Bellwood’s Gerwert reaching new heights

05/02/17 By Gary M. Baranec Bellwood's Braden Heisler competes in the javelin Tuesday at Bellwood High School.

BELLWOOD — Back surgery hasn’t stopped Lexi Gerwert, so the gusty wind at Memorial Stadium on Tuesday wasn’t going to, either.

The Bellwood-Antis High School junior just keeps raising the bar. Literally.

She did it again at the 61st Bellwood-Antis Track and Field Invitational. She broke her fourth record of the year, setting a new standard in the pole vault by clearing her first attempt at 10 feet, 7 inches.

“It feels pretty good. I wasn’t really focused on breaking the meet record, because I was taking the wind into consideration,” Gerwert said. “Breaking it feels pretty good.”

Gerwert was one of a handful event winners at the event, which had been postponed on Monday because of the thunderstorms and tornado warning. On the girls side, Central and Tyrone both turned in winning efforts in the relays, and Tyrone’s Torrie Foy won the javelin.

In boys action, Tyrone won the boys team title with room to spare, 126-90.75, over second-place Bellwood, getting wins from Parker Mitchell in the 200 and from its team in the 400 relay.

Chestnut Ridge had a trio of winners — Levi Snyder in the 110-meter hurdles, Noah Dillow in the long jump and Levi Hobson in the discus — while Bellwood-Antis’ Clay Engle took the triple jump.

With Richland’s Morgan Gossard out of the competition because of the make-up date conflicted with Laurel Highlands Conference meets, Gerwert found herself competing largely against herself; no one else exceeded 8-0.

However, the wind could have been just as daunting a foe as any opponent on Tuesday.

“If it’s blowing towards me, then I have to run a little faster. If it’s a crosswind, it’s just not good. It can knock the bar down,” Gerwert said. “The wind was tough, and I thought it would screw me up a little bit, but, actually, it benefited me. I got a tailwind, so it was actually pushing me into the pit a little more, so it got me to the bar easier.”

Gerwert broke the previous meet mark of 10-6 established by Northern Cambria’s Hayley Paronish in 2009. It was her second B-A Invite title, and she was named the meet’s outstanding girls jumper.

“I practiced Sunday night, and I felt pretty good,” Gerwert said.

Gerwert now has set four records this spring. Coming into Tuesday, she already had set a new personal record and a new school record of 11-0, in addition to breaking the record at the United Invitational.

It’s actually a pretty remarkable achievement considering she had to have lateral back fusion done between her freshman and sophomore seasons, having two bones in her spine fused together.

Last year essentially was a lost season for the former gymnast.

“Last year was more of a recovery year, so I didn’t PR or anything. I didn’t do anything special,” Gerwert said. “This year, I’ve been working harder. I’ve got a trainer. I’ve been working with him for the past few months, getting stronger.”

After winning the District 6 Class 2A pole vault as a freshman, she lost out to Gossard as a sophomore. Gossard went on to place at states. That’s given her some added motivation this year.

“She’s my big competition this year,” Gerwert said. “I’ve been really watching her just to see what I’m in for this year.”

Foy threw the javelin 100-9 for her blue ribbon. Central’s Blair Miller was second at 96-7.

The Central girls opened the meet with a win in the four-by-800 relay as Erin Brumbaugh relinquished the lead to Southern Huntingdon’s Abbie Rose but then used a strong kick down the stretch to win going away. Meggie Stern, Hannah Johnston and Emma Lingenfelter ran the first three legs as the Lady Dragons posted a time of 11:01:25.

The Tyrone girls team of Tori Crabtree, Makenzie Stauffer, Lea Crofcheck and Alaina Nevling also garnered first-place points in the 400 relay. They posted a time of 54.76, besting second by more than a second.

Snyder finished the 110s in 15.73, edging Saint Joseph’s Zach DeCarmine by three-hundredths of a second. Dillow, meanwhile, posted a 19-9 in the long jump to better Mitchell by 13 inches.

It was the second big-meet win in a row for Dillow, who took first in the same event at the Northern Bedford County Meet on Friday. That’s made ever more impressive because Dillow hadn’t even done track and field before Easter.

“I just thought it would be fun, get colleges to look at me more, give me something to do. Kind of show my athleticism,” Dillow said.

