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LebCo Female Athletes of the Week: Kendall Cooper & Kaddel Howard (Week Ending May 26, 2024)

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Kendall Cooper

Hershey, Morales, Cooper, Caporaletti celebrate their silver medal performance

At the PIAA State Track & Field Championships, Annville-Cleona had an excellent showing as a team, led by the silver medal won by their 4x100m. The relay team, which consisted of Kendall Cooper, Miracle Hershey, Sophia Caporaletti, and Jada Morales, ran 49.06 in the finals. Cooper, who was the District 3 Champion in the 100m, also placed 11th in the 100m (12.45) and 18th in the 200m (26.31). The junior ended the State meet by reuniting with her relay teammates to pick up a 6th place medal in the 4x400m. This effort by Cooper did not go unnoticed, as the voters showed their support for her (and her relay teammates) by selecting her as a LebCo Female Athlete of the Week.

After dealing with back issues early on in the season, Cooper got healthy and turned up the heat by the time championship season arrived. While she has always been among the best sprinters in the area, this year saw her push it to a whole new level. At the LebCo Championship Meet, she won three golds in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m. What was not known at the time was that her performance would only serve as a preview for what was to come as she won four District medals, including three golds, followed by the two medals at States.

Cooper’s track career trajectory began with a solid foundation during her freshman year when she burst onto the scene. During the 2022 season, she was named Most Outstanding Female Athlete at the LebCo Championship Meet before finishing 4th in the District in both the 100m and 200m.

When asked how the early success affected her, Cooper said, “I put a lot of pressure on myself when I run, which began making my track experience less enjoyable.”

She then talked about how this season was different, giving much of the credit to Coach Reagan Hess who joined the Annville coaching staff this season. Hess, who won six District titles while competing for the Dutchmen, helped Cooper to “get out of my head and remember why I enjoy track so much. I learned that I perform better when I am relaxed so I started having fun again instead of putting so much pressure on myself.”

Cooper went on to point out how joking around with her relay teammates also helped her to escape the pressure. She elaborated by saying, “The four of us became very close this season which definitely helped our performance on the track. We spent a lot of time together at practices so became comfortable with each other.”

Cooper continued, “We pushed each other to improve and shared the excitement each time we broke the school records. We get along well and always have a good time together, which makes it easy for us to run together as a team.”
The hard work, along with the camaraderie between Cooper, Hershey, Caporaletti, and Morales, resulted in the two medals being won at States. It was an exciting run during which they broke the school’s 4x100m and 4x400m records almost weekly. In the prelim round at States, they set a new mark in the 4x100m by running a 49.02. The record for the 4x400m was lowered to 4:04.60 when they won Districts.

Cooper spoke of her teammates by saying, “I love them all and could not be happier with the results of the relay team this year!”

In 2025, they should all have another year to run it back, as none of them were seniors this season. In terms of expectations for next year, Cooper was asked how she would follow up on the success of this season. She said, “It would be great to experience accomplishments similar to this year’s and hopefully rank higher in the States. Our relay is also aiming for a specific time in both relays and to continue to improve in order to accomplish some of our team goals.”

With the team as the focus, Cooper also said that she is “planning to do additional training in the offseason so we can hopefully continue to improve & build upon our successes.”

Head Coach Caitlin Heller highlighted Cooper’s work ethic and attititude that has made her a champion, saying, “Kendall is the true definition of a Champion- hard working, dedicated, kind, intelligent. We are so lucky to get to coach her as she makes our job so fulfilling! All her accomplishments this season are a direct result of all the little things she does every single day to be the best version of herself that she can be.”

While she is only going into her senior year, Cooper has her sights set on competing at the collegiate level. As far as a major goes, she plans to study occupational therapy.

If all goes according to plan next season, Cooper will not only be listening to her favorite pre-race song, “December 1963”, before the race but will be celebrating a State Championship by belting out the lyrics “Oh, What a Night!” with Hershey, Caporaletti, and Morales by her side. We just hope there’s video of it when it happens.

Photo provided by Annville-Cleona Track & Field


Kaddel Howard

Howard poses with her State gold

What can be said? Kaddel Howard is really, really fast. The Cedar Crest phenom captured her second straight PIAA State Championship in the 400m by running an incredible 53.25 to blow past a field of talented athletes. Prior to her gold medal-winning race, Howard also joined Eliana Schneider, Audrey Fugate, and Lizzie Lowe on the 4x800m that took 10th place in the State with a time of 9:25.12. It was this championship-level effort by Howard that landed her on the top of many ballots when the voters were asked to select the LebCo Female Athlete of the Week.

Coach Rob Bare said of Howard’s performance at States, “Kaddel was ready to defend her 400M State Championship this past weekend at States. She warmed up, competed, & cooled down like a champion. The goal was to split 25.2 at the first 200M, and that’s exactly what she did. She came oh so close to breaking the 400M state record. I’m proud of her efforts this season!”

Though Howard is shy and avoids attention in her daily life, she draws a lot of it every time she steps on the track. She is now undefeated in the 400m in State Championship races, going a perfect 4/4 if you consider her two Indoor State titles.

She also holds the fastest 400m, along with 200m time, in the history of the Lancaster Lebanon League. This season, she won both races at the League meet while also setting new meet records of 24.27 and 53.64. The time in the 400m smashed the previous meet record by 2.6 seconds.

With two years left in her high school career, do not be surprised to hear more about Howard winning more championships and setting new records. One of her main goals will be to take down the existing 400m State Record, which currently stands at 52.82.

The unfortunate part in all of this is that we will need to wait a whole year to see how much further she can push the envelope. However, the good news is that she will likely compete in some elite meets this summer. Stay tuned!

For more, check out our Athlete of the Week piece we did about Kaddel after she won Indoor States.

CCHS Today interviewed Kaddel Howard in early May – Check it out

Photo provided by Cedar Crest Track & Field


LebCo Male Athletes of the Week: Aidan & Tyler Mahaffey

For a full list of the week’s nominees, check out: Athlete of the Week Voting:  May 20 – May 26





Previous Winners

Katelyn Brenner (Weeks of March 11th, 18th)

Abby Hassler (Week of March 25th)

Danika Setlock (Week of March 25th)

Abby Palkovic (Week of April 1st)

Addison Hollenbach (Week of April 8th)

Zariyah Whigham (Week of April 15th)

Abby Berarducci (Week of April 22nd)

Gabby Smith (Week of April 22nd)

Alivia Kline (Week of April 29th)

Chloe Shirk (Week of May 5th)

Meda Pulaski (Week of May 12th)

Sofie Price (Week of May 19th)




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