Litschi stood tall and proud for the second straight afternoon at the Lancaster-Lebanon League Track and Field Championships, closing out the two-day meet the same way he started - golden.
The Raider senior reeled in his second league title by soaring 43-9 in the triple jump Saturday. On Friday, the Shippensburg recruit sealed the long jump with a leap of 21-3 ¼. Litschi also added a bronze Saturday, revising his own school record in the 300 intermediate hurdles (39.19).
As a whole, Lebanon County hauled in five gold medals over the weekend at Hempfield's Georgelis Law Firm Stadium - all on the boys' side.
Along with Litschi's pair, classmate Drew Gerberich kicked out the 800-meter run, Northern Lebanon's Brian Boltz bagged the pole vault, and the Cedar Crest boys' continued a post-prom party in the 3200 relay.
The Falcons, specifically sophomore Jarrod Cruise, set the stage for a come-from-behind upset over top-ranked McCaskey in the 3200. Cruise's blistering first leg, followed by four laps from Bryce Ebersole and Jeff Pellow, left anchor Shaun Ditzler with ground to make up.
The senior also had revenge on his mind when he took the baton. In the regular season, the Falcons coughed up a last-lap lead to the Red Tornado. This time, though, Ditzler turned the tables, making a move into pole position on the backstretch. From there, with chin high and head still, he finished strong to help Crest break the eight-minute barrier for the first time this spring (7:59.63).
"It was exactly the same way when we raced them in a dual meet. They did the same thing to us that we just did to them," said Ditzler. "It was extremely motivational, especially when I saw Cruise coming around in first. I think that pumped all of us up."
Ditzler continued a stellar day in the 800 run, where he
"I feel because I'm a senior, I don't want to leave anything left behind and live my life thinking what if I could have done better in high school," explained Gerberich, headed to Robert Morris next fall. "I was really nervous, but once the gun went off I felt fine. I wasn't going to turn back."
Gerberich, along with Annville-Cleona's Shawn Wolfe, did not compete in the mile Saturday. Wolfe, the Dutchmen's district cross country champ, also scratched in the 800 after becoming ill following the morning's 3200 relay. Gerberich skipped the 1600 by design.
"I wanted to do the mile at the county, and the 800 here, and see which one I'm better at for districts," said Gerberich. "Now, I think I'm going to do both."
Deciding which events to compete in at districts can be tough - downright painful in the case of Northern Lebanon.
Viking junior Joe Vedilago, the county meet MVP two weeks ago, was primed for a strong postseason run, literally.
However, after taking third place in the 100 dash Saturday morning, Vedilago pulled up lame just before the finish of the 400. Grimacing in pain, the sprinter battled across the white stripe in a display of determination, fast enough for a fourth place.
He was then carted off
"He handles pain; he's got that attitude where he actually wanted to run in the 200 finals," said Viking coach Mark Opreska. "He said, 'Coach text me (in the hospital) who wins so I can find out how I would have done.'"
Fortunately, Opreska had plenty of good news to forward. Northern Lebanon pole vaulters Boltz and Derek DiAngelis posted first and third finishes, respectively. Boltz, a senior three-sport star, clinched the win with a jump-off distance of 13-3. DiAngelis and runner-up Ben Graybill of Cocalico topped 13-0 in the three-way tiebreaker.
"We had very high hopes for both these guys going into the season. Working with (former Lebanon Valley College) coach (Jim) Weaver is a truly a blessing," added Opreska.
In other action, Annville-Cleona's Ben Mason took second place in the 400 dash (50.34). The Dutchmen will look to repeat as the Class AA district champion Saturday at Shippensburg.
As far as the county girls, A-C junior Alena Gardyan led the way with a third place in the 300 hurdles. A foreign exchange student from Hamburg, Germany, Gardyan checked in with a 47.04.
Other meet highlights included Hempfield sophomore Sarah Helgeson's sweep of the girls' sprint events (100-200-400). She is the first L-L girl to accomplish the feat. Penn Manor sophomore Greta Lindsley also claimed all three girls' distance events (800-1600-3200), duplicating Elco grad Kayleigh Perry's 2009 performance.
In addition, Annville-Cleona and UCLA alum Jeremy Silverman's 2001 shot put record of 59-5 ¼ was broken on the second throw by Cocalico's Kyle Felpel (60-1 ½). Conestoga Valley (boys) and Hempfield (girls) captured team crowns.
Mid-Penn Conference Championships
In Chambersburg, the Palmyra girls' 3200 relay team shattered the school record and Trojans' stadium mark with a time of 9:31.78. The Cougars quartet - consisting of Olivia Farabaugh, Devin Strynkowski, Maria Tukis and Katie Dembroski - beat second-place finisher Cumberland Valley by nearly seven seconds and eclipsed Carlisle's old stadium record of 9:47.50 from 1980. Rachel Kline also high-jumped to a silver medal.
The Palmyra boys were paced by gold-medal efforts from Connor Strynkowski in the 3200 (9:53.33) and Shawn Mayer's monster 15-7 pole vault. Tim Moses came in second in the pole vault at 14-9.