Skip to main content

Delone's Sweeney, New Oxford's Thomas among many to set personal bests at tri-meet

Friday's tri-meet at New Oxford served its purpose for all competitors involved.

Nobody tallied team scores, and many of the areas top athletes skipped events to rest for Saturday's Shippensburg Invitational, but many athletes set personal records on the warmest, sunniest day of the track season so far.

Gettysburg brought the lightest squad, choosing to rest a lot of athletes, while New Oxford chose select events for its athletes to compete in as a way to conserve energy. Delone Catholic treated the meet as seriously as any meet — the Squires are not sending anyone to Shippensburg — and looked the part.

"This is what the purpose of the meet was," Squires coach Dusty Lehr said. "We had a great day, a great day. The distance crew, I think all of them ran season-best times. Our hurdlers ran well, too. We had a really good day."

One of those distance runners, sophomore Abbey Sweeney, won the 1,600 meter run with a time of six minutes, her best time of the year by seven seconds. She broke the six-minute barrier once last season with a 5:58.

As she finished each lap, coaches yelled out to Sweeney to tell her how many seconds off a six-minute pace she was running. She was off by three seconds at the end of her second-to-last lap, but her coaches clocked her at a 5:59 as she came across the finish line.

"I was really scared, but once I heard him say it, I really tried to push past that finish line," Sweeney said. "I knew it was close, I didn't know if I just broken it or if I just missed it."

She took a few steps after finishing, then bent over and grabbed her knees as she caught her breath. When distance coach R.C. Zinn told her she broke the six-minute mark, she smiled and threw her hands in the air.

"She's really trying to push for this county qualifier in the mile and we know she's got to go below six," Lehr said. "It's not a guarantee, but looking at previous years and what it takes to qualify, if you're running below six minutes you're probably safe. She made a great last 500 (meters)."

Other personal bests for the Delone Catholic girls, who are undefeated in dual meets, included Natalie Wildasin and Taylor Lescaleet, who ran alongside each other to a 2:34.7 in the 800.

On the boys' side, New Oxford junior Kyle Thomas set two personal bests, winning the 400 run and breaking his previous record by two seconds with a 52.2. He also ran an 11.1 in the 100 dash to tie with Delone Catholic's Tavian Dorsey. That mark was also a personal best for Dorsey.

Thomas' personal record and victory in the 400 nearly didn't happen, though, as he line up wearing sweat pants over his shorts. He quickly stripped his sweats down and tossed them to the side when the referee asked for runners to take their marks, and said he might not have won the race if he hadn't.

"(I probably would've lost) a solid second, I might've gotten second (place)," he said. "I'm not shocked (at my time) because we've been working crazy hard on these 400 workouts."

New Oxford coach Jason Warner credited the warm weather — a rarity so far this season — as one of the biggest reasons so many athletes had banner days.

"That's a huge factor," he said. "We only have six dual meets, and the first two are the first week of the season when it's cold and rainy. Even early April isn't consistent. To get a day like this, you really see those times drop and distances get longer. It's nice to have a nice day like that."