Wednesday, January 24, 2018
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Lady Mounts win Section Title

They gathered in the shadow of the grandstands Monday afternoon, Ephrata parents and coaches, throwers, runners and jumpers, as the sun sank and Kay Liebl set the school’s pole vault record higher and higher.

As the Mountaineer junior shot over the bar at 9-feet, 5-inches, the howls rained down from the back of the bleachers and cheers swept across the adjacent hill filled with purple-clad supporters.

Liebl’s pole vaulting punctuated Ephrata’s 92-58 win over visiting Cocalico, an undefeated dual-meet season and Ephrata’s fourth straight Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Two title.

In the boys’ meet, Ephrata completed the sweep with an 89-61 win.

“You know that you’re going to get everything they have to give,” Ephrata coach John Keller said of the Mountaineer girls (7-0 Section Two, 8-0 overall), “and to see her pull that off in the pole vault; I tell you, it couldn’t happen to a better kid. She stepped up this year, big time.”

Two Liebls, two school records

At the conclusion of Kay Liebl’s pole-vaulting performance, Kelly Liebl descended from the crowd on the hill and wrapped her arms around her younger sister. The senior Liebl’s meet ended two hours earlier when she streaked down her home track in her final high school dual meet to win the 100-meter dash in 11.9 seconds, a school record, at the expense of an injured hamstring.

“At the last quarter of the race, I started to feel it in my right hamstring,” Liebl said. ‘’I still got the win and a PR for myself, which is great. It’s just a little frustrating that my body can’t seem to handle how fast I’ve been going this season.”

Before her injury, Liebl leapt 16-9 in the long jump, second only to Steph Wahl’s 17-6.25 for Cocalico (6-1, 7-1).

“They’re a very, very strong team with a lot of depth,” Cocalico coach Ron Derr said of the Mountaineers. “We came out with guns blazing and tried to do what we could, and I think we got their attention early.”

Cocalico's early advantage

Aside from Wahl’s victories in the long jump and the 100 hurdles (15.4), Cocalico saw Emily Stauffer win the shot put (45-8.5) and discus (117-5), Mackenzie Hainley take the javelin (115-6) and Jamie Zamrin outrace Ephrata’s Sydney Morgan in one of the fastest 1,600-meter runs of the season.

“She was right there, right from the 100-meter mark,” Zamrin said after passing Morgan with about 150 meters to go. “She was really pushing me, which I normally don’t sprint that early, but then I started sprinting hard.”

Zamrin won the duel between the two freshmen by less than a second, crossing at 5:13.9.

“I knew we were up against it,” Keller said. “but the girls responded.”

Ephrata's answer

The Mountaineers turned the meet around with sweeps in the 800, led by Megan Mahlandt at 2:28.0, and the 200, paced by Ariel Smith in 27.4. Smith also won the high jump at 4-8, and Erica Voigt set the winning triple jump mark of 33-0.5.

“It’s such a mental event,” Voigt said, “and I really had to put my game face on and just concentrate and know when I want to go for it.”

Up against Cocalico’s Megan Gingrich, who won the 300 hurdles race in 48.0, Voigt out-jumped her adversary by an inch with her final attempt.

“Teams come to us, and they play hard,” Voigt said. “They run hard, and they throw far, and it’s incredible, the kind of competition that we’ve been against.

“But we’ve never stepped down, and we’ve never taken it easy.”