Tischler leads way for Rams in invitational

STRASBURG — A funny thing happened to Strasburg distance runner Rachel Tischler on her way to fame and stardom at her school’s annual Ram Country Track and Field Invitational Saturday: she found herself running laps all alone.

Normally one to lay back in the pack to make her kick, Tischler won the girl’s 3,200-meter run in hot, almost humid conditions on the track around Glenn Proctor Field, in wire-to-wire fashion.

Her time of 11:54.7 was not a personal record, but it was good enough to win the distance race. Tischler finished second in the 1,600 meters with a best personal time of 5:26.86.

Tischler’s two finishes combined for 18 points, the most from any local competitor, featuring girls’ and boys’ teams from Strasburg, Skyline, Central and Warren County.

Actually, in the 3,200, Tischler met indirect competition. She had lapped some of her competitors by as many as three ovals, and she was running with them as she crossed the finish line. In fact, Tischler’s time in the longest run of the day was more than eight minutes ahead of the final finishing girl in the race.

“It’s definitely hard leading, it’s something I’m not used to,” a winded Tischler said. “But I love running so much, it’s just nice to be out there. I just challenged myself, and that was enough motivation.”

Tischler’s double-figure scoring helped the Strasburg girls to finish seventh among 14 teams with 30 points. James Wood proved to be the overall winner with 104 points. Washington (W.Va.) was second (73), followed by Wilson Memorial (59); Riverheads (55) and George Mason (46). Then came Central (34) at sixth, and Strasburg.

Skyline and Madison County (16) tied for 10th, and Warren County was 13th among the girls.

Wilson Memorial won the overall first-place boys trophy with 88 points. Clarke County was second with 68, followed by James Wood (48), Central (46), Strasburg (45) and Skyline (43). Warren County finished in 13th with 11 points.

While Tischler was the local girls’ top point producer; Lexi Keller of Central was next up.

Keller won the 800 meter run in a time of 2:28.21 and placed fifth in the high jump with a hop of four feet, eight inches. These events earned the Falcon junior 12 points.

“We’re trying to find the best spot for her,” Central coach Rick Lytton said. “She can run the 400, the 4×400 relay, the 200, even the two mile. We’re just trying to get her qualified [for the post season] and use her where we need the points.”

Behind Tischler and Keller came Skyline freshman Olivia McGill — quickly.

For her third straight meet, McGill won the 100 meters, this time with a 12.50-second dash, good enough for 10 points. The first-year sprinter tripped as she crossed the finish line, scratching up her leg, so Hawk coaches decided to hold her out of the 200.

“We have a lot of the season left,” Hawk sprints coach Rodger Seemiller said. “We’ll get her ready for the next one.”

Another Ram led the local scoring among the boys. Elijah Waters won the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 15:90. He also raced to a time of 44.94 in the 300 hurdles, good enough for third place. The two finishes gave him 16 scores on the day.

“I set a personal record [in the 110] and it was all because of [Strasburg] coach [Jeff] Rudolph,” Waters said. “He’s the man who did it. We sat down and looked at tape and saw that I was slowing down between hurdles. It made me speed up.”

Multi-purpose distance runner Tanner Steed, of Skyline, was the second leading overall boys’ points producer, ending the day with 14½ tallies.

He won the boys 800 with a run of 2:04.81 and ran the anchor legs of Skyline’s first-place 4×800 meter relay team (8:37.65) and the Hawks’ second-place finishing 4×400 meter team (3:41.48).

Joining him in the 4×400 were teammates Landon Holben, Demetry [correct spelling] Arnold and Jacob Reed. Running as part of the 4×800 unit were Arnold, Christian Madden, Holben and Steed.

“At first we were way behind [in the 800 relay], but Landon made up about 20 meters and then it was up to me,” Steed said.

Central senior Tristan Lucy-Speidel turned in 14 points for the day. He finished second in the 1,600 (4:47.49) and third in the 3,200 (10:45.71).