Lebanon County Meet: 5 Things to watch
Don't miss this week's GameTimePA.com Top 5 Plays.
Because of the figurative cup of talent that runneth over and the obvious local bragging rights at stake, the Lebanon County Track and Field Championships is a must-see event on pretty much an annual basis.
This year will certainly be no exception, as a plethora of standout performances are likely when athletes from the six county track and field programs converge on Lebanon High School Saturday morning. Summer-like temperatures are expected for the event, which begins at 10 a.m., so bring your sunscreen, sit back, catch some rays and enjoy the show.
And to prepare you for what you might see, here's a look at five things in particular to be on the lookout for at LHS on Saturday:
The race for 20
As in 20 straight county titles for the Cedar Crest boys, who'll look to close out a second straight decade of county meet dominance on Saturday.
It's an almost unfathomable run of brilliance, but it's very much a proud reality for Cedar Crest coach Rob Bare and his squad. The Falcons figure to be pushed a little bit by host Lebanon, Palmyra and Annville-Cleona, but with four No.1 seeds - Jesse Cruise in the 1600, and the 4x100, 4x400 and 4x800 relays - and plenty of depth, it's tough to envision Cedar Crest getting knocked off its perch on Saturday.
But if it would happen, fans would be treated to a little slice of history and the team that does the dethroning would forever be remembered for ending the most incredible streak of success in county sports history.
But don't bet on it.
Reagan's remarkable run
Speaking of mind-boggling streaks, Annville-Cleona sprinting and jumping sensation Reagan Hess will be eyeing a fourth straight Most Outstanding Female Athlete award at the county meet.
It'a going to be tough to stop her. Winner of three gold medals at districts last year and a state 2A silver medalist in the long jump, Hess is already in postseason form with a couple weeks still left in the regular season.
She proved that on Saturday, winning gold medals in the 100, 200 and long jump - and setting a new meet record in the 100 - at Shippensburg University's Jack Roddick Invitational. Then on Monday in a Section 3 meet at Donegal, Hess popped an 11.8 in the 100 dash. Yikes.
Oh yeah, Hess set the county record in the long jump at last year's meet. It wouldn't be a shock if she did it again.
It's the last high school go-around for a once-in-a-generation athlete, so if you're a track and field fan you shouldn't pass on any opportunities to see Hess perform in the coming weeks, including on Saturday.
Klick-ing on all cylinders
He's one of the top 800 meter runners in the state, a two-time Lancaster-Lebanon League champ in the event and the current county meet record holder. He's Lebanon senior Derin Klick and he'll be looking to add some more hardware to his collection on Saturday in his specialty event.
His best time of 1:56.22 gives him the top seed by more than six seconds and it will be quite the upset if any other 800 entrant can bridge that gap during Saturday's race.
The Joy of Jumping
The joy will be in simply watching the girls long jump on Saturday. Led by the remarkable Hess, the field is stacked with four championship-caliber jumpers who've all leaped at least 17 feet entering the weekend.
There's Hess (18-9 3/4), Palmyra junior Camryn Simpson (18- 1/2), and Cedar Crest seniors Ariel Jones (17-7) and Destinee Holloman (17-0), who'll lead what is almost without question the most impressive crew of female long jumpers the meet has ever seen.
Do. Not. Miss. It.
While the boys' field will be looking to end Cedar Crest's title reign, the girls' team competition figures to center around Palmyra, which boasts nine No.1 seeds, including all three distance events, courtesy of Jess Dembrowski (800), Kelsei Bixler (1600), and Sarah Hollen (3200).
`Not to be outdone, the Palmyra boys secured four No.1 seeds - Kevin Cole (3200), Devin Larkin (high jump, pole vault) and Mason Cooper (discus) - and as noted earlier are one of the teams that could challenge the Cedar Crest boys.