Led by its sensational senior class, the Eastern York girl's track and field team edged Dover to win its fourth-straight York-Adams League Division II title.
The Eastern York High School girls’ track-and-field team was trying to accomplish something special when it boarded the bus for Dover on Tuesday.
Not only was a potential fourth-straight York-Adams League Division II title at stake, but the team’s senior class wanted to cement its legacy. A victory Tuesday would see them go through their entire high school careers without knowing what it’s like to lose a divisional dual meet.
So, it was only fitting that the Knights needed every ounce of energy from its standout senior leaders to earn a tight, 78-72, victory in a meet that went down to the final event. The win keeps the Golden Knights undefeated and locks up Division II with a 7-0-0 record. Previously-unbeaten Dover will have to settle for second at 5-1-0.
“It’s really cool. It obviously says that we’re very talented. Not to like pat ourselves on the back, but we have a lot of talent,” senior standout Maddie McLain said. “At the beginning of the season I was like, ‘OK, cool, if we win (all of them), then yay, four years (undefeated). But just to see how many people were here to support us, the junior high team surprised us, it just makes my heart really, really happy. It makes everything that we’ve put into it completely worth it. I think the girls really wanted this, so I’m just really happy we were able to get it.”
Final race: Trailing 73-72 before the final race began, the Eagles got off to a nice lead after the first leg of the 1,600 relay. The Knights, however, slowly whittled away at the lead during the second leg, setting up a thrilling finish.
Dover’s Ashley Goebeler took the exchange and glanced back at Eastern’s Madison Nalls before rounding the first turn with the lead. It didn’t last long, however, as Nalls kicked into another gear and caught Goebeler with about 200 meters left.
Nalls then slowly opened a lead of her own before handing off the baton to speedster Hannah Myers. With her emotions running high, Myers wasn’t about to let four years of perfection slip away on her final trip around the track in Division II dual competition.
“It was just super fun. So much energy. My adrenaline was really pumping,” Myers said. “Madison Nalls did a great job, so did the other two girls, at getting a decent lead. I wanted to run really hard, but I didn’t want to run so hard that I died out. So, I just tried to run a smart race and finish. The girls did a great job of getting a lead and something we could finish strong on.”
Maximum effort required: Golden Knights head coach Joel Jacobs informed his team well before Tuesday’s showdown that it would be the type of meet that would require maximum effort from his senior standouts. That meant participating in the maximum number of events and pushing themselves to the limit all day.
One of those senior leaders is Butler-bound distance standout McLain. Tuesday, McLain was tasked with the grueling challenge of participating in all four distance runs (3,200; 1,600, 800 and 3,200 relay).
McLain captured the 1,600 and her final D-II distance race saw her cross the finish line simultaneously with younger sister Olivia to win the 3,200 with matching times of 12:58.2.
“She scored the points we needed in all four races. A lot of kids aren’t going to be mentally tough enough to do that,” Jacobs said of Maddie McLain’s day, before lauding his other hardworking upperclassmen. “Hannah and Madison, their fourth race of the day (1,600 relay) to be able to come back and run 1-flat splits. Taylor (Currier) didn’t have a great triple jump, but she came back and jumped within an inch of her school record in the long jump and set a PR (personal record) in the pole vault. Just bringing it, on the day when you need that kind of performance, is what (the seniors) have done for four years.”
Setting tempo early: The Knight girls set the tempo early. The team of the McLain sisters, Nalls and Myers finished in 9:56.8 to win the first race of the day, the 3,200 relay.
Infield speculation had the team’s performance as on the best in program history.
In all, Maddie McLain’s distance efforts helped the Knights earn a crucial 29-3 edge in those four events. Nalls, who has also been a mainstay of the Knights' reign in D-II, won the 800 and anchored the 3,200 relay.
The Eagles nearly pulled off the upset thanks to their strength in the sprints and hurdle races.
Peyton Mulder captured the 100 and 300 hurdles, while Sienna Woodyard was victorious in the 100 and 200 dashes. Both were also members of the victorious 400 relay.
In three sprints, two hurdle races and the 400 relay, the Eagles held a 39-11 margin.
In the field, things were a bit more even, with Eastern taking a 33-30 edge. Currier won the pole vault and was second in the triple jump. Rajah Fink led the Eagles by capturing the javelin and shot put.
“With this class of four years, it’s been a coach’s dream. I’m going to enjoy this day for the rest of the year,” Jacobs said. “I have a lot of really good front runners. …My seconds and thirds are good, they definitely helped us today because every point in a meet like this matters. But in terms of this senior class, they’re the ones we can attribute a lot of this victory to.”
Eagles boys cruise: In the boys’ meet, Dover sent its Senior Day crowd home happy by cruising to a 96-44 win.
Leading the way for the Eagles was Shad Murphy, who won the shot put, discus and javelin. On the track, Dover saw Austin Lacks win the 110 and 300 hurdles, and Colin Shreve take the 1,600 and 3,200 runs.
For Eastern, Dylan Zurin won the 200 and long jump.
TRACK & FIELD
York Suburban 102, Kennard-Dale 38: At Fawn Grove, the Trojans wrapped up a perfect 7-0-0 York-Adams Division II season behind Illanzo Feliciano and Aidan Fryar, who each had two individual wins. Feliciano won the triple jump and 400, while Fryar won the shot put and javelin. For K-D, Donnell Williams won the 100 and 200 dashes.
Central York 76, Spring Grove 61: At Spring Grove, the Panthers captured two of the three relays. Individually for the Rockets, Noah Hayes won the 100, long jump and triple jump.
New Oxford 113, York High 35: At New Oxford, Khalid Dorsey led the Bearcats individually by taking first place in the 100 and 200. New Oxford won the York-Adams Division I title at 5-0-1.
TRACK & FIELD
Spring Grove 98, Central York 52: At Spring Grove, Angel Rohrbaugh led the Rockets by capturing the 100, long jump and triple jump. Teammate Sophia Kline won the high jump and 300 hurdles. For the Panthers, Bridget Palm won the 1,600 and 3,200.
Gettysburg 100, West York 50: At Gettysburg, Lexi Seig led the Warriors to the victory by taking first in the shot put and discus. For the Bulldogs, Claudia Gross won the 100 and 300 hurdles.
York Suburban 104, Kennard-Dale 32: At Fawn Grove, Kate Wand won the javelin, triple jump and high jump for Suburban. K-D was led by Jessia Ollis, who won the 100, 200 and long jump.
New Oxford 115, York High 31: At New Oxford, Carson Pennings led the Colonials by taking first in the 100 and 300 hurdles, and also capturing first in the high jump and long jump. Teammate Ella Flickinger won the 1,600 and 800.
Reach Elijah Armold at firstname.lastname@example.org.