Century Record Falls at Districts as DCC Cardinals Qualify for State Championships

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Century Record Falls at Districts as DCC Cardinals Qualify for State Championships

Tom Shade, Contributor

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As 25 schools converged at Brookville for the Class AAA & AA District Track & Field Championships nearly all coaches assembled agreed it was almost perfect weather for competition, and as a result records fell in a wide swath of events, including some memorable performances for the DCC history books.

The big event of the day came before noon in the 100 meter dash prelims as Mariah Alanskas had one of the greatest runs of her already remarkable career, breaking the near legendary century mark set 5 years ago by DCC’s first ever district champion, Maddie Meyers. Alanska’s performance (12.83) was less than .5 seconds faster than the school record as she won the preliminaries, putting her at the #1 seed in the finals.

During the finals Alanskas led most of the way before being nipped by less than one tenth of a second at the finish. For her excellent run Alanskas received a silver medal, and will represent the Cardinals at the state championships on Friday.

“Mariah does well under some pressure and she stepped up once she knew she had a good shot to make states, but her performance went well beyond expectations. It was a truly historic milestone in DCC Track & Field.”

Alanskas also had her career best run in the high hurdles(17.85) earlier, then competed in the 200 meter dash in the late afternoon.

The 4th and final event for Alanskas at districts, who qualified in 5 events, was the 1600 meter relay where she was the lead runner. With the team of Allie Cribbs, Alex Ochs & Maggie Schmader, the girls became the #2 all-time 4×4 team (4:44) in DCC history, still behind the dauntless 2016 squad of Cassie McAllister, Kaitlyn Morelli, Jordy Frank, and Riley Meyers.

“We are proud of the girls for practicing this event through the last weeks of the season. The 4×4 is very challenging in that it comes after a long day and is in itself a grueling run– not for the meek & timid. It says a lot about these girls and it puts a very notable cap on an accomplished season.”

Linkin Nichols focused on the 800 meter run(2:01), his specialty, and it paid off with a silver medal. Nichols led much of the race before finding himself behind several runners with 200 yards left in the contest. A strong burst of speed at the race’s end proved too much for his competitors and Nichols was awarded the second place points.

“Linkin showed lots of pride in refusing to quit during the gutsy portion of the run. His athletic gifts rarely disappoint.”

Distance runner Johnny Ritsick had the finest race of his career(4:49) in the 1600 meter run against one of the strongest fields ever assembled for this event at the championships.

“Johnny knew he had his hands full and really displayed a lot of grit in persevering to get that super performance. It was a repeat of his superior running from last year’s championship race.”

Other district qualifiers that came away with good performances included Sarah Koehler(high jump) who went out attempting her best height; Landon Schmader who ran at his top level time in the 3200 run; Martina Swalligan making the finals in the shot & discus; Jon Schoeneman with a solid time in the 200 meter dash; and the 4×4 relay team of Ritsick, Loren Way, Lenny Swisher, & Nichols who are now poised to shatter the 40+ year record in that event in 2020.

“All of the qualifiers were well prepared to compete with high energy & enthusiasm. We wish Jon and all the seniors the very best as they graduate, and we are grateful for the leadership they pass on. There is already some anticipation among the under-classmen for next season.”

The Cardinals qualified 16 athletes for post-season in as many events, one of the best seasons ever in that category.

For the 7th consecutive year DCC will be represented at the PIAA State Track & Field Championships at Shippensburg’s Seth Grove Stadium. Events begin on Friday morning.

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