BY JEFF FALK
LEBANON – That it draws the finest track and field athletes from Lebanon County is a given. But more and more, the Lebanon County Track and Field Championship is attracting the top student-athletes from the locale, period.
On Saturday at Lebanon High School, during the 86th edition of the event, multi-sport athletes keyed the Palmyra girls to a team championship. But then of course there was Reagan Hess upholding the other end of the argument, establishing herself as one of the best female track-and-field athletes of all time.
Hess, a sophomore sprinter out of Annville-Cleona, captured her second consecutive Outstanding Athlete award by winning four more events. On the strength of versatile and unselfish performances, the Cougars easily claimed the team title, amassing 214 team points compared to runner-up Cedar Crest’s 155.5.
Annville-Cleona was third, Lebanon High fourth, Elco fifth and Northern Lebanon sixth.
“I think that’s a good point,” said Palmyra head coach Dan Byrd. “Sometimes track gets over looked for being such a great team sport. But if you go out there, you’ll see some great performances. The quality of the athletes is amazing. People who know sports know.
“Our strength is middle distance,” Byrd continued. “The 400, the 800, the 1600, the 3200, the four-by-eight, the four-by-four. Katie Dembrowski, Miranda Salvo, Maria Tukis, Jess Dembrowski – those girls are leaders for us, especially the senior group. And they’re so good in other sports. They’re competitors and do such a great job of cheering each other on.”
“It’s a tough spot to be in because there are such great athletes here,” said Hess. “Anyone could pull out a great jump or a great sprint. It seems like you’re always looking over your shoulder.
“I always look at every meet as the most important meet,” continued Hess. “It’s 100 percent or nothing. I enjoy it, competing with other schools that are near you or against athletes you know. It’s an enjoyable event.”
Hess was on top of her game from the moment she stepped on the track.
In the morning, she leaped 17-11.5 to comfortably claim the long jump. Then after lunch, Hess ran a 12.6 to take the 100-meter dash.
Hess anchored Annville-Cleona’s 400-meter relay team of Tori Malloy, Morgan Zimmerman and Veronica Merone to a 50.5. And finally, she won the 200 dash by almost a full second.
“Yes, it actually is important to me,” said Hess of the Outstanding Athlete award. “I was really nervous because there’s a lot of good athletes out there. I was pleased with my 200 time. It was my last event and and I gave it everything I had. In the four-by-one, we were so close to breaking a record, and that was our goal.
“Honestly, my favorite event depends on the day,” Hess added. “When I’m feeling lazy, it’s the long jump, because I get breaks between jumps. But when I have a lot of energy it feels great to run the sprints.”
Cougars finished first in eight of the 18 events, six on the track and two in the field. And no Palmyra competitor won more than one individual event.
J. Dembrowski copped the 400-meter dash, elder sister K. Dembrowski garnered top honors in the 800-meter runs, Tukis won the 1600-meter run by three seconds and fellow senior Miranda Salvo ran to victory in the 3200 meters. Salvo, J. Dembrowski, Sarah Hollen and K. Dembrowski combined their talents to take first in the 3200-meter relay and Tukis, J. Dembrowski, Ellie Keck and Katie D. collaborated in the 1600-meter relay.
Teammates Katy McClellan popped the winning heave in the javelin and Camryn Simpson was the winner of the triple jump.
“Our goal was to win the meet,” said Byrd. “One of the things we stated at the beginning of the season was we wanted to win the county meet. Last year it was a three-team race and Cedar Crest won it. We’ve had some really close ones coming in.
“If we win our meets this week, we’ll be (Mid-Penn Conference) Keystone Division champions,” added Byrd. “That was definitely a goal, as was this.”
For the Falcons, thrower Shanna Sweigart copped two individual titles, the shot put and the discus. Meanwhile, Cedar Crest’s Logan Reedy defended her championship in the high jump.
Cedar Crest’s Brianna Laliberte was crowned Lebanon County champion in the 300 hurdles, a feat that was matched by teammate Taylor Menser in the 100 high hurdles.
Lebanon High’s Erin Winters also defended her pole vault title.
