BY JEFF FALK
LEBANON – It’s not really all that serious. But it’s something more than just fun.
What it is is serious fun.
Saturday’s 86th edition of the Lebanon County Track and Field Championships, contested at Lebanon High School, was a little more fun for the Cedar Crest boys and Lebanon senior sprinter Jeronimo Rodriguez. That’s because the Falcons and Rodriguez took home some serious hardware, in the form of a record 18th straight County team title and a second consecutive Outstanding Male Athlete Award.
Rodriguez made his marks in the 1600-meter relay, the long jump, the 200-meter dash and established a new Lebanon County mark in the 400-meter run. Meanwile, Cedar Crest’s 18th team title may have been its most gratifying, as it accomplished it with a furious comeback to surpass Northern Lebanon.
The Falcons complied 160 team points, while the Vikings finished with 126.5. Palmyra was third, Lebanon High fourth, followed by Elco and Annville-Cleona.
“As far as boys’ track and field, the county meet is always very competitive,” said Cedar Crest head coach Rob Bare. “There’s some really good athletes here. This is a chance to build some confidence and move on down the line.
“I’m a pretty positive type of guy, but I’m also a realist and the realist said it would be Northern Lebanon’s day,” continued Bare. “But we lived to breath another day. This was probably one of the best performances I’ve ever seen. This is so special. It feels as good as the first one. These kids don’t realize what they did.’
“It gets me nervous, and excited to win,” said Rodriguez of competing at the county meet. “I just want to do the best I can do.
“But I’m pretty happy now,” Rodriguez continued. “I didn’t think I was going to get it (the Outstanding Athlete award). But if feels good. It’s the second year in-a-row. Wow!”
The highlight of Rodigruez’s outing had to be his new county meet record in the 400 – he ran a 49.0 to shave .03 seconds off Northern Lebanon’s Joe Vedilago’s 2012 mark. But he also captured the 200 impressively and set a personal record in finishing third in the long jump.
In addition, Rodriguez ran a fast anchor split to help the Lebanon 1600-meter relay squad to a third-place showing.
“I think the thing I’m most happy about is the meet record. That’s the thing I’m most proud of,” said Rodriguez. “Going back-to-back (with the 400 and 200) was tough.
“I think we have some pretty good athletes in the county,” added Rodriguez. “We’re pretty much hard-workers. And we’re all pretty humble.’
“I don’t know Jeronimo Rodriguez. I don’t talk to him,” said Bare. “But two of our guys go to CTC (Career Technology Center) with him and they talk highly of him. When my guys tell me something I believe them, and that’s all I needed to know to vote for him, plus he set a new record. But I think it’s pretty neat that our kids talk about him so highly.”
Cedar Crest entered the hostilities as prohibitive underdogs to Northern Lebanon and started off a bit sluggish. But the Falcons picked up much needed points and momentum with Damon Edwards and Ivan Baptiste’s one-two finish in the 100-meter dash and Landy Cruz and Evan Horn’s one-two finish in the long jump.
Horn also emerged victorious in the javelin, while the Falcon foursome of Koby Bolano, Cruz, Edwards and Baptiste turned the trick in the 400-meter relay. The Cedar Crest squad of Noah Redcay, Jared Glosser, Nick Blandy and Melvin Rios hit the tape first in the 3200-meter relay, and Falcon Jesse Cruise finished first in the 1600-meter run.
The Falcons won only six of the 18 events, but with their depth, claimed more than their share of seconds, thirds and fourths.
“At the beginning of the meet, Northern Lebanon started well,” said Bare. “We were having an OK meet. But Landy Cruz and Evan Horn going one-two in the long jump was a huge turning point. It just sky-rocketed from there. We made up a bunch of points.
“This week was one of the few where I’ve had doubt, in my career,” Bare added. “Northern Lebanon is such a great team. I thought it was time for our streak to end. But our group was special.”
With four firsts, Northern Lebanon dominated the field. Dakota Leonhard won the shot put, Ryan Morgan claimed the high jump, Damian DiAngelis took home gold in the pole vault and Dominic Trader triumphed in the triple jump.
The Vikings also got a pair of wins from hurdler Nicholas Auchenbach.
The Elco Raider quartet of Blaine Troutman, Dakota Moyer, Ryan Rolon and Austin Edridge claimed the final event of the day, the 1600-meter relay. Elco distance man Jared Harnish earned the Lebanon County championship of the 3200-meter run.
