Well, Mother Nature finally did it.
She provided such a horrible day for a track and field meet, that all of the clichés that could be used to describe the weather have either been exhausted or do not do it justice.
Suffice it to say that the conditions for Saturday’s Selinsgrove High School Classic tested the limits of athletes as well as the hearty fans who sat in the bleachers at Harold L. Bolig Memorial Field.
But, with the thermometer struggling to hit 45 degrees amid a constant wind, the athletes made the most of it.
Selinsgrove sophomore Brody Beiler, his attention now turned 100 percent to track after a season of sharing time between that and baseball, blasted through the winds to take the win in the 1,600-meter race in a respectable 4 minutes, 30.60 seconds.
Warrior Run senior pole vaulter Jared McHenry, fresh off a personal-best and Warrior Run stadium-record 14-foot, 3-inch vault last week, battled the heavy wind gusts to win the vault with a 13-6.
Milton senior Chris Reuss won both the 100- and 200-meter dash in 11.39 and 23.31, respectively.
Southern Columbia junior Luke Rarig was the lone triple winner. The Tiger did what a returning state medalist is expected to do, winning both hurdles races (the 110 in 15.52 and the 300 in 42.31) and also won the long jump in 20-5.
On the girls side, Selinsgrove’s defending state shot put champion, junior Courtney McCartney, won the shot with a 45-11 ½ and the discus with a 120-8.
Central Columbia’s Ellen Shepard took the 100 (12.75) and 200 (27.03). Torri Ross, Warrior Run, was a double winner as well: 800, 2:31.37; 1,600, 5:25.76.
No team scores are kept for this event.
Despite the weather conditions, Beiler was excited for what he knew would be a competitive 1,600 with Danville’s Tyler Vella (who finished second), Mifflinburg’s Quincy Amabile (third) and Seal teammate Ethan Fadale (fourth).
“I was really looking forward to this meet. I knew there was going to be a lot of top power guys. I was glad that I was able to run with them today,” Beiler said.
“I wanted to work for a fast time and a good place,” he said.
On the final straightaway, Beiler, who had stayed on Vella’s heels for the last lap, turned on the burners and passed the Ironman standout with 100 meters to go.
“I was just trying to keep him in sight and then the last 150 I just had to give it all I’ve got,” he said.
Vella came back and won the 800 in 2:06.63.
“Running in this weather is tough on your wind, tough on your lungs, tough on your body,” Beiler said.
Beiler, whose father, Brent, is the Seals’ varsity baseball coach, said he still loves playing baseball, but thought he needed to concentrate on one sport for the spring.
“I still want to do junior Legion in the summer, but, for the spring, I am all in for track and field,” he said.
“It was a tough decision; I love both of them dearly, but I love track and to be successful in this sport, you’ve gotta put a lot of time in, a lot of miles,” he said “To do that, I needed to stop playing baseball in the spring, which was a tough decision.”
Selinsgrove coach Ryan McGuire said that both Beiler and Fadale ran personal bests in the race.
Beiler later finished second in the 3,200, behind Amabile (9:53.93).
McHenry said this was not the coldest conditions in which he had ever vaulted, but the wind made it a challenge.
“The wind was pretty bad,” McHenry said. “Coming out of indoor season where the weather doesn’t affect you, it’s a lot to deal with. But you just have to try to get it going and jump the heights.”
McHenry got a shot at 14 feet, but “it just didn’t line up; the wind was blowing and I didn’t really get it.”
Although he has his sights set on a 15-foot vault this season, McHenry was pleased with Saturday’s performance.
“Thirteen-six is a good height to hit on a day like this (and) it’s the state qualifier,” he added.
Well, Mother Nature finally did it.
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