By season's end, YAIAA coaches and athletes might just be crossing their fingers that the league meet does not spill into an extra day — or three.
That was the case last year, as a Friday night postponement pushed the YAIAA championships into the following Monday. It cost some athletes one last chance to qualify for the District 3 meet. One of them was Littlestown pole vaulter Brent Chrismer, who hoped to qualify for districts with a new vaulting pole.
"He was ready to PR," coach Deanne Wenrich said at the time.
Chrismer is back for his senior season and a chance to complete that journey past the league stage. Here is an individual breakdown preview of the YAIAA boys' track and field season:
The 200-meter dash was one of those events pushed to a second day at last year's YAIAA meet, and the top three finishers — Eastern York junior Jake Kessler, William Penn senior Isaiah Ritter and West York senior Brady Jacoby — are back. Ritter, Greg Freeland and Ohadji Diggs make up a Bearcats trio that could shine individually and as a relay team for returning coach Tony Jones.
An event dominated by Central York senior Jay Stone could be open for most of the season. Stone, the two-time district champion in both the 110 and 300 hurdles, is recovering from injury.
Returning top times include West York's Andrew Moyer and Northeastern's Mykol Branch. Both are juniors. Delone Catholic senior Taylor Conrad is the Squires' lone returning district medalist after finishing fourth in the 300 and eighth in the 110.
Distance runners (800 meters or more)
These events might have the most depth, at least in terms of returning league and district champions. Biglerville junior Brady Wilt picked up district gold in the 1,600. Red Lion junior Ethan Gatchell was right behind Wilt in the 1,600 last year in the league race and duplicated that performance in the 800. New Oxford junior Aaron Gebhart and Dallastown senior Patrick Reilly, both standout cross country runners like Wilt, finished first and second in the 3,200 last year at the league meet. Fairfield brings back senior Devin Wilt, a district medalist in the 800 and school-record holder in the 1,600.
Of the league's returning long jumpers, Kennard-Dale junior Sam Schott had nearly a foot on the competition. He also could be one of the league's better runners in the 100.
In the high jump, Northeastern teammates Matthew Beck and Branch took the league's top two spots. Both are back for the Bobcats.
Defending YAIAA long jump champion Alex Keller returns for his senior season at Red Lion, as does Central senior David Choi, who finished second.
Anderson Novalin dominated the shot put and discus. The William Penn graduate also was a standout offensive lineman in football, a commonality shared by Central York senior Erik Ramirez. Bound for Princeton, Ramirez looks to improve on his second-place showing in last year's league shot put. Fairfield senior Tyler Hewitt finished fourth in Class AA districts for that event.
Spring Grove senior Ben Cregger should be the favorite in the discus, following the graduation of Novalin and Dallastown's Ben Gates.
Central York's Donnie Crabill and Biglerville's Kyle McCleaf, both seniors, return for the javelin. Crabill is the defending league champ in that event.
Kennard-Dale's Dylan Moynihan finished second in District 3 last spring and set YAIAA records at Dallastown. Now that he has graduated, seniors Chrismer of Littlestown and Crabill of Central York are among the top returning pole vaulters looking to reach new heights.
Save the dates
Saturday, April 5 >> Herb Schmidt Relays at York Suburban
Friday, April 25 >> Dallastown Invitational
Saturday, May 3 >> White Rose Invitational at Central York
Friday, May 9 >> YAIAA championships at Dallastown. The District 3 and PIAA championships are the following two Fridays and Saturdays at Shippensburg University.