WRIGHTSVILLE — In 22 seasons as head coach of the Eastern York girls' track and field team, Joel Jacobs has worked with quite a few talented young athletes.
This year's group of varsity newcomers, though, may be the best yet.
"The talent with this young group is incredible," Jacobs said after Eastern defeated York Suburban, 91-59, in a match-up of unbeaten York-Adams Division II teams. The Golden Knights also won the boys' meet, 79-71.
"This is probably the best team we've ever had. We had a group in 2000 that was pretty good, but to be this good, this young, probably not."
The Golden Knights' freshmen phenoms delivered another set of winning performances on Wednesday.
Maddie McLain captured the 1,600 and 3,200 runs, Hannah Myers won the 200 and 400 dashes and Maddie Nalls recorded the best time in the 800.
"Also, we have a really good freshman thrower (Maura DeRemer), who probably scored in all of her throws today," Jacobs said. "We have a lot of young kids, but we also have some key seniors who have decided they want to pull this group together."
Eastern almost determined the outcome of the meet in the track events by compiling 67 points (76 are needed to guarantee a victory).
"I told the girls in the meeting last night that's what we needed to do (dominate on the track)," Jacobs said. "I knew in the field events they had us in some of those events."
On the track, McLain dueled with Suburban standout Olivia Gettle for the four laps of the 1,600 before winning by two seconds.
"I look to her (Gettle) for competition, I knew it was going to be tough," McLain said. "I love competition because it makes you run faster. I didn't run faster today, but I ran OK, and I was happy with it."
The runners were forced to battle both cold and wind.
"I was trying to get warm," McLain said. "The wind held me back, and my legs really hurt."
McLain was happy that she was able to help her team win the Senior Night match-up with the Trojans, who have won four of the past five Division II titles. Eastern's victory was its first over Suburban since 2009.
"The seniors said we wanted this for four years, we know we can do it," McLain said. "We all cheer for each other."
McLain draws inspiration when she's running from her aunt, Donna McLain, a multi-state champion in track and state champion in cross country during her career at Eastern.
"She came here tonight," Maddie McLain said. "I thought I have to run my best. She set really good goals, and I really appreciate it because if she didn't, I wouldn't be where I am today."
Eastern improved its record to 6-0-0. The Golden Knights can clinch the title outright next Tuesday with a victory at Gettysburg. The Warriors, who will enter with a 5-0-1 record, are also in the hunt for the division crown.
Jordan Shoff placed first in two events (discus and javelin) for Suburban's girls in Tuesday's meet.
In the boys' meet, Eastern won 10 of 18 events, including two of three relays.
The Golden Knights' Nathan Lopez took firsts in the 400 dash and triple jump.
Philip Marshall had an outstanding day for Suburban, winning four events (100 dash, 200 dash, high jump and long jump). The Trojans' Brady Wilt completed a distance double by capturing the 1,600 and 3,200 runs.
— Reach Dick VanO'Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org.