Twice as nice: Pottsville’s Ebling, Mar­ian’s Cap­par­ell win pair of dis­trict track golds

Pottsville’s Ebling wins gold medals in 400, 800

The Republican Herald - - FRONT PAGE - BY MIKE CAR­NA­HAN stAFF writer

WHITE­HALL — Pottsville’s Collin Ebling has com­plied an im­pres­sive list of ac­com­plish­ments dur­ing his high school track and field ca­reer.

One, how­ever, has al­ways eluded him: A dis­trict ti­tle in the 800 me­ters.

Ebling can fi­nally cross that off the list, too. And he got it in a big way.

Ebling won the event in Class AAA with a meet-record-break­ing time of 1:53.84, part of his two vic­to­ries Thurs­day dur­ing the sec­ond day of the Dis­trict 11 Track and Field Cham­pi­onships at White­hall High School’s Ze­phyr Sports Com­plex.

Ebling’s time broke the old mark of 1:54.94 set by Eas­ton’s Scott Portluck in 1988 as he pulled away over the fi­nal 80 me­ters to get past Park­land’s Sam Mor­gan (1:54.91). Ebling’s per­for­mance in the 800 fol­lowed his vic­tory in the 400 as he turned it on down the stretch to fin­ish in 49.24 sec­onds as Wil­son’s Quadir Col­lier (49.90) took sec­ond.

Thurs­day’s ti­tles gave Ebling three dis­trict cham­pi­onships in two years af­ter he won the 1,600 last year. Still, it was gold in the 800

he wanted the most af­ter fin­ish­ing third in the event at dis­tricts the past two sea­sons.

“It is awe­some,” said Ebling, who came in as the top seed for both events. “Hav­ing the gold medal in the mile from last year and fi­nally get­ting the 800, it is just an amaz­ing feel­ing to have three dif­fer­ent events, gold over two years. I just came in with the men­tal­ity to­day to fi­nally get that 800 gold af­ter just com­ing up short the past two years. It was just on my mind all week. It made me push that last 200 me­ters.”

Ebling’s two wins were part of a big day for Schuylkill League male ath­letes, on what was a much nicer day Thurs­day weather-wise com­pared to Wed­nes­day’s damp con­di­tions.

Like Ebling, Le­high­ton’s Tah­mir Spencer was a dou­ble win­ner as he took first in the 100 in 11.09 sec­onds and the 200 in 22.42. Schuylkill Haven’s Joshua Gurzyn­ski also won the Class AA shot put in 49 feet, .25 inches.

North Schuylkill, Ta­maqua and Jim Thorpe added re­lay vic­to­ries Thurs­day.

The Spar­tans’ Braden Heyer, Mitchell Wagner, Bray­den Boyer and Scott Gri­gas won the Class AA 400 re­lay in 43.96 sec­onds, as Palisades (44.39) took sec­ond. The Blue Raiders’ De­rian Stianche, Matt Kistler, Dair Miller and Brad Clem­son took home gold in the Class AA 1,600 re­lay in 3:30.80, with North Schuylkill (3:31.53) fin­ish­ing as the run­ner-up. Stianche, Miller and Clem­son were part of the Ta­maqua re­lay team that also won the 3,200 re­lay Wed­nes­day.

The Olympians topped the night off by win­ning the Class AAA 1,600 re­lay as Jef­frey Gor­man, Justin St. Hill, Sa­muel Hy­dro and Na­jai Wal­cott ran a 3:25.61 to beat Park­land (3:27.44) by two sec­onds.

The Spar­tans’ Heyer, Luke Halko, Tyler Els­don, Joey An­tolick qual­i­fied for states with their sec­ond-place fin­ish in the 1,600 re­lay, as did Halko in the 400 by com­ing in sec­ond. Ta­maqua’s Khalid Holland (pole vault) and Stianche (800) are headed to states in in­di­vid­ual events with run­ner-up fin­ishes, as is the Olympians’ Jar­rin Geisinger (100), Wil­liam Mun­son (dis­cus) and Wal­cott (200) in Class AAA, along with Pottsville’s Chris Stoudt (javelin), all of whom were run­ners-up in their events, too.

Ebling’s plan for the sea­son was to use the 400 to help set him up and get him stronger for the 800, a race that quickly fol­lows the 400. He showed again Thurs­day that the plan has worked as he had more strength at the end in both races.

Ebling was be­hind for most of the 400. But with about 200 me­ters re­main­ing, Ebling started to make his move. He then took the lead for good with about 80 me­ters re­main­ing and held off Col­lier for the vic­tory.

About 40 min­utes af­ter the con­clu­sion of the 400, it was time for the 800. And like the 400, Ebling was be­hind for a good part of that event, too.

But as the race was wind­ing down, Ebling took over and grabbed the lead with around 100 me­ters re­main­ing.

“If I wasn’t first around the first turn, I just wanted to stick with the rest of the pack,” Ebling said. “I knew that Sam would get out pretty fast be­cause he had fresh legs, but as long as I could keep him close in the 200 I knew I had him. We came to that two and I was just on my toes, just stayed re­laxed and pushed all the way to the fin­ish line.

“It just sets me up good for states,” Ebling added about his wins.

In­deed, a state medal, or maybe even a pair, would top off his high school ca­reer.

While Ebling is mak­ing his sec­ond trip to states, Gurzyn­ski is go­ing for the first time af­ter his first dis­trict cham­pi­onship Thurs­day.

“I am re­ally ex­cited that I get to go to states,” Gurzyn­ski said. “It is some­thing I’ve re­ally wanted for a few years and I am re­ally glad that I will get to ex­pe­ri­ence it.”

Gurzyn­ski, who was sec­ond to Mun­son in the event at the league meet last week, hit his win­ning dis­tance on his first at­tempt of the fi­nals, his fourth over­all throw of the com­pe­ti­tion. Gurzyn­ski didn’t think it was go­ing to be a good throw when he started it, but it turned to be his best of the sea­son.

Notre Dame-Green Pond’s Thomas Kitchell (47-1.5) was sec­ond.

“When I first started to wind up for it, when I first started to do my glide, and I kicked off,” he said. “That’s what I thought was go­ing to kill my throw. But I got out to the front, I ex­ploded prop­erly with the cor­rect height. That’s what I think re­ally did it for me.”

Andy MAtsko / stAFF pho­tog­rA­pher

Pottsville’s Collin Ebling cel­e­brates af­ter win­ning the Class AAA boys’ 800-me­ter run dur­ing Thurs­day’s Dis­trict 11 Track and Field Cham­pi­onships at the Ze­phyr Sports Com­plex in White­hall. Ebling also won the 400 me­ters, giv­ing him golds in three...

andy maTSko / STaff pHo­Tog­ra­pHer

North Schuylkill’s Scott Gri­gas com­petes in the Class AA boys’ 200-me­ter dash at Thurs­day’s Dis­trict 11 Track and Field Cham­pi­onships in White­hall. Gri­gas qual­i­fied for states in three events, an­chor­ing the Spar­tans’ 400 re­lay team to vic­tory, then...

Joshua Gurzyn­ski Schuylkill Haven, wins shot put

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