Dillow said another motivation in joining the track team was to help him in football and basketball. He played baseball, too, until he got to high school.

“It just worked out that I was pretty decent at it,” Dillow said. “Guys have been trying to talk me into coming out since my freshman year, but I just decided to come out halfway through my junior year.”

Hobson was convincing in his victory, throwing 141-6. Ridge teammate Duane Knisely was second at 128-3.

Mitchell came back and got a blue ribbon over teammate Gary Weaver by finishing the 200 meters in 23.44, then got another along with Daniel Lay, Nick Vasbinder and Weaver in the four-by-100. The Golden Eagles’ relay time was 44.99, more than 3 seconds better than any other team in the field.

Weaver is a late addition to the Tyrone team, and Mitchell said that’s impacted his performances.

“He’s been pushing me a lot. I wish he would have come out earlier, instead of waiting until his senior year,” Mitchell said dryly with a grin.

With Weaver joining Mitchell in the relay, the Golden Eagles are becoming more and more formidable as the chemistry gets better. Tuesday’s time, despite the wind, was a personal-best.

“The times have been getting better. Our starts have been improving a lot,” Mitchell said.

Engle denied Dillow double wins, beating the Lion in the triple jump by 10.5 inches with a top leap of 42-5.5. Engle also was third in the high jump and fifth in the long jump and was named the meet’s outstanding boys jumper.

United’s Devin Mack was the boys outstanding thrower, while Southern Huntingdon’s Andrew Stanley was the outstanding runner. Southern Huntingdon’s Olivia Barney (thrower) and United triple winner Michaela Bracken (runner) took the other individual honors on the girls side, and United was the team champ with 114 points.

BOYS

KEY, TEAM SCORING: 1, T–Tyrone, 126; 2, BA–Bellwood-Antis, 90.75; 2, SH–Southern Huntingdon, 67; 4, CR–Chestnut Ridge, 49; 5, SJ–Saint Joseph’s, 45; 6, MU–Mount Union, 38; 7, BEA–Bald Eagle Area, 32.75; 8, U–United, 27.50; 9, NC–Northern Cambria, 26; 10, JV–Juniata Valley, 20; 11, PV–Penns Valley, 17; 12, WB–West Branch, 15; 13, CEN–Central, 3; 14, PO–Philipsburg-Osceola, 1.

100 dash: 1, Lytle, WB, 11.43; 2, Weaver, T, 11.61; 3, Mitchell, T, 11.64; 4, McMickens, MU, 11.67; 5, Hamilton, SJ, 11.69; 6, Jackson, JV, 11.74.

200 dash: 1, Mitchell, T, 23.44; 2, Weaver, T, 23.83; 3, Worthing, BA, 23.91; 4, Wolfe, BA, 24.14; 5, Goodwin, PV, 24.58; 6, Jackson, JV, 24.80.

400 dash: 1, McMickens, MU, 52.43; 2, Worthing, BA, 52.64; 3, Wolfe, BA, 54.42; 4, Holler, BEA, 55.03; 5, Patton, SH, 55.41; 6, Putt, T, 55.73.

800 run: 1, Peters, SJ, 2:02.73; 2, J. Kohler, T, 2:03.92; 3, Herman, SH, 2:03.92; 4, Ringler, U, 2:08.93; 5, Cusatis, SJ, 2:10.22; 6, Cook, CEN, 2:12.63.

1600 run: 1, Stanley, SH, 4:38.96; 2, J. Kohler, T, 4:40.32; 3, Z. Kohler, T, 4:49.19; 4, Gray, PV, 4:51.83; 5, Kauffman, SJ, 4:59.55; 6, Bierly, PV, 5:04.45.

3200 run: 1, Stanley, SH, 10:08.20; 2, Z. Kohler, T, 10:10.87; 3, Andrews, MU, 10:53.33; 4, Van Kirk, BA, 11:04.50; 5, Stamm, PV, 11:09.39; 6, Wortman, SJ, 11:14.01.

110 hurdles: 1, Snyder, CR, 15.73; 2, DeCarmine, SJ, 15.76; 3, Wilson, SH, 16.03; 4, Woodford, PV, 16.18; 5, Lewis, T, 16.67; 6, Lay, T, 17.13.

