Twice as nice: Pottsville’s Ebling, Marian’s Capparell win pair of district track golds
Pottsville’s Ebling wins gold medals in 400, 800
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.”
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...
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