When the members of Central's 1,600-meter relay team stepped on the track, each runner knew the deal: win the race or lose the meet.
The Panthers' Division I dual meet against Dallastown on Tuesday came down to the final event: a winner-take-all race featuring four laps of intense, all-out running.
Central's team featured a talented junior, Jay Stone, but the other three members were a freshman, a sophomore and a senior who wasn't on the squad last season.
The unheralded trio, Tyler Colon, Darian Hampton and Brook Wilson, kept the Panthers close on the first three laps, and Stone was just behind Dallastown's anchor runner when he took the baton from Wilson.
"I was pretty happy when I got the baton behind him," Stone said. "I was going to pretty much ride him and then take off in the last part."
Stone executed the plan perfectly. He burst to the front starting down the final straightaway.
The Panthers' junior led the rest of the way to the finish line and Central grabbed the five team points in a 79-71 victory.
The Panthers improved their York-Adams Division I record to 3-0-1 and they kept alive their hopes of winning the division. The Panthers travel to unbeaten Red Lion (4-0-0) on Tuesday.
The Dallastown girls, meanwhile, topped the Central girls by the same score of 79-71.
"I was pretty excited about running that race (1,600 relay)," Stone said. "But, I wasn't shaking and my heart wasn't coming out of my chest. I was ready to run a good race, and I pulled it off."
Stone shared the credit for the victory with his relay partners.
"Brook, he's doing so much more as a sophomore. He's pushing 52 (seconds) in the 400, and I was hoping he would get 54 or 53," he said. "We got Darian to come over and run track, and he's obviously fast, and Tyler, our freshman, he's grown tremendously and is running hard."
Wilson admitted that Tuesday was a tiring day.
"I was just coming off a sickness, so I was tired," he said. "Coach (Chris Detwiler) told me at the last minute that I was running three events. I was a little surprised, but I held my own."
Stone is surprised the relay teams are doing so well after losing three talented runners, the Koimene brothers, (Sam and Angelo) and Marquis Fells. The Koimenes graduated, and Fells, the Division I Player of the Year in football last fall, decided not to come out for track this season.
"I can't believe we're as good as we are" Stone said. "We ran a 3:31 today (in the 1,600), and that's two seconds off our best time last year. I honestly didn't know if we would see the 3:30s this year."
The Panthers swept all three relays on Tuesday, outscoring Dallastown, 15-0. Overall, the teams split the 18 events.
Stone also anchored the 400 relay, and Wilson ran the last leg of the 3,200 relay.
Hampton, David Choi and Chance Atkins were the other members of the 400 relay, and Erik Rishel, Bryce Lerew and Mitchell Crane were on the 3,200 relay team.
Stone, along with running on two winning relay teams, swept his specialties, the 110 and 300 hurdles with times of :14.2 and :39.0, respectively.
"Fourteen two, is my best time," he said. "I felt pretty fast, but I didn't feel like I was jumping the hurdles that well. In the 300, I had pretty good steps, which I was happy with, and that was my best 300 time in a dual meet."
Stone's only disappointment this season came at New Oxford when Central had to settle for a 75-75 tie.
In that meet, the Panthers were disqualified in the 1,600 relay because of a clothing violation.
"I forgot to wear my pants," said Stone, who was wearing leggings. "I wasn't trying to be a rebel by any means. I just didn't have my pants. I learned a lesson to wear my pants."
Stone was Central's only double individual winner against Dallastown. Patrick Reilly (1,600 and 3,200) and Aaron Bentzel (long jump and triple jump) recorded two first-place finishes apiece for the Wildcats.
Girls' meet: Tatianna Purnell (100 hurdles and 300 hurdles), Paige Barefoot (100 and 200 dashes) and Lydia Trout (1,600 and 3,200) won two individual events each for the Dallastown girls' team, which outscored Central on the track, 50-37.
Central made things interesting by winning the field portion, 34-29, and by grabbing three more second-place finishes and three more third-place finishes than the Wildcats.
Dallastown is now 3-1-0 in league meets, and Central is 2-2-0.
