BY JEFF FALK
LANDISVILLE – The goal is always to go as high as you can.
Higher than yesterday. But not as high as tomorrow.
Friday the 13th was a good day for Noah Gunderson.
Under changeable skies at Hempfield High School, during an abbreviated opening day at the 49th annual contesting of the Lancaster-Lebanon Track and Field Championships, Gunderson leaped 6-2 to strike gold in the high jump. The top-seed, Gunderson, a junior out of Annville-Cleona, edged McCaskey senior Jewleus Benner, to claim the title.
While it was a great day for Gunderson, it was also a very good day for Lebanon County competitors as a whole. In addition to Gunderson’s gold, the locale also copped a trio of silver medals, as well as a handful of other shiny metallic awards.
Lebanon freshman Liliana Harrison, Cedar Crest senior Emily Oriel and Annville-Cleona senior Braetan Peters all earned well-deserved runner-up honors.
This year’s Lancaster-Lebanon Track and Field Championships will resume tomorrow morning and conclude Saturday afternoon.
“I just wanted to jump the best I could,” said Gunderson. “I wanted to go as high as I could. I didn’t win the way I wanted to. But 6-2 and a gold medal, I’ll take it.
“I was really nervous all day,” added Gunderson. “I couldn’t focus. I was just ready to compete.”
In some ways, Gunderson’s performance was simply a continuation of last season’s successful sophomore postseason, when he burst on to the scholastic track and field scene. But in another way, it was the start of a new and different one.
In 2021 as a tenth-grader, Gunderson finished second at the Lancaster-Lebanon League Track and Field Championships, second at the District Three Class AA meet and copped a surprising eighth-place medal at the state championships. Two weeks ago, Gunderson had captured the high jump championship at the Lebanon County meet.
“It’s (the L-L Track and Field Championships) really important to me,” said Gunderson, who has cleared 6-5. “I’m happy to compete. To come out with a win, I’m really happy.
“My goal is to win districts and win states, and if I can’t do it this year, win it next year,” continued Gunderson. “I just want to continue to win. Just keep getting better and keep competing.”
Entering the 3200-meter competition seeded fourth, Peters battled eventual winner Miliana Breuninger most of the way, before settling for silver. Peters made up ground in the middle of the race, then gave way to Breuninger’s closing kick.
Another veteran of the postseason wars, Peters was third in the 3200-meter run at the District Three Track and Field Championships last year and fourth in the 1600-meter run.
“Coming in, I knew what the times were,” said Peters. “When the race started, I went out with the number-one girl (Breuninger). We caught each other around the halfway point and I ran with her for awhile, but she pulled away. She was a huge help, having someone to run with and push me.
“I definitely look forward to the league meet,” Peters added. “I think this was a great way to prepare for districts. Early in the season, I wanted to reach the 11:30 mark. I was able to accomplish that, and now I have (personal record of) 11:25. I just want to keep improving and see how low I can take it.”
In the girls’ pole vault, Oriel finished second to Lancaster-Lebanon League champion Katie Urbine of Solanco. Oriel, who also finished second to Urbine last season as a junior, topped 11-0, three inches below the height she cleared in winning the Lebanon County championship on April 30.
Falcon teammate Molly Heintzelman copped the bronze medal in the competition.
“I’m happy to finish second because it’s my last (league) meet,” said Oriel. “I knew Katie was going to do really, really good. I just wanted to do my best.
“I did gymnastics for 12 years,” Oriel added. “Then someone said, ‘If you do pole vault, you’ll be really good at it.’ I tried it and I liked it, so I just kept doing it.”
Harrison was seeded third in the discus and popped a 113-11 to garner the silver medal. Warwick junior Ella Lucas took home top honors in the event with a 129-1.
Elco senior Cole Thomas earned a bronze medal in the javelin, with a throw of 158-4. Lebanon’s Caleb Hershey ran fourth in the 3200-meters, in a new school record time of 9:33.51.
Lebanon County went four, five and six in the girls’ triple jump, with Elco freshman Mckenna Haas, Heintzelman and Cedar Crest junior Alyssa Vandett.
