Another PTFCA State Championship is in the books as we reflect back on the triumphs that came in all forms.
There were the obvious champions, those you could have seen coming all season long. And then there were the champions who saved their best for the big day, and surprised everyone in the process.
Luke Lefebure, West Chester Henderson, falls in the latter category, but still walked away with two state championships to his credit. He had run 1:58.08 for 800 meters this season and was running in the 2nd of 3 heats, with the seeded heat still to come, bearing the likes of defending champ and PA indoor all-time record holders, Tom Mallon of CB South, along with Kyle Moran, Abington, and Andy Flynn, Cumberland Valley.
"I was hoping to get a medal", he says.
Luke shocked everyone as he took care of business on his end, dropping just over 4 seconds to record a US#3 time of 1:53.94. "I made my move on the homestretch of the third lap and it worked out."
All he could do then was pace nervously and wait, but what he saw surprised him as well as the entire fieldhouse.
The seeded heat went out at a pedestrian pace of 58.7 for 400 meters, all but semi-assuring Luke the victory. Mallon would win the heat but wind up 4th behind Dorian Rumble, Penn Hills, and Tres Moore, Penncrest, who had also run in the heat with Lefebure, going 1:55.58 and 1:55.63, respectively.
When I saw 1:53 click by I knew I had it. I was really happy."
But Luke wasn't finished with the gold, running the 800 leg on West Chester Henderson's thrilling, razor-thin victory over Altoona.
An unheralded, but very deserving, double-champion.
History repeated, or overcome?
Carlton Lavong was a different story… slightly.
Lavong has spent the last 3 years trying to figure out how to win a state championship. As it turns out, the Methacton senior's journey was well worth it.
Carlton was involved in a serious car accident his sophomore season, and fell short of his expectations several weeks later at the indoor state meet. His junior year he injured his ankle playing basketball, and again struggled at the indoor state meet.
This year Carlton stayed healthy (no more basketball he says), and jumped his way to US#1 in the long jump (24-11) and the triple jump (49-11.50) during the season leading up to the championship.
That's not to say that there wasn't any drama. On Saturday, Carlton fouled his first two attempts, stuck a 23-8, and watched as Brady Gehret went 23-6.
"The last two years I fouled my first two jumps". He thought, "Alright, I have to shut everybody down." Carlton kept that focus and went 24-00.25 in the finals to seal the deal.
It wasn't pretty, but he had the first state championship of his career, and it felt good. On to the triple jump. Carlton went 48-6 on his first jump. "It felt great, that was the best I've ever felt".
Carlton went on to jump 49-10.50 to claim the state record and his second state title of the day.
"The crowd got into it, so I was loving it."
The only question was… by how much?
Brady Gehret was fully expected to rack up several state titles yesterday. So the question on everybody's mind was by how much he would do it. And would he take down any records?
Brady started things off with a bang when he went 23-6 in the long jump to give Lavong a scare before settling for 2nd. But the 8 points were huge for Altoona.
Next Brady shot out of the blocks for the 400 meter dash and wasted no time establishing a lead as he ran away to a US#2 time of 47.70, missing the state meet mark by just .05. "I wanted to run a faster time today but came out a little hard". Brady split a blistering 22.0 in the 400.
The one thing Brady Gehret was looking to do time-wise was a sub-21 performance in the 200, but his busy schedule might have slowed him just a hair.
Not like the competition noticed as Brady still moved well clear of the field as he recorded a 21.22 for the win. Brady is currently US#1 with a 21.14h.
"I wanted to go 21-low today, 20-point. I guess that is for another day."
His busy day was finished off with a 48.1 400 meter leg of the DMR, which Altoona almost pulled out as Wade Endress, Altoona, closed rapidly on Will Kellar, West Chester Henderson, over the final meters of the race.
The 2nd place finish was good enough to seal the team title over Cheltenham.
Best of the Rest.
Cheltenham won the 4x200 in 1:30.27 and the 4x400 in a then US#1 time of 3:19.45.
Foot Locker finalist Rad Gunzenhauser, Mount Lebanon, cranked out an 8:38.01 for the state title in the 3000 meter run.
Tom Mallon, Central Bucks South, won the mile title with a swift last 400 in 4:16.21.
Abington won the 4x800 in 7:50.86 while West Chester Henderson won a thrilling DMR over Altoona 10:21.48 to 10:21.51.
Marcus Blakely, Coatesville, won the high jump with a height of 6-08 and Mick Coleman, Tennent, won the pole vault with a mark of 15-00.
Blake Davenport, Kennett, won the shot with a put of 56-10.75.
Alex Kenney, State College won the 60 meter dash with a meet record 6.80 and Stephen Lewis, Liberty, won the 60 meter hurdles with a time of 7.98.