See the top 10 moments from the 2017 Lebanon County Track Meet held Saturday at Lebanon High School. Matt Catrillo/GameTimePA.com
It hasn’t been very often that the Cedar Crest boys track and field team has had to face much adversity in recent seasons.
A huge credit to that is continually bringing in a good amount of depth year after year – and as a result the Falcons have sat atop the Lebanon County throne since Bill Clinton was president.
And the more the Falcons have repeated, the bigger the target has become.
But Cedar Crest has always come up with an answer, with this year being no different, as the Falcons (154 points) earned their 20th consecutive County title Saturday at Lebanon High, holding off a late push from their cross-town rival (144 points) and prevailed through other adversity along the way.
“To get two decades is awesome. On paper it was us and Lebanon,” said Falcons coach Rob Bare. “We knew they were going to bring their A-game. Our guys continued to fight and battle even when things didn’t go our way. To go one and three in the two-mile with (Jake) Barrett and (Josh) Rudd, to go one and two in the javelin with (Greg) Munnion and (Garrett) deBien, and we ran three depth guys in the 4x400 to get second because of an injury and other things going on….that was huge to close out the meet.”
The injury that occurred came during the triple jump when Nick Felty went down, but Bare says he should be fine going forward.
“It sounds like the knee buckled a little bit,” Bare said. “The trainer doesn’t think it’s anything serious, but he’s going to get that looked at, and we’re hoping we’ll have him back before too long.”
Jesse Cruise also won multiple events on the day that proved to be huge for the Falcons, earning him being named the meet’s Most Outstanding Male Athlete.
“I’m amazed. I think that’s what I was trying for, but I didn’t know if I did quite well enough to do it,” he said. “But I’m thankful for it. It’s a great honor to achieve that. I don’t think I ever quite imagined this.”
Some of Cruise’s big wins included taking the 4x800-meter relay in 8:16.84 with William Sheffield, Dylan Mehler, and Ryan Scicchitano, then winning the 1600-meter run in 4:32.94, and 400-meter dash in 51.08. Cruise was also forced to run in the 200-meter dash with his team shorthanded, where he finished fifth in 24.00.
“Jesse did it for the team today,” Bare said. “As coaches we talk about doing that. We needed him to run the 200 to get us a couple points. He had a tough quad today, and I was thrilled he was named outstanding athlete.”
Looking back on how he’s led the program to such a historic accomplishment, Bare says he never thought it would be possible when he first took over the program in 1995.
“You don’t really think about anything happening like that,” Bare said. “We first won in 1998, then we had a couple pretty good teams, then had some real good teams and a couple of great battles with our opponents. I’m really happy for the guys. I know they’re going to be thrilled and we’ve had a great season. We’re not the strongest team, but yet we keep showing resilience. I’m really proud of our coaching staff too.”
Juan Maldonado wins high and triple jumps
The Lebanon jumper not only gave himself a chance to be named outstanding athlete, but also put the Cedars in the running to upset the Falcons by winning both events. Maldonado took the high jump with a jump of six feet, and triple jump with a jump of 44.06.50.
“I came in pretty head strong. I was just ready to jump,” Maldonado said. “I had a great day. Everyone did really well today.”
Miller leads A-C with three event wins
Stanley Miller’s strong day was highlighted by upsetting Maldonado in the long jump, winning with a jump of 21’ 3 1/2,” with Maldonado second with a jump of 20’10.”
“I knew Juan was a really good jumper and always does his best,” Miller said. “I knew I needed to get some height on all my jumps. After doing it a couple of times, and getting some tips from him actually, I was able to get that winning jump at the last minute.”
Miller followed that performance by taking the 100-meter dash in 11.40, and the 200-meter dash in 23.03.
Klick wins two events
Derin Klick continued the Lebanon attempt at dethroning Cedar Crest with wins in the 800-meter run in 1:57.45, followed by winning the 4x400-meter relay with Jeremiah Beckley, Riley Klick, and Philip Hillesheim in 3:29.61.
“I just went out hard, pushed the first lap, and I knew the second lap would come easier,” Klick said. “I knew I was top in this event and that pushed me through.”
Cooper, Larkin lead Palmyra
After finishing fifth in the shot put, Mason Cooper bounced back in a big way by winning the discus, earning a personal record throw of 146’4.”
“It feels really good,” Cooper said. “Having a bad day in one event usually makes me better in the other event.”
It was also a memorable day for Cougars senior Devon Larkin, who won the pole vault with a jump of 13’.
What makes the win even more impressive – he’s only been competing in the event for two months.
“It’s amazing. The big part of it is Coach Travis Shelton. I’ve known him since I was 10 and he’s also my gymnastics coach,” Larkin said. “He helped me out a lot and skyrocketed me into contention. I felt really good coming in.”