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Local athletes set records, pile up gold at York-Adams track championships

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

EMIGSVILLE — Not even two fewer days of preparation could take away from some breathtaking performances from the best track and field stars in the York-Adams League.

The South Western boys and Dallastown girls captured team titles at the event, with multiple individual athletes putting on a show and breaking league records.

The Y-A meet typically is held on the Friday before the District 3 meet, but issues with availability of the official timers moved the event to the midweek. Central York High School was also serving as host in a one-off due to construction at Dallastown High School's track and football stadium.

While the Dallastown boys and girls both went undefeated in York-Adams Division I dual meets, only the Wildcats girls were able to add a team title. Dallastown posted 102.5 points, narrowly defeating Spring Grove (87) and finishing well clear of York Suburban (52), Susquehannock (51), South Western (50) and Dover (48).

Spring Grove freshman Ella Bahn won all four events she entered (100 and 300 hurdles, 800m and high jump).

South Western's boys put a dominant 111.5 points on the board Wednesday. Dallastown finished second with 83 points. West York took third place (63) thanks in large part to sprinter Nico Wright-Phillips, who captured the 100 and 200 meters and contributed to the Bulldogs' exciting 4x100 relay victory. Central York (56.5) and Susquehannock (45) rounded out the boys' top five.

South Western's Bernard Bell at the 2023 YAIAA Track and Field Championship in Springettsbury on Wednesday. May 10, 2023.


The stage was set for South Western senior Bernard Bell to have a big meet Wednesday, as well. Seeded first in all three of his events, Bell began with a blistering showing in the 110-meter hurdles.

Bell won the event with a time of 14.29 seconds, nearly 0.5 seconds ahead of runner-up Perry Addey (West York), to claim the first of his gold medals.

“I wasn’t really nervous,” Bell said. “I usually don’t have a great start, which is pretty much the weakest part of my race, but I felt like I got off to a really good start.”

Bell led pretty much wire-to-wire as he showcased his athleticism and speed while shaving .01 off his seed time.

Despite knowing he was taking on a stacked field of able competitors, Bell refused to allow his surroundings to affect his focus.

“I just kind of focus on myself,” Bell said. “I kind of zone it all out.”

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Bell completed his gold trifecta later by capturing the long jump (22-1.75) as well as helping the Mustangs claim the 4x400 relay (3:22.85), nearly 10 seconds ahead of runner-up Dallastown.

South Western also captured the 4x800 relay as part of its first-place performance. Other Mustang winners included Austin Martin in the high jump (6-3) and Jackson Hersh in the javelin (185-7).


No one in the York-Adams League has been able to get close to the heights Bermudian Springs sophomore Lilyana Carlson has reached this season.

Bermudian Springs' Lilyana Carlson at the 2023 YAIAA Track and Field Championship in Springettsbury on Wednesday. May 10, 2023.

Carlson’s personal best of 12 feet, 3 inches on the pole vault was nearly 2 feet higher than second-seeded Taelyn Thomas of West York. The pecking order remained that way, as Carlson broke the York-Adams meet record with a clear of 12 feet, 1 inch to claim the gold.

The feat couldn’t be derailed even with a brisk schedule of events Wednesday. Carlson was pulled away from the pole vault to compete in the 4x100 relay before heading back to complete her attempts in the field.

Carlson said she "kind of" had time to catch her breath. “There was a little bit of time between events,” she said.

After it was announced that Carlson broke the meet record, she decided to push the height up to 12 feet, 7 inches in an attempt to break a different record.

“Some record was like 12-7,” Carlson said. “So we're debating whether I would go for a PR at 12-4 or if I just go for 12-7.”

Bermudian Springs' Lilyana Carlson at the 2023 YAIAA Track and Field Championship in Springettsbury on Wednesday. May 10, 2023.

After a few minutes of time to rest before resuming her attempt, Carlson came up just shy.

“I knew that if I had a good jump with my first attempt I could have had it,” Carlson said. “By the time for my third attempt, I think I was just too tired.”

Carlson, last year's District 3 Class 2A champ and third-place finisher at the PIAA meet, Carlson will have plenty of chances over the next few weeks to hit her mark.

In addition to her pole vault gold, Carlson placed sixth in the 100-meter hurdles.


One of the most anticipated moments of the day surrounded Susquehannock senior Ryleigh Marks. The Warriors standout entered the day as the top seed in both the girls' 100-meter hurdles and the long jump, while also part of the school’s 4x100 meter relay team.

