SHIPPENSBURG - Seconds after crossing the finish line to win the 400-meter relay at the District 3 Class AAA track and field championships Saturday, Dallastown's Edgar Centeno jumped up and down yelling to his teammates that they had broken the school record again.
Well, he wasn't quite right about that — he thought the scoreboard read a second faster than the Wildcats winning time of 43.36 seconds — but the Wildcats still put on a show by winning the relay by .33 seconds.
“Coming out of (the league championship), it’s exactly what we aimed for," Justin Tracy said. "Coming in as the first seed, you want to leave in first place.
"We’ll definitely be trying to make it to finals next week at states. We want to put together the best team we can and come out of there with another medal.”
Tracy compared the team's work on handoffs this season to the way basketball stars practice free throws. He said they practice for about 45 minutes everyday and don't stop until their handoffs are perfect.
“None of us are straight 100 runners, but we work on our handoffs all the time," he said. "You can always tell, the teams that work on their handoffs are the ones that pull through with better times.”
Jackson Hornbrook's long blonde hair has been a staple of Littlestown's successful boys' track team for a couple years, but he made a major hairstyle change for his final postseason.
Last week, before the YAIAA Championships, he shaved his hair and donated it to Wigs for Kids.
“I figured it was time for a new look, maybe people won’t recognize me,” Hornbrook joked. “It was a big change when I did it. But who knows, maybe it made me a little faster.”
Perhaps the new look makes him a little more aerodynamic? He made a late charge in the 400 to place third in his heat — fourth overall. The placement automatically qualifies him for the state meet for the first time.
“I could hear my family, my buddies and everybody cheering for me and that made me really want to kick it into the next gear and pass a couple people and make sure I got my spot for states,” Hornbrook said.
Grim moves on
Bermudian Springs junior Trevor Grim set a personal record in the 110 hurdles by placing fourth in 15.04 seconds in the morning. He became the first Eagles medalist since the boys moved up to Class AAA, and he also became the first to qualify for states at the Class AAA level. Later in the day, he also qualified in the 300 hurdles with a four-place finish (40.29).
“I’m stoked about this, I wasn’t coming in expecting to even make finals in 110s," Grim said. "I was expecting to get eighth in the 300s, but I wasn’t expecting to qualify for states in either and I qualified for both.”
Sweeney books spot
York County Tech senior Bry'quan Sweeney said after his semifinal race on Friday that he needed a good start and a good finish if he was going to succeed in Day 2.
Sweeney didn't quite get the start he wanted, but a lean at the finish line earned him second place in 11.12 seconds.
“The start didn’t go exactly as planned," he said. "They had us get back on our blocks, and I was tense, ready to go before I had to stand up. The second time around, I was a bit slower than I wanted to be.”
His time matched his time from Friday's semifinals, when the weather was drier and about 20 degrees warmer.
“Whether it’s snowing, raining, whatever, we practice outside all the time," Sweeney said. "I feel like I was already adjusted to this kind of weather.”
South Western's Drew Hartlaub placed seventh with a time of 11.42.
Eastern survives scares
The Eastern York boys' 3,200-meter relay team dropped the baton not once but twice during Saturday's district final. Since Eastern runners picked up the baton both times without interfering with another runner, the Knights avoided disqualification.
And the gaffes were something to laugh about afterwards, as the Golden Knights' time of 8:05.71 earned them a fifth-place spot. The top five in each Class AAA event automatically qualified for the PIAA championships.
“We wanted to break eight, but we had a couple mistakes," Brandon Dailey said. "We could’ve done better, but we’re still happy to make it to states.”