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Get the sights, sounds and highlights from Day 2 of the District 3 track and field championships. (Teddy Feinberg/GameTimePA.com)

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A YAIAA duo finished atop the medal stand at the 2017 District 3 track and field championships  Saturday at Shippensburg Univeristy. 

Madisen Kling, of Red Lion, and Emily Eckard, of Dover, finished first and second, respectively, in the Class 3A girls' discus throw.

Kling was No. 1 with a throw of 141 feet, 6 inches. Eckard followed with a throw of 128-05. 

The two said they met just last week but seem to have become fast friends. Following Saturday's medal ceremony, Kling and Eckard were seen joking, laughing and sporting wide smiles as they held simultaneous interviews with the media.

They also said having each other at the top of the district standings — they were seeded No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, entering the weekend competition — helped each other's performance when it counted most.

Another YAIAA competitor, South Western's Jazmin Walker, entered districts seeded No. 12 yet qualified for the finals and finished eighth overall.

"It helps push you," Kling said of the local competition translating into district success. "You're not just competing with yourself, but with others too."

Said Eckard: "Having good competition like Madi is great. I love throwing with her. She pushes me to do better."

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Kling, just a junior, has been one of the area's top district throwers for some time. 

Last year she finished second at the District 3 meet with a throw of 124 feet, 9 inches (Emily Stauffer of Cocalico finished first with a throw of 144-07). Kling entered this year's District 3 tournament as the No. 1 seed in Class 3A.

Kling said she was loose and relaxed during Saturday's events and hopes to carry that mindset into the PIAA meet. 

"I'm hoping to medal. I didn't do very well last year," Kling said of her state performance. "I was really nervous."

As for Eckard, she's come on strong down the stretch of the season and has emerged as a postseason performer as well.

"I kept practicing, kept working, hitting the weights and it's starting to come, finally, at the right time," Eckard said. 

West York discus thrower wins gold

Last year at this time, Luke Hoffman was a fourth place finisher at the District 3 meet.

 

This year he's a champion.

Hoffman won the Class 3A boys' discus competition with a throw of 186 feet, 11 inches. The next closest competitor had a throw of 178-04 feet.

Hoffman said he wanted to break 190 feet but that the cold and windy conditions at Shippensburg made it difficult. Still, he was happy with his consistency. Hoffman said he hit 186 feet three times on Saturday.

 

Hoffman said he started the season slow, in large part because he had to work on his release point and wrist placement. He said a turning point came at Penn Relays, when he studied the Jamaican team's throwers and took some of their techniques with him.

He won the YAIAA competition recently with a meet-record throw of 183-05.

Hoffman said his previous best before this year wast 164-09. He gained 20 pounds this offseason, however — he now stands at about 6-feet tall, 200-pounds — and has improved his marks throughout the season.

The senior said he's looking to take the next step at states, where he finished 11th last year.

"“If I can come out top three, I’ll be happy.” he said.

 

South Western 4X100 relay finishes second

The Mustangs entered Saturday's District 3 championship seeded No. 1 in the 4X100 relay field, but narrowly fell to No. 5 Susquehanna Township. South Western finished second overall with a time of 42.83 seconds, while Susquehanna Township completed the feat in 42.80 seconds.

The Mustangs' four-runner team of Delunche Shaw, Drew Hartlaub, Dhane Schmelyun and Noah Langenfeld said they could  have done better.

Schmelyun and Langenfeld said the loss left a bitter taste in their mouths. All four also said, however, that they expect a bounce-back effort at next weekend's PIAA meet.

“I just think I could have ran a better race. Probably should have won that for my team, but I’ll get them back at states,” Hartlaub said.

Hartlaub and Shaw also qualified for states in the Class 3A 100-meter dash. Shaw overcame a hamstring injury and a No. 9 seed entering the race to finish fifth with a time of 11.11 seconds.

Hartlaub placed fourth with a time of 11.04 seconds.

Lopez moves up, qualifies for states

 

Eastern York's Nathan Lopez started the day slotted No. 4 at the outset of Saturday's Class 5A 800-meter run. He moved up to finish second, however, and has a state meet berth to show for it.

Lopez got out to a fast start and led for the majority of Saturday's race. He was eventually caught and edged out at the finish line by Carlisle's Isaac Cole, who finished with a time of 1 minute, 55.57 seconds. Lopez finished in 1:55.64.

Regardless, it was a strong performance for the Golden Knights' senior.

"I saw the seedings and I knew I had to finish top-five to make it to the next round," Lopez said. “My mind set was survive and advance. I got our quick to avoid getting boxed in, avoid any elbows and held on as much as I could.”

 Cole leaned forward to narrowly beat Lopez at the finish line.

“Once you hit that last home stretch, I can kind of hear everyone cheering, you hear certain school’s names being shouted and you start thinking what uniforms guys are wearing," Lopez said. "You think, ‘Oh, this kid is coming up behind me now.’ I definitely became cognizant of it that last home stretch.”

Smith just misses first-place finish

 

New Oxford's Madi Smith suffered a tough-luck loss Saturday in the Class 3A javelin.

Smith, who entered as the top seed, led the field with a throw of 139 feet, 7 inches. She was topped by Palmyra's Kirstin West on West's final throw of the day, however, when she recorded a distance of 140-09.

“I knew 139 wasn’t going to be good enough and everybody was so close and hopping around," Smith said. "I knew it was going to be tough and she threw how she had to at the end.”

Smith's career is not short on accomplishments. She won the District 3 Class 3A javelin throw last year and was a silver medalist at the PIAA championships. Next year she will throw javelin at Penn State University.

She said she hopes to top 140 feet and get one final personal record at next week's state meet.

"That would be very exciting in my last meet as a New Oxford Colonial,” she said.

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