THURSDAY'S TRACK ROUNDUP: Something special may be brewing for Red Lion boys' track team

ROB ROSE
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Red Lion senior Randy Fizer, right, sprints for a victory in the 100-meter dash on Thursday. Red Lion freshman LaDainian Strausbaugh, left, finished second in the event.

For a few guys who lack much overall varsity experience on the track, four Red Lion athletes are off to a strong start to the 2021 season.

Seniors Randy Fizer and AJ Virata, junior Jeff Nyamekye and freshman LaDainian Strausbaugh continued their early-season dominance in the 400 relay on Thursday against Northeastern, following up on a pair of big-time performances.

Virata is the lone member of the relay who returns to the Red Lion varsity track roster this season, but despite their lack of time together, the Lions have been able to win consistently and impressively. In their first meet of the season, the quartet set the school record (42.74 seconds) in the event. They backed that up with a win in :43.43 at the Bruce Dallas Invitational at Cumberland Valley on Saturday.

Thursday, Red Lion beat its time from the previous event with a 43.1-second time, leading their team to an 83-63 win over the Bobcats in the boys’ team event.

“Having a guy like AJ Virata to show us the ways of track is super helpful,” Fizer said. “As soon as we got the relay team together, that was our first goal to get that (school) record. Getting it at our first meet was motivating, but we know we can make something out of this in states, so we’re just looking to compete every time we’re on the track.”

Virata says the crew needs to clean up their handoffs and they will be able to cut down their already impressive time. To go with their success together, Fizer and Virata also claimed individual wins during the dual meet.

Red Lion junior Jeff Nyamekye, center, starts to run as teammate AJ Virata prepares a handoff during the 4x100 relay. Red Lion won the event with a time of 43.1 seconds.

Fizer sprinted to a first-place finish in the 100-meter dash with a 10.8-second time, with Strausbaugh right behind him. Later, Fizer won the 200-meter dash with a 22.89-second mark, with his football teammate and fellow wide receiver Nyamekye just behind him.

Meanwhile, Virata earned a pair of victories with his vertical abilities. The senior basketball standout won the long jump and high jump.

Northeastern senior Kaden Hamilton came in second behind Virata, but claimed the triple jump, with Nyamekye finishing second to him.

With the four Red Lion teammates battling together and against each other on the track for victories so often, Fizer said they’re being instructed to relax a little at practice because of their intensity.

“Coach tells us to calm down a little bit because the four of us are always competing,” Fizer said. “Every day is like a track meet. We’re always trying to win and compete, so it’s really helpful because we’re pushing each other to be the best we can be.”

Northeastern senior Margaret Carroll runs during the 1600-meter run on Thursday. The Villanova University commit won the event with a time of 5:29:9.

Girls' meet: On the girls’ side, Red Lion claimed a convincing 105-43 victory. Northeastern senior Margaret Carroll, a Villanova University commit, claimed one of the Bobcats’ wins on the track. Carroll posted a 5:29:9 time to win the 1,600-meter run.

Red Lion senior Camree Paterson had a big day, winning the 100-meter dash with a 12.8-second time. She was also part of the 400 relay that won with a 50.7-second time.

Despite a strong start to the season in just their second dual meet, Virata hesitated to guarantee postseason success for the Lion boys, but he said the goals are to make districts and states in individual and relay events. Led by athletes with success in other sports, Red Lion is eager to see what it can achieve this year.

“It’s pretty exciting, I’m not gonna lie,” Virata said. “All of us are pretty excited about the future and how the season is going to end up, so we’re just going to try and take it one meet at a time.”

OTHER BOYS' TRACK AND FIELD

Hanover 72, York Tech 72 (Hanover won by tiebreaker): At Spry, the Nighthawks won the York-Adams Division III meet by tiebreaker, with the visitors taking first in 10 events, compared to the Spartans' eight first-place finishes. Individually for the Nighthawks, Zyaire Myers captured first in the high jump and long jump, while Matthew Nawn won the 1,600 and 3,200 runs.

Gettysburg 74, Dover 72: At Dover, Hunter Williams and Noah Sanders led Warriors to the York-Adams Division II victory by each taking first in three individual events. Williams captured first in the shot put, discus and javelin, while Sanders won the 100, 200 and 400 dashes. For the Eagles, Tyler Rackley won the 3,200 and 800 runs.

Central York 80, Dallastown 62: At Central York, the Panthers captured first in two of the three relays to secure the York-Adams Division I victory. Individually for the Wildcats, Kristian Phennicie won the 100 and 200. 

OTHER GIRLS' TRACK AND FIELD

York Tech 64, Hanover 63: At Spry, Aleya Miller led the Spartans individually by taking first in the 3,200 and 1,600 runs. For the Hawkettes, Jaycie Miller won the 400 and 200 dashes, while Reagan Wildasin won the shot put and discus.

Gettysburg 90, Dover 59: At Dover, the Warriors were led individually by Alivia Colgan winning the 300 hurdles and 200 dash, while Samantha Shaffer won the discus and javelin. 

Central York 90, Dallastown 60: At Central York, Kaitlyn Thorne led the Panthers to the York-Adams Division I victory by taking first in the triple jump, pole vault and long jump. 

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.