Elco's all-or-nothing Drew Gerberich only cared about one thing - Slushies. On the other hand, Palmyra's Connor Strynkowski had a slightly cooler take, although his observation came during breakfast hours.
"By my fifth lap, it felt like it was 200 degrees," explained the Cougars' long-distance specialist. Meanwhile, for his pole-vaulting classmates Shawn Mayer and Tim Moses, ground temperature had little relevance at their altitudes.
As a whole, Lebanon County handled Pennsylvania's heat on the second day of action at Seth Grove Stadium, hauling away seven medals by the time the sun set on the state meet.
Mason, Gerberich and Mayer all finished in fourth place. Strynkowski and Moses joined A-C's Shawn Wolfe and Elco's Nate Litschi with sixth-place awards. Plus, the Dutchmen's 1600 relay of Mason, Wolfe, Mark Bachman and Eric Bowman added a seventh.
"I stayed inside most of the day, and, wow, it's so hot," Gerberich said immediately after clocking a 1:53.55 in the boys' Class AAA 800 run.
The Raider senior wasn't supposed to medal, much less make the final draw. He snuck into the conclusion with a gutty effort Friday to clinch a top-12 spot. No surprise though, he's been coming from the blind-side since his county-meet record mile victory to start the month.
"I knew my 12-seed was lower than it should have been," he said. "My time was the slowest that made it. I think it was kind of fitting because all year I always felt that I was the underrated one at every race. It gave me more motivation being the underdog."
The Robert Morris recruit held the sixth spot at the midway point of the 800. He closed with fury.
"I just told myself I have one more lap. I waited till about 300 and the leader started pulling away, so I started
As for Mayer and Moses, they were both fist-pumping in the Class AAA pole vault. The duo both cleared 15 feet in what turned into an appropriate grand finale for the PIAA's.
Eight different vaulters cleared 15 with Strath Haven's Chris Williams topping 16-6 for gold. Mayer notched 15-6 for fourth, and Moses landed 15 to tie two others. Northern Lebanon senior and East Stroudsburg recruit Brian Boltz also added a 15th at 13-6.
"I came in thinking under-doggish and just wanted to pop something off to surprise everybody," added Mayer, repeating his fourth-place finish from 2011. "I wasn't thinking I had this under my belt or anything. I was just hoping to win."
Mayer, owner of a 15-7 PR, is considering taking his stick to either Tiffin University (Ohio) or Shippensburg next fall.
"This was a big year for jumping," he said. "We all wanted to win, but it's always going to come down to one person. We were all smiling, we were all happy. We were all pulling stuff."
Moses, an 11th-grader, finished as the vault's top underclassmen.
As for A-C's Mason, also a junior, he admitted he was beat by the end of Saturday. It wasn't on the track, though, but by a grueling weekend in which he ran four relay legs and the 400 dash twice.
"I'm just dead tired," he said after stepping down from the medal stand for the second time.
"Whenever I start, I don't feel like I want to go that fast. I always put myself in a hole," he said. "But I think I have a strong finish, so I don't think I have to go out that fast."
Wolfe, another one of A-C's potent juniors, came across sixth in the AA mile in 4:24.19. Meter-by-meter, he had an even longer Friday and Saturday than Mason.
"I got out good (in the 1600). I had an outside alley, so I could check out my position and not get boxed in at all," said Wolfe, a crowd favorite with his ponytail bouncing. "I was just trying to stay in medal position (top 8). I was seeded 20th at trials, so I was happy to get a medal. I felt my strategy played out real well."
The final varsity effort of Raider Litschi also played out well. The 6-foot-4 three-sport star clocked a 14.90 for sixth in the AAA 110 high hurdles. He also added an 11th in the triple jump and 16th in the long jump over the weekend.
As for Strynkowski, he started the county charge Saturday morning by leading the first two laps of the boys' AAA 3200. His 9:21.02 earned him sixth.
"I wanted to hang back, but I took the lead on the first two laps. It felt nice, and it shouldn't have been feeling that nice," he kidded after receiving his medal. "I was worn out by 4-5-6 (of the eight lap race)."
In other track action, the Palmyra girls' AAA 3200 relay of Olivia Farabaugh, Devin Strynkowski, Maria Tukis and Katie Dembrowski took 10th. The A-C boys' 3200 relay crossed in 12th.
On the field, Lebanon's freshman pole vaulter Erin Winters walked away 16th in the girls' AAA pole vault. Also, Cedar Crest quarterback Garrett Levengood displayed his cannon in the AAA javelin with a 14th at 172-0.
Unfortunately, Levengood witnessed the end of former Falcon Thomas Jordan's record in the javelin. Jordan held the county's lone state record with a throw of 224-02 in 2002. South Park's Billy Stanley, bound for Ohio State, uncorked a PIAA record and National Federation of High School record toss of 246-09 on his first attempt Saturday.