WHITEHALL Palmerton's Brad Ehret and Northern Lehigh's Caleb Johnson entered Tuesday's Colonial League track and field championships tied for the top seed in the high jump.
And while both seniors were hoping to grab gold, the two had similar feelings if they didn't win.
"We're always duking it out," said Ehret, who cleared 6-4 to claim the title. "Last year he beat me at districts, so it's nice to get a victory over him. But I also like to see him win. If I can't win, I'd like it to be him."
"Brad's a phenominal jumper," said Johnson, who settled for third after failing to get over the bar at 6-2. "If not me, than definitely Brad. We have a friendly rivalry and it's awesome. We actually hang out together. I'm 2-2 against him this year so we're tied up. And we still have districts."
Ehret was one of four TIMES NEWS area golds earned during the first day of the all-league meet. The Bombers' Austin Shupp also claimed top honors in the 300 hurdles, the same event Northwestern's Alexis Gawelko claimed her first place. The Lady Tigers also won the 3200 relay.
"Throughout the season, Caleb and I really push each other," said Ehret. "I always look at the standings online to see what he's done. We stayed at 6-4 all season. I remember at Northern Lehigh's meet Dalton Johnson came all the way from school to watch us go head-to-head and he pulled out a win because I fell. I still have the scab."
There was no falling for Ehret on Tuesday.
While many of the competitors were struggling with a stiff wind, the Palmerton jumper had no problems. He cleared 6-0 on his first jump and did the same at 6-2. While the rest of the field came up empty at 6-2, Ehret went on to tie his season best of 6-4.
"I moved out my approach a little wider (two weeks ago)," said Ehret. "I was coming in at a little too sharp of an angle. We worked on my approach and good things happen when you practice."
Good things also came to the Lady Tigers' 3200 relay squad, despite half of their foursome not feeling well.
The team of Rachel Cerrone, Carly Pierce, Sabrina Mertz and Haley Yost had thoughts of setting an all-time league record. The windy conditions pretty much squashed those ambitions, but the team won going away.
"Our time was okay," said Pierce. "It was one of our better times and we're happy with it. It was important to us to try and get the record but we had the wind and a couple of girls that weren't feeling well.
"The wind was especially hard on the homestretch. That takes off probably two seconds for each runner. It's tough to run through it."
It was tough for Yost just to run.
The junior, who also took the area's only second place (in the 3200), was suffering from a respitory infection.
"A lot of Mucinex and just toughing it out, just trying to keep my breathing under control," was Yost's answer to how she got through the day's activities. "And knowing I can just fall over afterwards if I have to.
"I was hoping to go under 11:20 or 11:30 (in the 3200) and I didn't do that. But for being sick it wasn't that bad. We were happy to win (the 3200 relay) but we were a little disappointed we didn't break the meet record. (The wind) was definitely hard, especially on the second lap coming into the finish. You're already tired and then you get hit with that. That definitely decreased our times."
Gawelko didn't match her best time of the year, but she did crack the 50-second mark again in the 300, taking the gold in a time of 49.81.
The sophomore edged out Wilson's Carla Dutt by .14.
"I'm just glad I could get the points for my team, because I know we really want to win this as a team event," said Gawelko. "I didn't have the best start. I struggle with that. I always kind of shuffle on my starts but I don't know how to fix it. Maybe I need to use the blocks. I just picked it up in the last stretch."
Gawelko and Dutt actually didn't compete against each other on the track as both were in different heats.
"I could feel that people weren't close behind me in my heat," said Gawelko. "I would have rather ran against her in my heat. I wanted a PR. I didn't get it but I still won and that's good enough."
Unlike Gawelko, the Bombers' Shupp had his top competition in the same heat.
The junior used a quick start to grab an early lead and held off the rest of the field, winning in a time of 40.36.
"I came out hard and then got chopped up a little bit around one of the hurdles on the turn, but finished strong," said Shupp, who was the top seed. "I'm really happy with it. I'm happy with my time. Everything went well during the race.
"After the turn I kind of lost everyone. I didn't feel anyone after that. I definitely felt the wind at the end although it did help at the start."
Palmerton also received a third place from John Snyder in the discus.