BY JEFF FALK
SHIPPENSBURG – When you’ve gone without, it puts a completely different perspective on things. Not only does it make one appreciate what she or he has, it also makes one hungry for more.
Reagan Hess was extremely happy with three. But what she wanted was one more.
During Saturday’s soggy second and final day of the 92nd annual District Three Track and Field Championships, Hess added a pair of golds to her weekend medal haul at Shippensburg University’s Seth Grove Stadium. The Annville-Cleona junior sprinter ran away with the top honors in the Class AA 100- and 200-meter dashes.
But Hess missed out on a potential fourth when the Little Dutchmen were disqualified in the finals of the 400-meter relay. She had won her initial gold in record-setting fashion, during Friday’s long jump competition.
Hess was the only Lebanon County competitor to take home gold from the District Three meet.
“It’s amazing, coming back from last year,” said Hess, who missed last spring’s District Three Track and Field Championships due to an injured hamstring. “I would’ve liked four (gold medals). But I’m happy with three.
“I am so thankful,” continued Hess. “I have been waiting for this moment for a year. To be here, I can not put it into words. It was depressing (last season), knowing what you can do and not being able to be here. It was just a lot of rest, and I started going to physical therapy right before track.”
Battling rainy and cold conditions, Hess posted a 12.09 in winning the 100, .67 seconds faster than runner-up Brynna Haupt of Schuylkill Valley. She was just as dominant in capturing the 200-meter title in the afternoon, posting a 25.49 and beating Haupt to the finish line by exactly a second.
Fellow Little Dutchmen Timeshah Clark and Morgan Zimmerman came in fifth and sixth, respectively, in the 200. Clark was third to Hess in the 100 meters.
“I came out of the blocks a little slow,” said Hess of her 100-meter start. “When I get to a certain mark, I can hear the girls behind me. That’s when I think to myself, ‘You’ve got to pick it up’. I thought my 200 start was a little slow. But overall, it felt like my regular race. It was great looking over and seeing teammates in that race. I don’t know how many other schools had three girls in the finals.
“I’m ready to compete again (at next weekend’s PIAA Track and Field Championships, back at Shippensburg University),” Hess added. “I do feel good about my chances. I love the long jump. But I know I have to turn it on.”
Hess never got a chance to run her anchor leg in the 400-meter relay. Under the slick conditions, her Annville-Cleona teammates never completed a hand-off of the baton between the second and third legs.
“I don’t know what happened,” said Hess. “It’s heart-breaking because of the two seniors on the team. But things happen. I actually used that as motivation in the 200. That definitely fueled the fire. That was in the back of my mind the whole time (in the 200).”
Despite missing last season’s meet, Hess has now collected a total of seven District Three medals – five golds and two silvers. Next weekend, she will be aiming to add to the state silver in the long jump and PIAA bronze in the 100 dash she earned as a ninth-grader.
“I’m probably 80 percent healthy,” said Hess. “I’m not 100 percent. At the beginning of the year, I definitely babied it. I used my left side more than my right. I had to learn to use it and push through it. I learned to stop favoring it.
“The cold is what’s tough,” added Hess. “You’ve got to warm up 30 minutes before your event, just because the cold is so bad for your hamstring.”
Lebanon County’s next best shot at gold seemed to rest on the broad shoulders of Lebanon High junior Derin Klick, in the Class AAA 800 run. But the top seed in the event, Klick couldn’t recapture the magic he displayed in winning last week’s Lancaster-Lebanon League title in the 800.
His time of 1:56.77 was two seconds off his seed time and .85 of a second slower than winner Matt Wisner of Carlisle.
“It was one of my goals for the last two years,” said Klick of his medal. “Ever since I started running. Ever since I knew what districts were.
“It’s just cold,” Klick continued. “You don’t think about it. During the race, it’s just the race.”
Klick was doomed by a mediocre start. While he was much stronger at the end of the race than he was at the beginning, he couldn’t overcome his early deficit.
“It went fast for the first hundred meters,” said Klick of the final. “It almost felt like a 200 pace. On the second lap, we went pretty fast. The last 300, everyone started kicking.
“I’m disappointed how slow the first lap was,” added Klick. “We should’ve all been running faster.”
Northern Lebanon senior Dakota Leonhard added to the silver medal he garnered on Friday in the Class AAA discus, with a third-place showing in Saturday’s javelin. Also picking up a bronze medal was Elco’s Ethan Anspach in the Class AAA 200-meter dash.
Meanwhile, the Cedar Crest quartet of Bryce Vukovich, Matt Royer, Adam Wolfe and Jesse Cruise came in fourth in the Class AAA 3200-meter relay, as did Annville-Cleona senior Adam Fox in the Class AA shot put.
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