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BY JEFF FALK

LEBANON – It was one of the most impressive on-going streaks in Lebanon County athletics.

But for as much as it was an accomplishment for Cedar Crest, it was almost as much of a stick in the craw for Palmyra. But for the Cougars, it really wasn’t a matter of ending what another program had accomplished, or revenge, or anything like that.

It was more about validation, a combination of team and personal achievement, and redemption.

On a sun-drenched Saturday morning at Lebanon High School, during the second day – 11 events on the track – of the annual Lebanon County Track and Field Championships, Palmyra captured the boys’ team championship and ended Cedar Crest’s 23-year-old stranglehold on the trophy. The Cougars snapped the streak with incredible depth and flexibility, and through a couple of great individual performances by hurdler Xander Topos and sprinter Tony Mansfield.

Palmyra amassed a total of 144 team points to easily out distance the Falcons, who were runners-up with 112 points. Lebanon came in third, followed by Annville-Cleona, Northern Lebanon and Elco.

The Cougars also emerged victorious on the girls’ side, posting 144 team points to beat the Falcons by 24 points. Elco finished third and Annville-Cleona was fourth, followed by Lebanon and Northern Lebanon.

Cougar Sarah Galvan was named Day Two’s ‘Gig Horn Outstanding Female Athlete’ for having her hands and legs in three Palmyra victories. The boys’ equivalent of the honor, the ‘Chuck Norman Outstanding Male Athlete’ was shared by Topos and Cedar Crest’s Tommy Bildheiser.

Mansfield did not receive outstanding athlete recognition despite the fact that he won all four of the events in which he competed.

“It’s great. It’s just an awesome group of kids,” said Palmyra head coach Dan Byrd. “They pulled together. We’re really proud. We earned it. We had some great performances.

“Over the years, we’ve had so many close meets with Cedar Crest, some for the boys, but especially with the girls,” Byrd continued. “It’s always great to compete with great teams like Cedar Crest. Having guys like Tony and Xander makes a difference. Those guys had such great days.”

Topos also took home four gold medals. Individually, he captured the 110-meter hurdles by 1.25 seconds and later ran a 39.64 to win the 300 hurdles.

Topos teamed with Roman Byler, Brady Coburn and Quinton Townsend to claim top honors in the 400-meter relay. He collaborated with Townsend, Mansfield and Jake Klucinec to establish a new county record of 3:22.61 in the 1600-meter relay.

“We have some depth,” said Byrd. “We’ve really had a lot of kids progress. We have a smaller squad, but we’re pretty balanced, and the kids stepped up.”

While Mansfield didn’t earn the outstanding athlete award, there was no denying him the title of ‘Lebanon County’s fastest man’. He blazed to gold in the 100- 200- and 400-meter dashes, before anchoring Palmyra’s record-setting 1600-meter relay team.

“I’m feeling pretty sore, because I ran a lot of races,” said Mansfield. “But I wanted to get those wins to help my team win the county championship. Helping my team get our first win over Cedar Crest in 22 years is just a great feeling.”

Bildheiser ran to victory in the 800-meter run, with a time of 1:59.58. He also anchored Cedar Crest’s victorious 3200-meter relay team that included Luke Hinegardner, Caleb Peters and Dave Laliberte, Jr.

The Falcons also received valuable team points from Hinegardner, who claimed victory in the 3200-meter run, and Ryan Wolfe, who won the 1600-meter run by nearly five seconds.

Galvan used a strong kick to run a 1:01.13 and best the field in the 400-meter dash She began her day by anchoring Palmyra’s victorious 3200-meter relay squad that also included Katelyn Becker, Abby Berarducci and Hannah Rorer, then closed it by collaborating with Becker, Brooke Chapin and Ashley Newman for first-place in the 1600-meter relay.

“I didn’t even think about it,” said Galvan of the outstanding athlete award. “They said, ‘Sarah come up’. And I was like, ‘Oh my gosh.’

“I’m just so excited,” added Galvan. “I’m proud of my team. Every single point counted. I just knew I had to go after it and do it.”

Berarducci also contributed to the Cougar cause with a triumph in the 1600-meter run. The foursome of Grace Aplin, Danielle Hand, Chapin and Alexa Gulliver raced to victory in the 400-meter relay, giving Palmyra a sweep of all the girls’ relay events.

“I kind of figured after yesterday that we were in pretty good shape,” said Byrd of the Cougars’ stellar opening day in the field. “But we try not to get ahead of ourselves. You can’t take anything for granted against a team like Cedar Crest.”

For the Falcons, speedster Lily Young flew to wins in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and teammate Mariah Haggerty was clocked in 50.41 during her victory in 300-meter hurdles.

Campbelle Boltz of Elco finished first in the 100-meter hurdles. Madi Bishop of Lebanon overtook Palmyra’s Becker to claim gold in the 800-meter run. And reigning District Three Class A cross country champion Braetan Peters of Annville-Cleona posted an 11-second victory in the 3200-meter run.

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

Lebanon County Track and Field Championships

Meet Records

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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, 3:22.61 Quinton Tonwsend, Xander Topos, Jake Kucinec, Anthony Mansfield, Palmyra 2021

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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