Lebanon High’s Derin Klick took top honors in the 800 meters.
“You won’t see a finer performance than you saw today,” said Bare. “Ivan Baptiste, that’s a boy who has taken his game to the next level. That’s what you’ve got to do in high school sports. We graduated so many strong, fast athletes.
“That’s (getting the top athletes out) what we want to do as track and field coaches,” Bare continued. “We tell them, ‘Do track and field for two months in the spring. You’re going to enjoy it and you’re going to make yourself a better athlete’.”
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1. Cedar Crest 160, 2. Northern Lebanon 126.5, 3. Palmyra 82.5, 4. Lebanon 78.5, 5. Elco 75, 6. Annville-Cleona 29.5
3,200 relay — 1. Cedar Crest (Redcay, Rios, Blandy, Glosser)8:27.5, 2. Palmyra, 3. Lebanon, 4. Annville-Cleona, 5. Northern Lebanon ; 110 hurdles — 1. Nicholas Auchenbach (NL) 15.3, 2. Darkes (E), 3. Bosworth (AC), 4. Bidelspach (E), 5. Cooper (P) ; 100 — 1. Damon Edwards (CC) 11.1 2. Baptiste (CC), 3. Firestine (E), 4. Miller (AC), 5. Rhette (P) ;1,600 — 1. Jesse Cruise (CC) 4:23.5, 2. Moyer (E), 3. Jo. Cruise (CC), 4. McFeaters (NL), 5. Perry (P), 6. Daniel (P) ; 400 relay — 1 Cedar Crest (Bolanos, Cruz, Edwards, Baptiste ) 44.3, 2.Elco, 3. Palmyra, 4. Lebanon ; 400 — 1. Jeronimo Rodriguez (L) 49.0, 2. Whitman (NL),3. Auchenbach (NL), 4. Gilbertson (E), 5. Harro (P), 6. Rios (CC) ; 300 hurdles —1.Auchenbach (NL) 39.7, 2. Gilbertson (E), 3. Troutman (E), 4. Zechman (AC), 5. Calvert (CC), 6. Hoffsmith (P); 800 — 1. Derin Klick (L) 1:57.9, 2. Glosser (CC), 3. Cruise (CC), 4. McFeaters (NL), 5. Robinson (P), 6. Albrite (P); 200 — 1. Rodriguez (L) 22.9, 2. Edwards (CC), 3. (tie) Baptiste (CC), Harro (P), 4. (tie) Rogers (L), Whitman (NL) ; 3,200 — 1. Jared Harnish (E) 9:50.9, 2. Jo. Cruise (CC), 3. Royer (CC), 4. Cole (P), 5. McFeaters (NL), 6. Werni (L) ; 1,600 relay —1. Elco (Moyer, Troutman, Rolon, Eldridge) 3:28.0, 2. Cedar Crest, 3. Lebanon, 4. Palmyra, 5. Northern Lebanon ; Shot put — 1. Dakota Leonhard (NL) 51-10, 2. Vines (NL), 3. Cummins (L), 4. Kelly (CC), 5. Fox (AC), 6. Bybee (CC) ; Discus — 1. Mason Cooper (P) 136-7, 2. Kelly (CC), 3. Vines (NL), 4. Cummins (L), 5. Fox (AC), 6. Habowski (E) ; Triple jump — 1. Dominic Trader (NL) 42-7 3/4, 2. Cooper (P), 3. Fellows (NL), 4. Davis (P), 5. Cruz (CC), 6. Bosworth (AC) ; Long jump — 1.Landy Cruz (CC) 21-8, 2. Horn (CC), 3. Rodriguez (L), 4. Morgan (NL), 5. Gilbertson (E), 6. Cooper (P) ; High jump — 1. Ryan Morgan (NL) 6-0, 2. Randolph (NL), 3. Von Steffen (P), 4. Horn (CC), 5. Cruz (CC), 6. (tie) Lingle (P), Uhrich (AC) ; Pole vault — 1. Damian DiAngelis (NL) 13-0, 2. Brownstein (L), 3. Luu (L), 4. Diehm (CC), 5. Mengel (NL), 6. Greblunas (P) ; Javelin — 1. Evan Horn (CC) 173-6, 2. Hoffsmith (P), 3. Fox (AC), 4. Harro (P), 5. Leonhard (NL), 6. Randolph (NL)
|LEBANON COUNTY MEET RECORDS|