BY JEFF FALK
LEBANON – It may be surprising to learn that a student-athlete who has only been competing in the sport for only a few years was named the Outstanding Male Athlete at the County meet. But if you know anything about Evan Horn, well…what else would you expect?
On Saturday at Lebanon High School, Horn added to his already impressive local legacy when he was named the male OA at the annual Lebanon County Track and Field Championships. But even more impressively, Horn’s three gold medals and a sliver helped produce yet another Cedar Crest overall team title.
For the Falcons, it was the 19th in-a-row, a streak which is almost awe-inspiring as a Horn heave, an Evan relay leg or a Horn leap.
By amassing 164 team points, Cedar Crest nearly doubled the output of its next closest competitor. Palmyra was second with 85 team points, Lebanon came in third with 82, while Elco finished fourth, followed by Northern Lebanon and Annville-Cleona.
“As a freshman, he was just starting to pick things up,” said Cedar Crest boys’ head coach Rob Bare of Horn, who also excels in football and basketball. “I’m not sure how much he enjoyed track and field then. But he has stuck with it. And I’m glad he did.
“He is someone who brings everything to the table,” continued Bare. “Any other normal human being would come here after competing at the Penn Relays, and have a letdown. I’m blessed to be able to coach that young man.”
What made Horn’s showing even more spectacular was the fact that he had finished eighth in the javelin competition -with an effort of 188-11 – at The Penn Relays in Philadelphia less than 24 hours earlier.
Horn captured his specialty with a 178-2 yesterday, and by so doing, won the event for the fourth time in his career. That is a feat that only one other Falcon has ever accomplished at the County meet – Thomas Jordan, who also did it in the javelin.
In addition, Horn claimed the long jump with a leap of 21-7, and was in the middle of Cedar Crest’s victorious 400-meter relay team – along with teammates Blake Thomson, Luke Allwein and Kobe Bolanos. The ultra-athletic senior was ran runner-up to Elco’s Ethan Anspach in the 100-meter dash.
Not bad for a young man who excelled in another spring sport – baseball – growing up.
“In my 23 years, I’ve coached some really good athletes, but I’m not sure any of them were as competitive as Evan,” said Bare. “He finished eighth at the Penn Relays yesterday, and then comes here and does all of those events today. He’s a competitor. When I put him in an event, I know he’s going to give me everything he has.”
But while Horn was most deserving of the OA athlete award, he did have some competition for it.
Senior teammate Allwein ran down gold in both hurdle events. Northern Lebanon senior Matt Vines was tops in the other two throwing events, the shot put and the discus. And Anspach also won the 200-meter dash to claim the title of Lebanon County’s Fastest Runner.
“Here’s what’s great about the streak,” said Bare. “The pressure gets to me a little more each year, but so many people have been a part of it. I get texts from alums encouraging us to keep it going. That’s the cool thing. Someday the streak will end. But it’s gone on longer than some of these kids have been alive. Everyone’s been up for the challenge.”
The Falcons swept all three relay races. Tanner Miller, Nick Blandy, Dylan Mehler and Royer combined their talents to collect the 3200-meter relay spoils, while Thomson, Jesse Cruise, Bolanos and Matt Royer collaborated for glory in the 1600-meter relay.
Cruise also scored a six-second triumph in the open 1600 meters. Cedar Crest’s Adam Wolfe was a ten-second winner in the 3200 meters.
“This week I brought in my wife (Tif) to talk to the team,” said Bare. “She’s been battling cancer, and she’s a huge inspiration. There was hardly a dry eye in the place.”
The host Cedars received first-place finishes from Derin Klick, who set a new county record with a 1:54.3 in the 800-meter run, Juan Maldonado in the triple jump and Huy Luu in the pole vault.
Elco Raider Austin Eldrige won the 400-meter dash.
Annville-Cleona Little Dutchman Griffin Hertz took top honors in the high jump.
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