Four takeaways from the Herb Schmidt Relays
Luke and Kyle Hoffman broke the two-man discus relay record previously held by Red Lion for 33 years. Brandon Stoneburg
The Hoffman brothers — senior Kyle and junior Luke — had Friday's Herb Schmidt Relays circled on the calendar for months.
Luke (the more technical and fundamental discus thrower of the two) and Kyle (the faster, stronger thrower) spend the offseason working together to perfect their skills. Individually, they're both above average discus throwers for West York. But the reason they were looking forward to Friday was because the Herb Schmidt Relays offers a rare chance for them to compete together in a two-man discus relay.
"Luke is the more technical brother, I'm the faster and stronger brother," Kyle Hoffman said. "Together we work well. He helps me with my technique, and I help him build strength and speed. We train together all the time in the offseason. We've been wanting to break this record since we both started throwing."
The record Hoffman hinted at was the combined distance of 282 feet, 11 inches set by Red Lion 33 years ago in the Herb Schmidt Relays. After Kyle Hoffman threw 134 feet and five inches in his first throw, Luke needed 148 feet for the Hoffman family to take home the record. His first throw was foul, but his second throw had more than enough on it, landing 154 feet and one inch down the field.
"I saw them pulling the tape and when I saw it going past 153, I was like, 'There it is,'" Luke Hoffman said. "School record, meet record again, first place, it was everything."
The 154-foot throw also broke West York's school record.
"Yeah, he's been breaking records," Kyle said of his younger brother. "I'm definitely happy for him."
Red Lion wins traditional shuttle relay
One of the traditions at the Herb Schmidt Relays is the quirky co-ed shuttle hurdle relay, where two boys and two girls from each team race together in a 100-meter hurdle relay. It's a rare event unique to this meet. This year's winner was Red Lion's team composed of Glori Keough, Noah Pillsbury, Jayla Godfrey and Dom Eyler.
A co-ed hurdle relay isn't exactly something that teams practice every day.
"We've never practiced anything like the shuttle relay," Godfrey said after the win. "Yesterday to prepare we practiced it a few times, but other than that we've never done anything like it. ... It was a very fun and unique experience for us."
Under the lights
The 57th annual relays marked the second consecutive year that the event was held on a Friday evening after traditionally being held on Saturday afternoons for many years. Luckily for the participants and spectators, the rain that had been in the forecast never showed.
"It was a real big success last year and it seems people would rather be here on a Friday night under the lights," York Suburban head coach Dave Wickenheiser said. "Last year was kind of accidental because of a snow day. But we got lucky. ... By moving it to Friday, we were able to pick up some more teams. York Tech, Red Lion and South Western are all back. Hershey is here and they've never been here before. It worked out nice this year."
Fourteen varsity teams and 11 junior high teams participated Friday night at York Suburban. The addition of junior high teams is something very few invitationals do, Wickenheiser said.
"It's what makes this event really unique really," he said. "I was just talking to the Hershey coach and he was telling his varsity kids to be on their best behavior because the younger kids look up to them as role models. This gives the junior high kids a taste of what track and field is all about. That's why we really like this meet."
Drawing a crowd
Fans lined the fence around the track and packed the bleachers Friday evening. Wickenheiser called it one of the larger attendances in recent memory, maybe because of the nice weather or maybe the excitement surrounding the event. But one of those fans was Dave Moore, who made the trip from the Palmyra area, which shows how popular the meet is.
"This is my third time down here and I'm more excited this year because Hershey is participating," Moore said. "It's a very well-ran event. This school and league do a great job. The different relays make it really unique from a spectator standpoint, it's something you don't see many other places, if at all. Plus the weather is perfect this year which helps."