SHIPPENSBURG - She wanted four very, very badly. Fate had other ideas.
But three district gold medals is still an accomplishment Reagan Hess will cherish for a very long time.
The Annville-Cleona junior's quest for a clean, four-gold-medal sweep in the District 3 Class AA Track and Field Championships came up short Saturday, when a baton exchange problem between teammates Timeshah Clark and Veronica Merone on the second and third legs knocked top-seeded A-C out of the 4 x 100 relay.
But Hess was unbeaten in events where she had complete control of the outcome, following up Friday's record-setting win in the long jump with convincing victories in the 100- and 200-meter dashes on a ridiculously cold and rainy day at Shippensburg University's Seth Grove Stadium.
The line for those happy with three gold medals at a high-caliber meet like the District 3 event, but still bitterly disappointed at the lack of a fourth forms behind Hess. It's a short line, reserved for those who burn for greatness.
"I think that after the 4 x 1, it kinda gave me more adrenaline to run. That's where the exciting part came in," said Hess, who opened her day by taking the 100 in 12.09 seconds, then endured the relay debacle before coming back to take the 200 in 25.49. "But I don't know what happened (in the relay). It's heartbreaking, but that stuff happens. You gotta keep going.
"It's amazing, coming back from last year (a hamstring injury that sidelined her from districts). I would have liked four, but I'm happy with three."
Especially considering the weather conditions - cold, rainy and generally miserable - that could have derailed a lesser competitor.
"The cold is what's tough," Hess said. "It's so bad for your hamstrings to be out in the cold, and that was my No. 1 issue. That stuck in the back of my head the whole time."
Injury also prevented Lebanon's Derin Klick from competing in districts last season, but neither physical woes nor the weather could stop him this year, as he claimed the silver medal in the AAA boys 800 meters.
"It was one of my goals for the last two years," Klick, a junior, said. "Ever since I started running, ever since I knew what districts were. I was pretty excited with the place I was at in the race, and when I finished that's when it hit me that it hurt that bad, but it was a pretty good race."
Even outside of Hess and Klick, it was a busy day on the medal stand for Lebanon County athletes.
Elco's Ethan Anspach sped to a third-place finish in the AAA 200 dash, while Northern Lebanon thrower Dakota Leonhard followed up a silver medal in the AAA shot put on Friday with a bronze in the javelin Saturday, and Palmyra's Alex Hoffsmith was sixth in the event.
Cedar Crest's Jesse Cruise, Bryce Vukovich, Adam Wolfe and Matt Royer were fourth in the AAA 3200 relay and Cruise added a seventh in the 1600 run. Falcon star Evan Horn, still bothered by an elbow injury, did not place in the javelin, but still snared sixth place in the long jump.
In addition, the Falcon boys' 1600 relay team of Royer, Cruise, Blake Thomson and Kobe Bolanos placed fifth in the final event of the day.
Northern Lebanon's Matt Vines also got into the medal act in AAA, placing sixth in the discus.
On the girls side in AAA, Cedar Crest's Ariel Jones (high jump) and Hannah Woelfling (discus) secured fifth-place medals, and Destinee Holloman was seventh in the 100 dash and eighth in the 400 relay with Taylor Menser, DeAsia Holloman and Jones.
In addition, Palmyra's Kirstin West followed up her Mid Penn title in the javelin last week with a sixth-place medal Saturday, while Palmyra's 3200 relay girls quartet of Ellie Keck, Juliana Kerper, Kelsei Bixler and Jess Dembrowski was eighth.
In boys AA, Annville-Cleona's Adam Fox was fourth in the shot put, Javier Gonzalez-Sanchez fifth in the 800, and Stanley Miller and Derek Bosworth were sixth in the 100 dash and 110 high hurdles, respectively. Cameron Hoch added an eighth in the 300 hurdles.
For the A-C girls, Clark grabbed a bronze in the AA girls 100 dash behind Hess. Clark was also fifth in the 200 and Morgan Zimmerman gave A-C three medalists in the event by placing sixth.
Also for the A-C girls, Veronica Merone was fifth in the triple jump, Kayla Long sixth in the pole vault, Courtney Conners seventh in the 800 and Alicia Hitz seventh in the 300 hurdles.