Whitehall-Coplay Press

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Track team sweeps Freedom

Thursday, April 11, 2013 by STEVE ANDRES Special to the Press in Sports

The Zephyr track team burst out of the gates in their first dual meet, leaving Freedom High School in their wake.

Both the boys and girls won, with the boys earning a 113-38.5 victory, while the girls handed the Patriots a 107-43 loss.

Sebesta said he was a bit surprised at the margin of victory, believing that Freedom would present a bigger challenge, but they were able to sweep many of the events en route to both wins.

"I think things kind of fell our way," said Sebesta. "We had a lot of good things happen. The kids really ran and jumped well."

However, the meet got off to a shaky start, said Sebesta, who watched hurdler Emily Graveno fall at the last hurdle. She was winning the race, and Sebesta felt that was a portent of things to come.

"I was thinking uh-oh, is that what kind of day it's going to be," said Sebesta.

Sebesta said his senior hurdler looked good, and felt bad for her, especially since it was her birthday. Fortunately, Graveno recovered and the team went on to win a number of the remaining events.

The girls swept the sprints, with Decontee Krayee hitting the tape first in the 100 at 12.5. That was followed by Arianie Pizarro (12.6) and Cassie Schmidt (12.9).

The boys also swept the sprints, winning the 100 on the legs of James Wah who crossed in 11.2. Right on his heels were John Johnson (11.4) and Nick Shafnisky (11.4).

Dominating the running events the way they did against the Patriots also came as a surprise.

"I didn't really expect that at all," said Sebesta.

Sebesta said he was also pleased the way Emily Brand held her own in the 1,600, since Freedom has a talented crop of distance runners from a strong cross country contingent.

"She really hung in there and raced well," said Sebesta.

They also received a solid performance from Heather Bush in the 3,200 (14:11.0).

Another runner who made some waves was Kurt Koehler who won the 400, posting a 53.7 mark. Sebesta said that Koehler may have even been surprised by his performance, shaving some time off the race so early in the season.

"It was good to see him have some success," said Sebesta.

Also having success were distance runner Gabe Lamm and middle distance racer Michael Leonhardt. Lamm was tops in both the 1,600 and 3,200, while Leonhardt won the 800 in 2:07.0.

These two, along with Brian Plucinsky, Justin Sommer and Calvin Schneck form a strong core in those events.

The Zephs also fared well in the throws, sweeping a number of events. They took the top two spots in shot, as Mikaela Fedor won the event with a 31-00 toss, while Nicole Umbenhauer was second (28-06).

The discus featured a sweep with Shay Gimbel earning the top spot with a 93-02 throw, while Umbenhauer was second (92-03), and Fedor was third (91-03).

They also performed well in the javelin as Umbenhauer led the way with a 90-03 mark, and Taylor Hamscher followed with a 62-01.

Sebesta said the throwing events would be a place of strength for the team this season and the girls demonstrated that against Freedom.

The boys had similar success as Jake Wygant was tops in the shot with a 43-05.50 mark, while Stephen Buss led the way in the discus with a 118-11 mark. Finally, Nick Nejad was at the top of the heap in the javelin, finishing with a 150-09 toss.

Kyleem Harrison was strong in the jumps, finishing first for Whitehall in both the long and triple jumps, while Angela Stella and LeAnna Cruz earned top points in the 800 and 400 meter races, respectively.

Sebesta said that they had a superb meet and will look to build on those wins. He knows the schedule will get increasingly tougher, but it was good to start the season on a positive note.