Bears' Harris, Indians' Keer star
EAST STROUDSBURG - The Mountain Valley Conference held its annual track meet Wednesday afternoon at East Stroudsburg South's sports complex.
While neither of Lehighton nor Pleasant Valley's teams walked away with a team championship, there were still a few local athletes that came home with some hardware.
The biggest winner of the day was the Lady Bears' Kelecia Harris. The junior medaled in all four of the events that she competed in, including a gold medal in her last event of the day - the triple jump.
Harris won the triple jump with a jump of 35 feet, nine inches. Ironically, this was the first season that she had ever tried the event, let alone participated in the sport of track and field. So far so good.
"It's a little surprising because I didn't think I would be any good at the triple jump," said Harris. "It looks a lot harder than the long jump, although I found out that the long jump is actually harder. I really like the triple jump and I am glad that I was able to come in first."
Along with her first place finish in the triple jump, Harris took home silver medals in the long jump (16-4) and the 100-meter dash (12.56). She also won bronze in the 200-meter dash (26.74). Not bad for her first ever appearance in the MVC championships.
"It feels really good, especially with this being my first time doing track," added Harris. "I didn't think I would be this good, but everything turned out pretty good today."
Another local female athlete, Lehighton's Sarah Keer, managed to win two gold medals. Keer defended her title in the javelin and improved on her second-place finish in the shot put from a year ago. She recorded winning throws of 123 feet, eight inches and 35 feet, four-and-one-quarter inches respectively in the two events.
"I thought I threw pretty well," said the sophomore. "This (shot put) pit is kind of slanted down hill again, so that helped out. Then I felt a little rushed at the beginning of the javelin because we had the 4x1 relay coming up. Once I got back from the 4x1 it was all good. That is when I threw my 123."
A Pleasant Valley freshman also made a splash in her first-ever MVC championship. The Bears' Abby Kaspszyk took home silvers in both the 1600 and 3200-meter endurance races with times of 5:45.06 and 12:38.47 respectively. She started out quick and was in front of Pocono Mountain East's Abby Ross in both events, but eventually fell behind Ross toward the end.
"I was happy with my performances because I am a freshman," said Kaspszyk. "It was nice to be able to come out and place, but I am going to work hard over the next year so I can hopefully get first.
"My time in the mile was only about two seconds off of my personal record. I also set a personal record in the two-mile relay. I had my best split so far, so I was happy about that."
Also winning on the girls' side was Lehighton's Gwen Remaley. Remaley won the discus with a throw of 103 feet, seven inches. She also placed second to Keer in the shot put.
Lehighton's Jon Strauss was one of three Indians to win events on the boys' side. Strauss won the javelin with a toss of 186 feet, eight-and-a-half inches. His teammates, Eric Whiteman and Levi Haldeman, also won throwing events. Whiteman won gold in the shot put with a heave of 48 feet, eleven-and-a-half inches, while Haldeman placed first in the discus with a throw of 142 feet, ten inches.
"I am excited," said Strauss. "We had a pretty decent head wind today, but I think it was a good throw for the circumstances. I would like to get back up into the 190s and maybe reach the 200s.
"I plan on getting a lot of rest before districts. I will do some light workouts, but it's all about staying healthy right now. It's been a good year so far."
Lehighton's sweep of the boys and girls throwing events was the first time that has happened in Mountain Valley Conference history.
Also winning gold medals on the boys' side were Pleasant Valley's John Wathen and the Bears' 3200-meter relay team. Wathen won the 800-meter run with a time of 2:03.52. He, along with Nicholas Corrales, Anthony Ruiz and Lawrence Robinson won the relay in 8:15.97.