Wednesday, January 24, 2018
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Ephrata Girls Clinch Crown

With the sun to her back, a weary Chelsea Brubaker pulled herself along the stretch of the purple track at Ephrata, buffeted by shouts of encouragement from the infield and the threats of heavy footsteps from the rest of the runners in the 400-meter dash gathering behind her.

“I was just focusing on the end line,” said Brubaker, an Ephrata senior. “I saw the other girl’s shadow behind me and told myself, ‘No, you can’t stop.’”

Brubaker held off the shadow — belonging to Elizabethtown’s Rachel Wood — to win the one-lap race at 1:03.0. The win pulled the host Mountaineers toward a 105-44 dual-meet victory and the light of a Lancaster- Lebanon League Section Two title. The Ephrata boys also picked up a senior day win, defeating Elizabethtown, 96-54.

“We had a lot of girls pitch in at a lot of different events,” Ephrata coach John Keller said, “and that’s how we made it happen.”

The contributors to the win that clinched the Mountaineers’ fifth section title in six years included Jennie Young, a winner in the 100-meter dash (12.3 seconds) and 200-meter dash (26.3), distance runners Mary Campbell and Nadine Eichenlaub, who won the 1,600-meter run (5:26.2) and 3,200-meter run (11:55.6), respectively, and Kyra Horst, who won the 100-meter high hurdles (16.0).

“At the beginning of the season,” said Horst, who also ran in the winning 4x100-meter relay (51.3), “I was like, ‘I want us to be section champs. That would be such an accomplishment for our senior year.’”

Kandice Liebl opened the field events for the Mountaineers (7-0) with a personal-record throw of 118 feet, 11 inches to win the javelin.

“I kind of knew it was going to be a good one,” said Liebl, a sophomore, “because I was launched all the way back, and I just let it go.”

Jenna Raezer complemented Liebl’s win, finishing second with a mark of 103-10 that set a personal record on her first throw and set up an afternoon that included wins in the shot put (329) and discus (102-2).

“I was like, ‘You know what? It’s a good day,’ ” she said. ‘“I’m feeling it.’ ”

Raezer, whose mother was a thrower, joined the Mountaineers after playing softball last spring. Her friends convinced her to take up track and field.

“People just think it’s such an individual sport,” she said, “but it’s a huge team effort because we all score points, and it ends up being this awesome result with all of us winning.”

Ephrata’s field wins also included Faith Hersheberger in the long jump (16-3) and Morgan Zimmerman in the high jump (4-8).

With the sun to her back, leaking through the clouds, Elizabethtown’s Ryleigh Edmonds punctuated the afternoon with a win for the Bears (5-2) in the pole vault. Down to her final attempt, the senior cleared 10-6 to edge Ephrata’s Sarah Megivern (10-0), another Ephrata track and field convert from gymnastics, and the Bears’ Audrey Schlosser (10-0).

“I was really nervous,” Edmonds said, “especially because people were watching. I just told myself, ‘Well, this is your last chance. You better do it.’ ”