There was literally a run on precious metals over the weekend at the District Three Track and Field Championships, and Lebanon County played a large part in the shortage.
Student-athletes from six local schools combined to collect 39 medals in the two-day event held at Seth Grove Stadium (Top 8 finishes).
As for Hess, the senior knew the forecast called for bright and sunny skies. He even brought an umbrella.
His first chance came early Friday in the boys' Class AA triple jump. Popping between each attempt, he eventually carried his sun shield to the eight-man medal stand. He was only a few moments behind A-C girls' shot putter Avree Wright, who had just stepped off the podium.
By the end of the two-day gathering, Hess had hauled away four medals for his efforts in the three-hop, long jump, high jump and javelin.
"Yeah, see what I started Friday," joked the Bloomsburg commit as the sun faded Saturday afternoon. "I had mine first, and now everybody has them."
Of course, he was only referring to his umbrella antics.
Meanwhile, Dutchmen junior Corle could only touch his first medal Friday for a few seconds. The meet officials let him wrap it around his neck just long enough to snap a photo. They took it back and told him an eighth-place award would be mailed within two weeks. Corle could have cared less.
It was his fault there was a three-way tie for the prize, anyhow. He was supposed to finish 10th. And besides, he appeared even happier Saturday morning passing the baton to Ben Mason in A-C's golden 3200 relay, along with Shawn Wolfe and Mark Bachman.
It was that type of weekend.
In all, 15 local student-athletes and a half dozen relays made it out of the district. They will now advance to the PIAA Meet set to start Friday back at Ship.
"Our district is definitely one of the hardest, along with District Seven," said Mason, who added a 400 dash title to go with relay gold.
Mason, along with Palmyra pole vaulter Shawn Mayer, will be the county's highest ranked entrants entering states. The junior is seeded as the third fastest boys in the AA 400 field. Mason also runs in the 3200 relay, seeded sixth, and A-C's 4x400, ranked fifth. Wolfe also goes solo in the 1600 run.
In Class AAA, Mayer is the No. 3 pole vaulter after clearing 15-feet Saturday. He will approach third behind Altoona's Ryan Steinbugl (15-4) and Jesse Laverdiere of Laurel Highland (15-0). Teammate Tim Moses is eighth at 14-3, and Northern Lebanon's Brian Boltz sits in 16th at 13-9.
In addition, Elco senior and Shippensburg recruit Nate Litschi will be busy when he returns to his future home. Litschi locked up three individual berths, making the cut in the long jump, triple jump and 110 high hurdles.
Raider classmate Drew Gerberich also earned a trip in the 800 run and mile, although the district 1600 champ's name was not listed on the preliminary seedings.
Other AAA entrants include Palmyra's Connor Strynkowski (3200), Andrew Latchford (400) and the Cougars 1600 relay. For Northern Lebanon, Joe Vedilago (400) joins Boltz as a qualifier, and Cedar Crest is sending Garrett Levengood (javelin) and a 3200 relay.
Shifting to the girls' side, its quality over quantity, and youth over experience.
A-C's Tricia Light is the veteran of the nine county girls' to advance. The senior, headed to Temple to play field hockey next fall, captured a silver medal in her specialty Saturday, the 100 hurdles. She took first at districts a year ago, but ran into Shamrock buzzsaw Anna Kuntz, who cleared her first hurdle three months ago.
"I'm still excited I got this medal; I wasn't expecting my gold last year at all," beamed Light after stepping off the podium. "Trinity dropped down from AAA to AA this year, so I'm happy with this."
Brittany Lewis, Angel Jacabella and Alena Gardyan will all join Light in the girls' AA 400 relay at states. Gardyan, the district champ in the 300 hurdles, is also ranked 10th in the 300 hurdles. Lewis, a silver medallist in Friday's high jump, is seeded 20th for states.
For Class AAA girls', Palmyra's blue-ribbon 3200 connection of Devin Strynkowski, Katie Dembrowski, Maria Tukis and Olivia Farabaugh check in at 10th.
Lebanon's Erin Winters rounds out the locals in the pole vault. She is projected as the 10th best in the Keystone State. The freshman is one of four pole vaulters to make states from the county.
"I think you can put a lot of that on coach Weaver," said Mayer, citing longtime Northern Lebanon and Lebanon Valley College vault coach Jim Weaver. "Congratulations to everybody that made it to states, it was a windy day."
HIGH SCHOOL TRACK AND FIELD
FRIDAY AND SATURDAY
Andrew Latchford, PAL (400); Joe Vedilago, NL (400); Drew Gerberich, E (800 and 1600); Nate Litschi, E, (Triple Jump, Long Jump, High Hurdles); Garrett Levengood, CC, (Javelin); Connor Strynkowski, PAL (3200); Shawn Mayer, PAL (Pole Vault); Tim Moses, PAL (Pole Vault); Brian Boltz, NL (Pole Vault); Cedar Crest's 3200 relay.
Ben Mason, AC (400); Shawn Wolfe, AC (1600); Annville-Cleona's 3200 relay.
Erin Winters, LEB (Pole Vault); Palmyra's 3200 relay.
Tricia Light, AC (100 Hurdles); Alena Gardyan, AC (300 Hurdles); Brittany Lewis, AC (high jump); Annville-Cleona's 400 relay.