300 hurdles: 1, DeCarmine, SJ, 41.87; 2, Paronish, NC, 43.43; 3, Lay, T, 44.44; 4, Painter, SH, 44.58; 5, Crocker, CR, 44.71; 6, Myers, WB, 45.05.

400 relay: 1, Tyrone (Lay, Mitchell, Vasbinder, Weaver), 44.99; 2, Bald Eagle, 48.01; 3, Juniata Valley, 48.44; 4, Northern Cambria, 50.58; 5, Central, 51.27; 6, Philipsburg-Osceola, 52.70.

1600 relay: 1, Saint Joseph’s (Bomboy, Cusatis, DeCarmine, Hamilton), 3:39.83; 2, Mount Union, 3:40.97; 3, Bellwood-Antis, 3:41.67; 4, Southern Huntingdon, 3:42.86; 5, Bald Eagle Area, 3:44.77; 6, Tyrone, 3:50.97.

3200 relay: 1, Southern Huntingdon (Balles, Detwiler, Herman, Stanley), 8:50.16; 2, Tyrone, 9:18.35; 3, Bellwood-Antis, 9:22.88; 4, Bald Eagle Area, 9:25.19; 5, Penns Valley, 9:52.73; 6, Northern Cambria, 10:01.75.

High jump: 1, Wilson, SH, 5-10; 2, Collins, JV, 5-10; 3, Engle, BA, 5-10; 4, Jones, NC, 5-10; 5, Arblaster, U, 5-10; 6, Meredith, T, 5-8.

Long jump: 1, Dillow, CR, 19-9; 2, Mitchell, T, 18-8; 3, Glunt, BA, 18-3.5; 4, Meredith, T, 18-0; 5, Engle, BA, 17-7.5; 6, Anderson, CR, 17-1.

Triple jump: 1, Engle, BA, 42-5.5; 2, Dillow, 41-7; 3, Lewis, T, 37-6.5; 4, Vasbinder, T, 37-6; 5, Painter, SH, 35-8; 6, Jones, NC, 35-6.5.

Shot put: 1, Mack, U, 45-11.5; 2, Salvanish, BEA, 44-4; 3, Wertman, BA, 43-9; 4, Thompson, JV, 42-0.25; 5, Winfield, SH, 41-11; 6, Hoover, BA, 39-11.

Discus: 1, Hobson, CR, 141-6; 2, Knisely, CR, 128-3; 3, Salvanish, BEA, 121-11; 4, Thompson, WB, 118-0; 5, Fleck, PV, 116-11; 6, Zitterbart, BA, 114-2.

Javelin: 1, Mack, U, 164-1; 2, Heisler, BA, 155-3; 3, Taneyhill, BA, 148-8; 4, Raling, T, 142-11; 5, Paronish, NC, 142-1; 6, Devlin, SH, 130-3.

Pole vault: 1, Woods, MU, 11-6; 2, Loose, T, 11-0; 3, Seymore, NC, 11-0; 4, Faith, BA, 10-0; 5 (tie), Minerd, U, Shetler, U, Tuggy, BA, and Turner, BEA, 11-0;

GIRLS

KEY, TEAM SCORING: 1, U–United, 114; 2, SH–Southern Huntingdon, 64; 3 (tie), PV–Penns Valley and SJ–Saint Joseph’s 49; 5, T–Tyrone, 48; 6, WB–West Branch, 39; 7, CEN–Central, 36.5; 8, BEA–Bald Eagle Area, 36; 9, BA–Bellwood-Antis, 34.5; 10, PO–Philipsburg-Osceola, 24; 11, MU–Mount Union, 21; 12, JV–Juniata Valley, 20; 13, CR–Chestnut Ridge, 19; H–Huntingdon, 4.

100 dash: 1, Bracken, U, 13.14; 2, Brown, WB, 13.51; 3, Stecko, PV, 13.56; 4, Musselman, CR, 13.63; 5, Nelving, T, 13.77; 6, Swartz, PV, 13.90.

200 dash: 1, Stecko, PV, 27.89; 2, Musselman, CR, 28.23; 3, Brown, WB, 28.41; 4, Whitsel, SH, 28.50; 5, Nevling, T, 28.86; 6, Surovec, SJ, 29.58.

400 dash: 1, Bowersox, PV, 1:02.97; 2, Chappell, SJ, 1:05.63; 3, Prestash, WB, 1:06.36; 4, Brown, U, 1:06.67; 5, Miller, SH, 1:06.74; 6, Crabtree, T, 1:07.10.

