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BY JEFF FALK

LEBANON – The purists didn’t care for it all that much.

The pessimists thought it was different.

The optimists saw it as half-cool.

The survivalists viewed it as essential.

As for Dylan Lambrecht, Landon Kerr and Grace Aplin, well, they seemed to enjoy themselves.

Following a year’s hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Lebanon County Track and Field Championships made a triumphant return to Lebanon High School on a sunny Friday evening, but under a non-traditional, two-day format.

Last night’s opening round of competition featured all seven field events, for both girls and boys. On Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m., the County track and field meet will conclude with 11 track events.

Traditionally, the Lebanon County Track and Field Championships have been contested on a Saturday in late April. With all six local public schools competing at the same time and at the same place, it has always created one of the most festive and energetic events in all of Lebanon County scholastic sports.

For their part, Lambrecht, Kerr and Aplin made the best of the new circumstances. Alpin was named the outstanding female athlete in the field, while Lambrecht and Kerr shared the male counterpart of the award.

Kerr, a senior from Palmyra, struck gold in a pair of jumping events, the long jump and the triple jump. Lambrecht, a senior out of Northern Lebanon, took home top honors in the discus and the shot put.

A Cougar 12th-grader, Alpin was victorious in the triple jump and the long jump.

“No, I don’t like the new format,” said Cedar Crest head coach Rob Bare, a notorious optimist and traditionalist. “I understand why we did it. But hopefully we’ll get back to the way we’ve always done it. At least we’re here competing. It’s for the kids, and it’s a beautiful day.”

“It was very low key. It was very chill,” said Aplin. “I just wish I had more friends here. It was fun, and at least we got to do it. It was very friendly.”

“This is one of my favorite events, and it was a different atmosphere,” said Kerr. “It was just really weird. But it was a good day. It was just a good day to be here.”

For Lambrecht, the top seed in both the discus and the shot put, the evening turned out to be a bit of role reversal. While he was triumphant in both events by comfortable margins, he performed better in the shot than in his signature event, the discus.

“I like to think I’m stronger in the discus,” said Lambrecht. “But today I was stronger in the shot. I didn’t do my greatest. But I was able to catch the wind in both of my events.

“It (the atmosphere created by the meet’s new format) is different,” added Lambrecht. “I’m not sure I like it better or not. The fact that only one person from each school was allowed to compete in each event certainly changed the competition.”

Kerr overcame a minor leg injury sustained on his first attempt of the day, in the triple jump. Although he went on to win the triple, then later the long jump, he said the injury did hinder his performances.

“This year, we’re hoping to beat Cedar Crest,” said Kerr. “I felt like today I sort of did my part. After the injury, I wasn’t 100 percent, but I was able to overcome it. It definitely affected my jumps.”

In addition to her two gold medals, Alpin earned a personal best in the triple jump. She shaded Elco’s Katelyn Rueppel two in the long jump.

“It went really well,” said Aplin. “I was definitely nervous because I wanted to keep my seed. The jumps felt really good. In the triple jump, I thought I went through my phases great.”

Also striking gold for the Cougars were Brady Coburn in the boys’ pole vault, Olivia Devine in the girls’ discus and Genieva Martin in the girls’ javelin.

The Cedar Crest performance was highlighted by Rebecca Best’s victory in the girls’ shot put and Molly Heintzelman’s triumph in the girls’ high jump. Elco received a victory from Carissa Bender in the girls’ pole vault.

For the host Cedars, Kevin Smith captured top honors in the boys’ high jump.

To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com.

Lebanon County Track and Field Championships

Meet Records

**************************************************************** EVENT EFFORT PERFORMER SCHOOL YEAR 100m Dash 12.0 Leslie Hummer Annville-Cleona 1985 10.4 Greg Miller Palmyra 1999

200m Dash 25.1 Reagan Hess Annville-Cleona 2016 21.4 Greg Miller Palmyra 1999

400m Dash 57.5 Sue Wolfe Annville-Cleona 1987 49.0 Jeronimo Rodriguez 2015

800m Run 2:17.4 Kayleigh Perry ELCO 2010 1:54.3 Derin Klick Lebanon 2016

1600m Run  5:08.8 Kayleigh Perry ELCO 2009 4:19.4 Drew Gerberich ELCO

3200m Run 11:13.8 Stacy Stoner Northern Lebanon 1995 9:40.1 Connor Strynkowski Palmyra 2011

100m Hurdles 15.07 DeAsia Holloman Cedar Crest 2019 110m Hurdles 14.4 Matt Deysher Cedar Crest 2011

300m Hurdles 45.9 Joy Buckwalter Palmyra 1989 39.1 Chris Bradley Cedar Crest 2010

400m Relay 49.5 DeAsia Holloman, Hannah McCurdy, Ariel Jones, Destinee Holloman, Cedar Crest 2017  43.1 Peter Groff, Damon Edwards, Cedar Crest 2014 Jarred Brandt, Denzel Pierre

1600m Relay 4:06.8 Maria Tukis, Jess Dembrowski, Palmyra 2014 Miranda Salvo, Katie Dembrowski 3:24.7 Chris Coleman, Alex Galli, Cedar Crest 2011 Shaun Ditzler, Mychal Robinson

3200m Relay 10:01.6 Erin Frey, Angie Paliometros, Lebanon 1995 Shelby Margut, Jess Lentz 8:00.4 Chad Bomgardner, Jordan Cruise Cedar Crest 2013 Jared Glosser, Willie Bragg

Shot Put 41-3 Ryelle Shuey Elco 2019 61-1.25 Jeremy Silverman Annville-Cleona 2001

Discus Hannah Woelfling Cedar Crest 2018 161-10 Jeremy Silverman Annville-Cleona 2001

Javelin 133-9 Meghan Briggs Palmyra 2006 203-9 Thomas Jordan Cedar Crest 2003

Long Jump 19-1.5 Reagan Hess Annville-Cleona 2017 22-2.75 Pete Habegger Cedar Crest 2003

Triple Jump 37-3 Ariel Jones, Cedar Crest 2017 45-2.5 Mike Wagner Annville-Cleona 1980

High Jump 5-7.5 Ariel Jones, Cedar Crest 2017 6-6 Dana Hollinger Cedar Crest 1979 6-6 Andrew Batula Annville-Cleona 2008

Pole Vault 12-1 Erin Winters, Lebanon 2014 14-9.5 Darryl Miller Northern Lebanon 1979

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