meter relay.
The Cougars’ squad of Roman Byler, Topos, Townsend and Mansfield also finished second in the 400-meter relay. Individually, Topos scored a silver medal in the 110 hurdles and a bronze medal in the 300 hurdles, giving him four for the day.
As a team, the Palmyra boys finished third in the Class AAA standings.
In Class AA, the Annville-Cleona boys finished as the runner-up in the team standings. The Little Dutchmen picked up a bronze medal in the 3200-meter relay, with Jack Tshudy, William Tshudy, Joe Goss and Jahmar Gonzalez-Allie, as well as the 1600-meter relay, with Michael Moran, Goss, Braden Haulman and Gonzalez-Allie.
Annville-Cleona junior Rogan Harter sprinted to a bronze medal in the Class AA 200-meter dash.
Little Dutchman Grace Coleman finished third in the Class AA shot put, while teammates Allison Cooper and Heather Reigle copped bronze in the 100-meter dash and the 300 hurdles, respectively.