800 run: 1, Ebbs, SJ, 2:34.35; 2, Prestash, WB, 2:34.43; 3, Crabtree, T, 2:39.45; 4, Cunningham, BEA, 2:44.95; 5, Lingenfelter, CEN, 2:45.87; 6, Whitsel, SH, 2:46.48.

1600 run: 1, Carmack, SJ, 5:36.84; 2, Prestash, WB, 5:38.10; 3, McHenry, BEA, 6:08.60; 4, Hawkins, H, 6:12.46; 5, Parks, SH, 6:20.05; 6, Bierlein, PV, 6:25.70.

3200 run: 1, Ludwig, U, 11:46.86; 2, Mazza, SJ, 11:59.25; 3, Smith, PV, 12:45.45; 4, McHenry, BEA, 13:17.69; 5, Witherite, PV, 13:35.33; 6, Bartlett, BA, 13:55.45.

100 hurdles: 1, Bracken, U, 16.38; 2, Arblaster, U, 16.90; 3, Leidy, JV, 17.57; 4, Riegel, PV, 17.91; 5, Stauffer, T, 18.18; 6, Packer, BEA, 18.26.

300 hurdles: 1, Bracken, U, 46.09 (meet record); 2, Susick, U, 50.04; 3, Packer, BEA, 50.29; 4, Riegel, PV, 52.83; 5, Brawley, SJ, 53.68; 6, Corl, PV, 54.64.

400 relay: 1, Tyrone (Crabtree, Stauffer, Crofcheck, Nevling), 54.76; 2, Bald Eagle Area, 55.99; 3, Mount Union, 56.04; 4, Southern Huntingdon, 56.30; 5, Bellwood-Antis, 56.44; 6, West Branch, 56.76.

1600 relay: 1, Saint Joseph’s (Brawley, Carmack, Chappell, Ebbs), 4:26.68; 2, United, 4:30.29; 3, Southern Huntingdon, 4:30.31; 4, Central, 4:31.76; 5, Bald Eagle Area, 4:35.26; 6, Bellwood-Antis, 4:54.10.

3200 relay: 1, Central (Stern, Johnston, Lingenfelter, Brumbaugh), 11:01.25; 2, Southern Huntingdon, 11:04.25; 3, Tyrone, 11:27.66; 4, Bellwood-Antis, 11:38.70; 5, Bald Eagle Area, 11:45.59; 6, United, 11:51.07.

High jump: 1, Bracken, U, 4-10; 2, Waite, SH, 4-10; 3 (tie), Mercer, BA, and Worthy, MU, 4-8; 5, Payne, JV, 4-8; 6 (tie), Mills, BA, and Rossman, CEN, 4-8.

Long jump: 1, Clayborn, MU, 16-3.5; 2, Fusco, T, 15-9; 3, Leidy, JV, 15-7; 4 (tie), Brown, U, and Sweitzer, PV, 15-2; 5, Mercer, BA, 14-9.

Triple jump: 1, Arblaster, U, 34-5; 2, Stern, CEN, 31-6; 3, Hollen, BA, 30-10; 4, Rossman, 30-9; 5, Waite, SH, 30-6; 6, Crofcheck, T, 30-4.

Shot put: 1, Barney, SH, 30-6; 2, Burns, PO, 30-5; 3, Tomalson, U, 30-1.5; 4, Mack, U, 29-7.5; 5, Butterworth, PO, 29-6.5; 6, Woodward, SH, 28-7.

Discus: 1, Barney, SH, 106-4; 2, Burns, PO, 91-9; 3, Wilson, JV, 88-11; 4, Mack, U, 86-2; 5, Day, PO, 84-10; 6, Kerstetter, PV, 84-6.

Javelin: 1, Foy, T, 100-9; 2, Miller, CEN, 96-7; 3, Brechbeil, SH, 95-8; 4, Day, PO, 90-6; 5, Hayles, WB, 90-5; 6, Bucha, BEA, 89-10.

Pole vault: 1, Gerwert, BA, 10-7 (meet record); 2, Brown, U, 8-0; 3, Wright, CR, 8-0; 4, Mayers, BA, 8-0; 5, Taylor, BEA, 7-6; 6, Palicka, CR, 7-0.

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