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The 2014 All-Sentinel Track and Field Team
Miller, Witmer lead field of
this year's honorees
Compiled By Duane Good

Recognition of area high school athletes from the Spring 2014 season concludes this week with the All-Sentinel Track and Field Team.

Coaches’ recommendations were sought for this compilation. The Male and Female Player of the Year designations were made by the Sentinel staff.

This year’s honorees were selected from the track and field teams of Millersburg and Upper Dauphin Area, which collectively draw students from Halifax, Line Mountain, Millersburg and UDA  high schools.

PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

Phil Witmer, Millersburg. Known primarily for his contributions to the Indian boys’ 4x800 Relay team, the junior came seemingly out of nowhere to capture Tri-Valley and District 3, Class AA championships in the High Jump and go on to tie for a seventh-place medal in the same event at the state tournament.

‘‘Phil is an example of hard work paying its dividends,’’ Jill Steffen, his head coach, said. ‘‘He suffered an injury early in the season and wasn't sure he would be 100 percent. He rehabbed hard and made a great run into districts and  states.

‘‘Phil is that athlete that will do what you ask. He brings so much to his team,” Steffen said of Witmer, who joined his 4X8 teammates in taking seventh at districts.

Taylor Miller, Millersburg.  Miller seemed to be everywhere – and practically unbeatable – for the Indians her junior season. She never lost a Girls’ 800 or 1600 race in the TVL, then earned a third in the 800 and fourth in the 1600 at districts. She also was part of two league champion girls’ relay teams: 4X400 and 4X800 (undefeated in the league and third in districts).

‘‘Taylor is a gifted runner who is focused on the team and leads by example,’’ Steffen said.

MILLERSBURG HONOREES

Steffen nominated Miller, Witmer and the following additional Indians for the 2014 team.

Boys’ 4X800 Relay team: Alex Scheib, Phil Witmer, Lukas Cassell and Alex McMullen. The quarter almost went undefeated in the league and placed seventh in districts.

‘‘We spent most of the year figuring out the four members, but once we did, we knew we had something special,’’ Steffen said. ‘‘The great thing is we have them all together for another year.’’

Alex Scheib, Boys’ 800 and 1600. In addition to his relay-team accomplishments as a sophomore, Scheib won both distance events at the TVL meet and qualified for districts in three events.

‘‘Alex is the rock to our distance team,’’ Steffen said. ‘‘He is young but doesn’t run like he’s young.’’

Alex McMullen, Boys’ 1600 and 3200. ‘‘He has grown as a runner and I’m looking forward to having him for two more years,’’ Steffen said of this junior-to-be. ‘‘He is very much a leader of the distance team and has great work ethic.”

Ryan Brennan, Boys’ 1X100 Relay (anchor) and long jump. Brennan helped the relay team toward a second at the league meet and was third at districts in the long jump, all as a sophomore.

‘‘Ryan is a very versatile athlete. He gets it done on the track and in the field,’’ Steffen said.

Lonnie Palmer, jump events. Palmer was runner up at the TVL event and fourth in districts in the high jump.

‘‘This senior will be missed. He was the force in the jumps,’’ Steffen said. ‘‘He coached the younger ones and really was an important member of this team.

‘‘He was always about the team. He even practiced with Phil Witmer the week of states,’’ Steffen noted.

Girls’ 4x800 team: Taylor Miller, Lucy Spicher, Julia Pirie and Krissy Kelley.  ‘‘This group of girls didn't lose a race all season in league meets. They work hard and know what it means to make sacrifices for the team,’’ Steffen said. ‘‘They missed states by a very small margin, and I am sure that will be the motivating factor for next season.’’

Meghan Hoffman, hurdler. Steffen praised Hoffman’s consistency during the season, leading her to two place wins at the TVL meet: fourth in the 100 and third in the 300. She also qualified for districts and Steffen expects great things from her as a senior in 2015.

Ashlyn Mattis and Amber Laudenslager, pole vaulters. At the league meet, Mattis was champion and Laudenslager placed fifth. Both will return as seniors in 2015.

‘‘These two have put Millersburg pole vaulters on the map. They have both worked hard to perfect their technique,’’ Steffen said.

Megan Simpkins, throwing events. Steffen praised Simpkins’ leadership and consistency in the field.  As a junior, she finished third in the TVL in the shot put; second in discus and fifth in javelin. She advanced to districts and placed seventh in discus.

Krissy Kelley, sprinter, middle distance, relay. ‘‘Krissy is our ‘go to’ girl,’’ Steffen said of the rising junior. ‘‘She was the league champion in the 400, 4x800 and 4x400 and placed second in the 4x100. Krissy also placed third in the 4x800 and seventh in the 400 in districts.

‘‘She has the ability to sprint and mid distance which makes her very versatile,’’ Steffen added.

UDA HONOREES

Head Coach Brian Hoover nominated the following Trojans:

Madison Crum-Burger, throwing events. The 2014 graduate capped a four-year career with the Trojans by taking second in the TVL in the Boys’ Discus and earning a district berth. He also competed in Shot Put events this year and throughout his career.

Ben Paul, javelin. Paul was one three UDA boys to qualify for districts his senior year. He was fourth in Boys’ Javelin at the TVL meet and went on to Shippensburg in that event. He also competed in Boys’ Shot  Put for the Trojans.

Nathaniel Wetzel, hurdles. As a senior, Wetzel lent his talents to several boys’ events for UDA: the 110 and 300 Hurdles, the 4X400 Relay and the Pole Vault. Wetzel was fifth in the league in the 110 and went on to Shippensburg in that event. He was sixth in the league in the 300.

Marlee Mattern, distance. Mattern was league runner-up in the Girls’ 3200 and followed up that performance with an eight-place medal at the  D3-AA meet in the same event. She also competes in the 1600 and will return for her senior year in 2015.

Anna Osman, hurdles. As a sophomore, Osman was TVL runner-up in the Girls 100 and 300 events, then finished sixth at Shippensburg in the 300. She also was a relay team member.

Colleen Troutman, short distance. Battling a stress fracture that compromised her senior-year sports participation, Troutman nonetheless finished second at the TVL meet in the Girls’ 100 and 200 and third in the 400. She also  qualified for districts in all three events. She closed out her high school track career with a sixth in the 100.

Troutman – one of several Line Mountain students who made significant contributions to the UDA program this season – remains the TVL record holder in the 100, 200 and 400.

Meadow Walshaw-Wertz, sprints. As a freshman, Walshaw-Wertz showed she will be an athlete to watch in future years, qualifying for districts in the Girls’ 100.




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