NEW OXFORD — Because of its format, a high school track-and-field meet, unless it's very close, can often lack a moment that has a "main-event" feel.
Entering Tuesday's meet, however, many thought the Dallastown-New Oxford boys’ showdown had the ingredients to buck that trend.
They were correct.
It took a school-record performance in the day’s final race, the 1,600 relay, for the Colonials to edge the Wildcats, 76-74.
The win leaves New Oxford as the only remaining unbeaten team in York-Adams Division I at 4-0-1. A win next week against winless York High would make the 2018 Colonials the first New Oxford squad to capture a D-I crown.
Dallastown fell to 3-1-0 in the division.
“There’s a number of places we could have picked up points, but there’s a number of places they could have picked up points too,” Dallastown head coach Neil Gutekunst said. “So, I think we all scored this meet right down to the wire and that’s exactly what happened. I was pleased with the effort though.”
Thrilling finish: With a packed infield fixated on every stride, the first three legs of the 1,600 relay saw the Colonials and Wildcats each with the lead at some point. New Oxford’s anchor, Noah Strausbaugh, started to open a slight lead before Dallastown’s Thomas Viens caught up to him with 200 meters left.
Strausbaugh had slight edge as the pair rounded the last turn before Viens' kick to start the final 100 meters brought the packed infield to a roar, as the two heads bobbed back and forth while trading the lead.
Just before the pair crossed the line, however, Strausbaugh’s late lean saw him edge Viens for a Colonial program-best time of 3 minutes, 31.59 seconds. That gave New Oxford the final five points to push the Colonials to victory.
“I didn’t think we were going to be nearly that close in that four-by-four. In the meet, yes; in that race, no. I knew how good their four-by-four was,” Gutekunst. “And since our kid pushed their kid to the finish, I couldn’t be happier. It was fantastic.”
The Wildcats put on a solid effort to make things interesting after trailing 64-46 with five events left.
Dallastown closes fast: Dallastown closed to within 71-65 with two races to go after a one-two finish by Brian Thomas and Israel McLean in the 200. An unexpected sweep of the 3,200 set up the final showdown after Dallastown was vaulted into a 74-71 lead.
The Colonials built their early advantage on the strength of their jumping performances. Abdul Janneh won both the long and triple jumps, while teammate Deriq Brown won the high jump. The Colonials also grabbed the second spot in the triple and high jumps, and pulled off the one-two finish in the javelin for a 36-27 edge in the field.
Thomas also won the 100 and Viens took the 400 for Dallastown. The finish in the 400 served as a preview of the theatrics to come. Viens edged Strausbaugh to win by .02 seconds with a time of :52.6.
Wildcat girls roll: On the girls’ side, Dallastown had a strong day on the track while picking up an 90-56 victory.
The highlight on the track for the Wildcats was a school-record performance in the 200 by Riyanna Owens. Her time of :25.4 bested her own record set last season.
“Riyanna Owens ran an amazing 200. She was phenomenal,” Gutekunst said. “We had some good performances on the girls’ side that went unnoticed because of the other meet. But her 200 was just phenomenal.”
The Wildcats also swept the 100, with Lynnethia Shanks, Shelice Stewart and Leanna Miranda finishing one-two-three. They also cleaned up in the 400, with Elizabeth Miller, Rosa Ortiz and Lauryn White finishing first, second and third respectively.
Those efforts greatly helped the Wildcats overcome a 38-21 Colonial advantage in the field.
The Dallastown girls improved to 2-2 in D-I, while New Oxford fell to 1-4.
TRACK AND FIELD
Bermudian Springs 90, York Tech 60: At Spry, Kolt Byers led the Eagles to the road victory by taking first in the high jump, long jump, and triple jump.
Gettysburg 93, Northeastern 57: At Manchester, Joseph Pecaitis led the Warriors by capturing first in the pole vault and javelin. For the Bobcats, Jordan LaGana won the 100 and 200, while Taemar Willis won the 110 hurdles and high jump.
TRACK AND FIELD
Bermudian Springs 88, York Tech 61: At Spry, individually for the Eagles, Kayla Pyles won the 110 and 300 hurdles, Belzabeth Marquez won the javelin and pole vault, Maklyn Shupp won the 100 and 200, Rachel Spangler won the 400 and high jump. For the Spartans, Katie McDougall won the 1,600 and 3,200.
Gettysburg 87, Northeastern 62: At Manchester, Lexi Seig led the Warriors individually by taking first in the shot put and discus. For the Bobcats, Maddie Warrender won the 1,600 and 800.
Reach Elijah Armold at email@example.com.