Skip to main content

BOYS TRACK AND FIELD: Northern Lebanon secures section crown

FREDERICKSBURG >> It didn't seem to be at the time, but the Northern Lebanon boys' track and field team's failed bid to unseat perennial champ Cedar Crest at the county track meet 10 days ago may have been the best thing that could have happened to it.

At the very least, it certainly hasn't been a bad thing, based on the way the Vikings have performed since.

First came a big effort on Saturday to win the White Rose Invitational at Central York, then on Monday Northern Lebanon sewed up a third straight Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three title with a dominating 106-44 victory over Donegal in a regular season finale battle on the Vikes' home track.

Paced by Dakota Leonhard's new school-record heave of 53-5 1/2 in the shot put, Northern Lebanon closed out its section slate at 6-0 and improved to 7-0 overall.

It also gained some much-needed momentum heading into the Lancaster-Lebanon League Championships later this week, while also adding some more salve to that once-open county track meet wound.

"Taking the loss at the county meet was like air out of the balloon," said NL coach Mark Opreska. "It was very difficult for our team. For them to come back this weekend and win (the invitational) gave them a lot of their confidence back coming into today. I'm extremely pleased, and that's an obvious understatement, but I'm extremely pleased."

Opreska had quite a bit to be pleased about on Monday.

Four different Vikings — Leonhard, hurdler Nicholas Achenbach, distance runner Tyler McFeaters, and jumper/sprinter Ryan Morgan — won two events, and eight different Vikings stepped into the individual winner's circle in the thoroughly convincing victory.

It was a final dual meet performance that had it seeds sown way back in the offseason and during the rugged weather of the preseason.

"We are very lucky in that we have a strong winter track program," Opreska said. "And that's the preseason conditioning that the kids need."

Joining Achenbach, Morgan, McFeaters and Leonhard as event winners were Tyler Whitman (400), John Randolph (high jump), Dominic Trader (triple jump), Damian DiAngelis (pole vault) and Matt Vines (discus).

"We're incredibly happy with the number of guys we've qualified for the second league (meet) entry standards," Opreska said of the Vikings' depth, while also singling out assistant coaches Jim Weaver, Tim Biever and Dane DiAngelis for praise. "Our performances in the field has been incredibly strong.

Though Trader popping a 44-3 in the triple jump on Monday was an eye-opener, the Vikings' strongest field performer lately has been Leonhard, who also established a new school record in the javelin at the White Rose event on Saturday.

"Two school records in three days," Opreska said with a smile of Leonhard's recent feats. "I'm really pleased with the throwers, he and Matt Vines have been on their game all season long. Dakota is a really phenomenal athlete, he works hard in practice and he is a student of it."

And yet all that talent and hard work wasn't any more important to the Vikings' success than the sting of disappointment that came from losing to Cedar Crest at counties.

"WIthout that goal of beating Cedar Crest at counties," Opreska said, "we might not have been as successful as we were."

Also on Monday, the Donegal girls concluded a similarly successful run to a Section Three title by routing Northern Lebanon 118-31.

Kayla Walker led the way for the Indians by winning the 100 and 200 dashes.