OTHER BOYS' TRACK AND FIELD
RED LION 105, YORK HIGH 44: At Small Athletic Field, 10 different athletes won individual events for Red Lion in the Division I meet. The Lions also captured two of the three relays. York High's Anderson Novalin recorded the best throws in the shot put and discus. Red Lion improved its first-place record to 4-0-0.
LITTLESTOWN 105, YORK TECH 45: At Littlestown, the Thunderbolts took first in eight of the 11 track events to secure the York-Adams Division III victory. Individually for the Thunderbolts, Xavier Sauvageau won the 1,600 and 3,200, Josh Hicks won the 100 and 200 and Dustin Crouse won the javelin and shot put. For the Spartans, Ronald Henderson won the triple jump and long jump. Littlestown remained perfect in the division at 5-0-0, while York Tech fell to 3-1-0.
WEST YORK 79, NORTHEASTERN 71: At Manchester, the Bulldogs captured five of the seven field events to grab the York-Adams Division II victory. Individually for the Bobcats, Ben Linne won the 1,600 and 3,200 runs. West York improved to 3-1-0 in the division.
DOVER 100, KEN NARD-DALE 49: At Fawn Grove, Shaheed Mitchell led the Eagles to the York-Adams Division II victory by scoring individual wins in the triple jump, 110 and 300 hurdles. Also for Dover, Brian Lehman won the discus and shot put and Danty Pagan won the 1,600 and 3,200. For the Rams, Sam Schott won the 100 and long jump.
SUSQUEHANNOCK 76, EASTERN 74: At Glen Rock, the Warriors captured the York-Adams Division II victory in the field by taking first in five of the seven events and edging out the visitors 46-17 in field points. For the Golden Knights, Jake Kessler won the 200 and high jump, while teammate Josh Lewis won the 110 and 300 hurdles. Susquehannock improved to 3-1-0 in the division, while Eastern fell to 4-1-0.
OTHER GIRLS' TRACK AND FIELD
RED LION 117, YORK HIGH 31: At Small Athletic Field, Amanda Myers captured first in the discus and javelin to help power the unbeaten Lions past the Bearcats. Red Lion won 14 of the 18 events in moving to 4-0-0 in Division I. The Lions are tied with South Western for first place.
LITTLESTOWN 86, YORK TECH 64: At Littlestown, the Thunderbolts captured first in six of the seven field events to secure the York-Adams Division III victory. Individually for the Thunderbolts, Melony Frock won the long jump and high jump, Eliza Borromeo won the pole vault and triple jump and Faith Ashford won the 100 and 200. For the Spartans, Emma Harrelson won the 1,600, 3,200 and 800, while teammate Adrianna Beattie won the 100 and 300 hurdles.
NORTHEASTERN 95, WEST YORK 55: At Manchester, the Bobcats captured first in 13 of the 18 events to capture the York-Adams Division II victory. Individually for the Bobcats, Alexis Stephens won the 100 and 200, Sarah Williamson won the 300 hurdles and long jump and Teshia Clayborne won the shot put and discus. For the Bulldogs, Bethany Weaver won the 3,200 and 1,600. Northeastern improved to 3-1-0 in the division.
KENNARD-DALE 73, DOVER 72: At Fawn Grove, the Rams captured first in seven of the 11 track events to squeeze out the York-Adams Division II victory. Individually for the Rams, Kayla White won the 1,600 and 3,200. For the Eagles, Meghan Lokhaiser won the triple jump and long jump, while Shea Beierschmitt won the 200 and 400.
SUSQUEHANNOCK 104, EASTERN 46: At Glen Rock, the Warriors captured first in six of the seven field events to secure the York-Adams Division II victory. Individually for the Warriors, Rachel Banchiere won the 1,600 and 3,200, Melissa Shallcross won the javelin and discus, Alesha Herman won the 100 and 200 and Brianna Anderson won the shot put and high jump. Susquehannock improved to 4-0-0 in the division. Eastern fell to 3-2-0 in the division.
-- Reach Dick VanOlinda at dvanolinda@yorkdis patch.com.