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NTL TRACK & FIELD: NEB'S LAUDERMILCH CLAIMS 2-MILE TITLE, EARNS STATE BERTH IN THREE EVENTS (2024-05-19)

BY CHRIS MANNING
Northern Tier Sports Report
WILLIAMSPORT — NEB’s Gracelyn Laudermilch accomplished what she set out to do - defend her district title in the 3200, while also making states in the 1600 and 800 on Saturday at the District IV Track and Field Championships.

Laudermilch won the 3200 in 11:08.04, running a blistering final 800 in 2:37. She was second in the 800 in 2:19.83 and third in the 1600 in 5:09.17 - both those times were under state qualifying time.


“I feel really blessed,” Laudermilch said about defending her 2-mile title. “I just asked God to run free because my worth doesn’t come from what I do on the track, but what he says about me. So when I do that I run free, and I can truly use the gift that he’s given me to try and have some fun.”


Wellsboro’s Lauren Kocek led for the first six laps with Athens’ Sara Bronson running in the pack. Laudermilch took the lead the final two laps, with Bronson finishing second and Kocek third. All three girls ran state time.


“I didn’t have a pace in mind,” said Laudermilch. “I knew that if I had a pace in mind then I would focus too much on that, and get myself a little keyed up. So, honestly, I was just going for place, I knew that time would come. I was getting my split in a few places, but I wasn’t really focused on that. I was just going to race.”


Laudermilch was going between taking off on lap five and taking off on lap seven.


“I just felt like God to me not to take it on lap five, so I waited until seven,” she said.


They ran most of the race in the rain, which, for 2-milers, is sometimes a good thing.


“I think the majority of our invitationals this year have been in rain, and my dad always told me you’re going to have to run districts in the rain, and maybe states,” said Laudermilch. “It’s going to happen at some point so you know how to do it. Training in the elements all winter long really helped me.”


There was a big pack up front for the first two laps of the mile when Laudermilch took the lead in the third lap. 


She relinquished it for the final lap but still held on to bronze.


“I felt like the mile was not fast enough, and I was worried about qualifying time, and I knew that me, Claire, Sarah, and Izzy really wanted to run qualifying time, and I was like ‘someone’s not going to get in because were going too slow,’” said Laudermilch. “I think everyone knew we were going too slow and so many coaches were saying you guys have to pick it up, so I was like, ‘well, I’m running with nothing to lose.’”


Laudermilch would negative split, running 2:37 for the first 800 and 2:32 for the second.


“I still felt pretty decent,” Laudermilch said about the final lap. “I was kind of surprised, I was just fairly tired, so I think that played into it a little bit. Mentally, I was a little tired, but I survived.”


Survive is what she did in her third race of the day, holding off two Warrior Run runners to take second in the 800. She ran about as even a split as you’re going to get - 1:09.93 and 1:09.91.


“I don’t know what happened because at the 150 meter mark I was out of it mentally and physically,” said Laudermilch. “I can only credit to God getting it back together. I have no clue when I was running, so I give all the Glory to him, it’s not me.”


She was in ‘lactic city’ the last 100 as she held off the two Defenders down the stretch.


“I couldn’t be mad at this point so I just gave it everything I could,” she said. “I just hoped I got that girl at the line and I did.”


Also for NEB Emma Neuber was eighth in the shot put at 33-feet, 5-inches and took ninth in the javelin at 97-feet, 10-inches.


Lillie Maynard was 11th in the 400 in 1:02.56, with Lilah Hughes 21st in the 800 in 2:38.94.


Their 4x400 relay took 14th in 4:25.90.


The PIAA Championships are next weekend at Shippensburg University.


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PHOTO CAPTION: NEB’s Gracelyn Laudermilch runs in the 3200 on Saturday…PHOTOS BY CHRIS MANNING



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