Marks, who became the first female to score points on the football team this season as a kicker, showcased her pedigree as she broke the league meet mark in the hurdles with a time of 14.38 seconds during the preliminary heat.

Unfortunately for Marks, the senior clipped one of the last hurdles in the final, which cost her a gold medal. That instead went to Spring Grove’s Bahn, whose time of 14.52 seconds was 0.11 seconds ahead of Marks, who took second.

Susquehannock's Ryleigh Marks competing in the Ray Geesey Invitational at York College in York on Friday, Apr. 28, 2023.

“The hurdles is probably my top event,” Marks said. “I’m bummed a little because I ran such a good preliminary time and I couldn’t pull through in the finals.”

Marks did manage to take home a gold medal in the long jump with a final mark of 17 feet, 9.75 inches. She also earned a silver in the relay, as the Warriors finished just behind York High (49.89 to 49.93) despite besting their seed time by over 0.4 seconds.

“It’s an experience,” Marks said of the relay. “I like to chase, so I don’t mind being behind because it pushes me a little harder.”


Bahn has been a shining star for the Rockets all season, but the freshman's four event victories were still a surprise. She came back to beat Marks in the 100 hurdles and won the 300 hurdles with league-record time of 43.85 seconds (the previous mark was 44.39, set in 2016). Her first win of the day came in the high jump, with her mark of 5 feet, 5 inches just one inch clear of Northeastern's Nylah Davis. And shortly after her second hurdles win, she ran the 800 meters in 2:17.31 to beat Dallastown's Natalie Good by two seconds.

Spring Grove’s banner day also included another dominating performance from junior standout Laila Campbell, the two-time defending district and state champion in the 100m and 200m. Campbell helped the Rockets earn a 1-2 finish in the 100, with her time of 12.19 seconds edging out teammate Aryssa Wilson (12.94). Campbell and Wilson went 1-3 in the 200 meters, with Campbell's time of 24.42 seconds well clear of Dallastown’s Natalie Cottrell (26.13) and Wilson (26.38).

Central York's  Juelz Goff, on left, against Dallastown's Kenneth Johnson, on right, at the 2023 YAIAA Track and Field Championship in Springettsbury on Wednesday. May 10, 2023.

The Rocket contingent was still bested by Dallastown's depth. The Wildcat girls took home three event victories — Kailey Granger in the 1,600 (5:03.82), Ke'Ahjah Lawrence in the shot put (35-5) and the 4x800 relay team (9:53.94) — in addition to five second-place finishes.

Wright-Phillips beat out a bunched-up field to win both the 100 and 200. He finished fourth and third in those respective prelims before blowing past the field in the finals. His 10.86-second 100 knocked off Red Lion's LaDainian Strausbaugh (11.00), Dallastown's Kenny Johnson (11.07), York High's Jayronn Hunt (11.09) and Central York's Juelz Goff (11.12). Wright-Phillips finished the 200 in 21.81, beating out Johnson's 22.07 and Strausbaugh's 22.12.

Strausbaugh, who had the best prelim time in both the 100 and 200, added a gold in the 400 with a 50.39, beating South Western's Noah Bankert (51.07).

Susquehannock's Matthew O'Brien, the league and district cross country champion in the fall, won the boys' 800 (1:56.71) and 1,600 (4:16.54). The latter time broke the meet record set in 1986; Dallastown's Jakob Rager posted a 4:17.19 to also break the previous standard of 4:19.9. Another record fell in the 300 hurdles, as West York's Addey finished in 37.53 to best the mark set in 1989 (37.8).

Other boys' event winners included Kennard-Dale's Dylan Cunningham in the 3,200 (9:58.40), Dallastown's Michael Scott in the triple jump (44-5), York Tech's Colton Baldwin in the pole vault (12-9) and Matthew Arnold in the discus (173-4) and Central York's Danny Pham in the shot put (49-6.75).

The rest of the girls' event gold medalists were York Suburban's Gabby delPielago in the 400 (58.38), Eastern York's Kaydence Strange in the 3,200 (11:33.80), Central York's Maslyn Soisson in the triple jump (35-8.5), Spring Grove's Morgan Dayett in the discus (114-1), Eastern York's Kendall Felix in the javelin (122-8) and South Western in the 4x400 relay (4:09.11).