“I would say it’s fun. It’s a fun meet,” said Byrd. “The kids get excited and it’s not a long meet. And it’s not a long bus ride. But it’s great competition. There’s a lot of pride on the line. I think ‘fun’ is the right word. A lot of kids know each other. As coaches, we enjoy it too. There’s a lot of respect. We always enjoy coming here. All the kids are great and it’s a friendly meet.
“Maybe we look at it differently than the Lancaster-Lebanon teams,” Byrd continued. “We don’t get to compete against them. It is nice. All the schools have great athletes and good coaches.”
1. Palmyra 214, 2. Cedar Crest 155.5, 3. Annville-Cleona 76, , 4. Lebanon 47.5, 5. Elco 46, 6. Northern Lebanon 15
3,200 relay — 1. Palmyra (Salvo, J. Dembrowski, Hollen, K. Dembrowski) 9:37.7, 2. Cedar Crest, 3. Lebanon, 4. Annville-Cleona, 5. Northern Lebanon; 110 hurdles — 1. Taylor Menser (CC) 16.5, 2. Nolt (E), 3. Keller (E), 4. Hutchinson (P), 5. Ti. Menser (CC), 6. Darkes (NL) ; 100 — 1. Reagan Hess (AC) 2. Simpson (P), 3. Davis (CC), 4. Bomgardner (P), 5. Clark (AC) ; 1,600 — 1. Maria Tukis (P) 5:32.9, 2. Smith (CC), 3. Bixler (P), 4. Shiner (CC), 5. Fields (E), 6. Foster (L) ; 400 relay — 1. Annville-Cleona (Malloy, Zimmerman, Merone, Hess) 50.5, 2. Cedar Crest, 3. Palmyra, 4. Lebanon, 5. Northern Lebanon ; 400 — 1. Jess Dembrowski (P) 2. Keck (P), 3. Burrows (CC), 4. Hartman (L), 5. (tie) Hanle (CC),Long (L); 300 hurdles — 1. Brianna Laliberte (CC) 50.0, 2. Hutchinson (P), 3. Keller (E), 4. Menser (CC), 5. Kreamer (AC), 6. Bonds (P) ; 800 — 1. Katie Dembrowski (P) 2:19.8, 2. Tukis (P), 3. Peters (CC), 4. Conners (AC), 5. Lalibertte (CC), 6. Cooper (L) ; 200 — 1. Hess (AC) 25.9, 2. Zimmerman (AC), 3. Davis (CC), 4. Bomgardner (P), 5. Williams (E), 6. Wolfe (P) ; 3,200 — 1. Miranda Salvo (P) 11:38.2, 2. Smith (CC), 3. Hollen (P), 4. Kiss (CC), 5. Cascotti (AC), 6. Foster (L) ; 1,600 relay — 1. Palmyra (Tukis, J. Dembrowski, Keck, K. Dembrowski) 4:12.5, 2. Cedar Crest, 3. Annville-Cleona, 4. Elco, 5. Lebanon ; Shot put — 1. Shanna Sweigart (CC) 39-4 1/2, 2. Swisher (P), 3. Stamm (P), 4. Ortolaza (L), 5. Dreibelbis (AC), 6. Weddle (CC) ; Discus — 1. Sweigart (CC) 98-10, 2. Swisher (P), 3. Gonzalez (CC), 4. Koser (P), 5. Reese (NL), 6. Dreibelbis (AC) ; Triple jump — 1. Camryn Simpson (P) 34-2, 2. Rogers (E), 3. Winsett (P), 4. Hartman (L), 5. Marone (AC), 6. Keller (E) ; Long jump — 1. Hess (AC) 17-11 1/2, 2. Simpson (P), 3. West (P), 4. Rogers (E), 5. Nolt (E), 6. Wolf (CC) ; High jump — 1. Logan Reedy (CC) 5-1 1/2, 2. Smoluk (P), 3. Goodwin (NL), 4. Schultz (P), 5. Keller (E), 6. Malloy (AC) ; Pole vault — 1. Erin Winters (L) 11-6, 2. Showers (L) 3. Martin (P), 4. Wolf (CC), 5. Deitz (AC), 6. Bidelspach (E) ; Javelin — 1. Katy McClellan (P) 121-6, 2. Hower (CC), 3. West (P), 4. Reedy (CC), 5. Phillips (NL), 6. Truax (L)
|LEBANON COUNTY MEET RECORDS|