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Lancaster-Lebanon League Track and Field Championships
Past Team Champions
Year Girls Boys
2021 McCaskey McCaskey
2020 COVID – No Meet COVID – No Meet
2019 Warwick Warwick
2018 Warwick Manheim Township
2017 Warwick Penn Manor
2016 Manheim Township McCaskey
2015 Hempfield McCaskey
2014 Hempfield Cedar Crest
2013 Ephrata Hempfield
2012 Hempfield Conestoga Valley
2011 Elizabethtown Hempfield
2010 Hempfield Hempfield
2009 Hempfield Hempfield
2008 Garden Spot Hempfield
2007 Hempfield McCaskey
2006 Hempfield McCaskey
2005 Garden Spot/Hempfield Conestoga Valley
2004 Hempfield Cedar Crest
2003 Hempfield Cedar Crest
2002 Hempfield Hempfield
2001 Hempfield McCaskey
2000 Hempfield Cocalico
1999 Warwick Cocalico
1998 McCaskey Cedar Crest
1997 Manheim Township McCaskey
1996 Solanco McCaskey
1995 Solanco Garden Spot
1994 Solanco Garden Spot
1993 Hempfield McCaskey
1992 McCaskey McCaskey
1991 Solanco McCaskey
1990 Hempfield McCaskey
1989 McCaskey McCaskey
1988 Solanco McCaskey
1987 Solanco McCaskey
1986 Hempfield Hempfield
1985 Hempfield McCaskey
1984 Annville-Cleona McCaskey
1983 Lampeter Strasburg McCaskey
1982 Penn Manor McCaskey
1981 McCaskey McCaskey
1980 McCaskey McCaskey
1979 Hempfield Solanco
1978 Hempfield McCaskey
1977 Penn Manor McCaskey
1976 Hempfield McCaksey
1975 Hempfield Solanco
1974 No Team Title McCaskey
1973 No Team Title McCaskey
Total Team Titles:
Hempfield 21 McCaskey 26
Solanco 6 Hempfield 7
McCaskey 6 Cedar Crest 4
Warwick 4 Cocalico 2
Garden Spot 2 C.V. 2
Man. Township 2 Garden Spot 2
Penn Manor 2 Solanco 2
Lancaster-Lebanon League Track and Field Championships
Individual Meet Records
|100 M Dash||Girl||Brooke Gillford||MT||11.8||1997|
|200 M Dash||Girl||Leah Graybill||WAR||24.6||2019|
|400 M Dash||Girl||Leah Graybill||WAR||56.15||2019|
|800 M Run||Girl||Meredith Newman||MT||02:14.0||2014|
|1600 M Run||Girl||Katie Locker||Etown||04:59.6||2019|
|3200 M Run||Girl||Kate Dickow||WAR||10:37.9||2019|
|100M HH||Girl||Jane Livingston||CV||13.6||2019|
|110 M HH||Boy||Chance Post||CV||14.02||2014|
|300 M IH||Girl||Mary Witmer||Ephrata||42.3||2013|
|4 x100 Relay||Girl||Leah Graybill, Emily Williamson, Meghan Quinn, Lily Palacio-Lewis||WAR||47.34||2019|
|Boy||Kelvin Reyes, Tobias Robinson, Michael Fox, Peter Habegger||CC||42.2||2004|
|4 x 400 Relay||Girl||Lily Palacio-Lewis, Emily Williamson, Meghan Quinn, Cassidy Kline||WAR||03:57.1||2018|
|Boy||Jamel Henry, Dejon Manning, Anthony Deleon, Leonel DelRosario||JPM||03:21.2||2018|
|4 x 800 Relay||Girl||Kaitlyn Oliver, Kristine Gutshall, Alli Mannion, Alyssa Grube||WAR||9:29.09||2009|
|Boy||Shafer, Wagner, Webb, Thiry||COC||07:50.6||2000|
|Shot Put||Girl||Emily Stauffer||COC||48’3 1/2″||2016|
|Boy||Kyle Felpel||Coc||60′ 1 1/2″||2012|
|Discus||Girl||Eliese Mitchell||GS||159′ 10″||1999|
|Boy||Kyle Long||Hemp.||193′ 9″||2012|
|Javelin||Girl||Marilyn Senz||GS||146′ 1″||1980|
|Boy||Troy Burkholder||COC||220′ 11″||1995|
|Boy||Thomas Jordan (IAAF)||CC||213 ‘6″||2003|
|Long Jump||Girl||Leslie Hummer||AC||18′ 10″||1987|
|Boy||Ezra Mellinger||LS||23′ 11″||2019|
|Triple Jump||Girl||Stephanie Laudien||Hemp||38’7″||2014|
|Boy||Kyle Murr||PM||47′ 10 1/4″||2021|
|High Jump||Girl||Angie Messner||GS||5′ 10″||2009|
|Boy||Dana Hollinger||CC||7′ 0″||1981|
|Pole Vault||Girl||Mackenzie Horn||MT||13’0″||2018|