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Schmidt’s PIAA medal highlights T&F season

The 2021 Emmaus girls and boys track and field season proved memorable and most of all - successful.

After having 2020 wiped out like a mirage and battling COVID during the early weeks of the preseason, coach Kami Reinhard and her troops were cautiously ready to sprint, jump, throw and vault into the 2021 season.

For the most part, the Hornets faced only modest regular season competition - save for girls and boys losses to Parkland on April 28. Other than the Trojan defeats, Emmaus only met true resistance once - during an April 17 visit to Hazleton. Two days later, the Pottsville Crimson Tide offered some competition, but the Hornets proved too much.

Coming into the season, the girls squad featured a bevy of talent. Solid runners Keerstin Augustin, Clara Kennedy, Belle Lees, Hailey Reinhard, Kera Reinhard, Ashley Ryan and Madison Toretta were staples. The gold and green also relied on sprinters such as Heather Augustin, Madison Brown, Halle Jennett and Olivia Sullivan.

The girls field contingent was also formidable. Throwers included Kyla Fanning, Molly Lineberger, Lily Shields and Catherine Sirignano. Jumpers such as Summer Lorincz, Aubrie Pavlacka, Sheldyne Pierre, Alandra Pilarski and Sachiko Price all contributed at times during the year. Hurdlers Bethany Brown, Claire Engel, Tayah Mehrtens, Isabella Russo and S.J. Waterman comprised a solid unit. Emmaus also had talent in pole vaulting, with Morgan Belisle, Mackenzie Bruns, Eva Patt and Peyton Rautzhan often leading the way.

The boys also gave Hornet fans reasons to cheer. Distance runners Sam Dalton, Oscar Felegy, Geoffrey Kleinberg, Gabriel Krem and Ethan Strzempek all went the extra mile. Sprinters Dylan Bassett, Holden Brown, Matt Bruchak, Colin Byrne, Aidan Dougherty, Jarrett Lysek, Gabe Trexler and Zavier Urbaez ran like bullets, and throwers Davonte Hinds, Matt Magee, Hayden Schmidt and Tristan Schimdt were all competitive.

Evan Loro, Dominic Nunez and Ethan Ferris were the Hornets’ key jumpers, while Andrew Cho, Alex Harmon and Kyle Ryan mostly led the way for hurdlers. Emmaus pole vaulters A.J. Hurlburt, Owen Mont and Luke Rautzhan all impressed.

Tristan Schmidt certainly “impressed.” He Schmidt started his Hornet track career as a distance runner, but moved to the javelin. Restricted during the offseason due to COVID restrictions, he worked out faithfully on his own, knowing that he wanted to be ready to give his best if, or when, he had the chance.

Ultimately, the work paid off. The Penn State recruit placed second in leagues and districts and took a third place medal at states.

“I expected I would probably get top three based on my seed,” said Schmidt. “I was hoping for first or second. I was sort of expecting to throw over 200, but it’s fine because the conditions weren’t great.

“I felt like I could throw farther. It wasn’t quite coming together. I didn’t have angle quite right.”

Schmidt threw 193 feet, 3 inches at states, finishing behind second-place Collin Burkhart (209-3) of Nazareth and this year’s champ, Matthew Prebola of Tunkhannock, who won with a throw of 222-2.

Another success story was the girls 4x800 relay foursome of seniors Ashleigh McNellis, Kera Reinhard, Keerstin Augustin and sophomore Hailey Reinhard. On a humid late afternoon day at districts, the girls earned gold and with it, a trip to Shippensburg for PIAA competition, where they finished 15th.

Emmaus' Tristan Schmidt, center, stands on the podium after medaling in the javelin during the PIAA Class 3A State Track and Field Championship.