by Tom Utescher
Last Wednesday, two girls track and field teams from the area delivered a one-two punch at the Pa. Independent Schools Championships at the Hill School, where Springside Chestnut Hill Academy won the 2013 title by scoring 98 team points, and Germantown Friends School was runner up with 91.
Germantown Friends has ruled supreme within the Friends Schools League for many moons, but SCH only started to become a factor in Girls Inter-Ac League competition within the last several years. On May 11, Springside Chestnut Hill finished second at the league championships, just one point behind Episcopal Academy (125-124).
Last Wednesday, the broader mix of teams at the Independent Schools meet wound up costing Episcopal more than the SCH Blue Devils; EA came in third behind GFS, with 87 points. Farther back in fourth place was Germantown Academy, whose total of 55 points put them ahead of Mercersburg Academy, with 46.5. Penn Charter, with 16 points, placed 10th out of the 14 girls’ teams, which came almost entirely from Southeastern Pennsylvania. The exceptions were Mercersburg, from Central Pa., and the boys’ team from Kiski Prep, which is located near Pittsburgh.
In the boys’ competition last Wednesday, Malvern Prep was able to reverse the top two places from the previous weekend’s Inter-Ac Championships, taking the Indy Schools title with 113.5 points while Penn Charter put up 86. The MVP of the Inter-Ac meet, PC’s Daryl Worley, is primarily a football player, and he did not participate in Wednesday’s affair. Four days earlier at the Inter-Ac’s, he had won the 100, 200, and 400 meter events for the third straight year.
At Hill School a third Inter-Ac team, Haverford School, finished third with 54 points, but not far behind was fourth-place GFS, with 47. Germantown Academy (without injured distance star Ben Ritz) was sixth (43.5 points), two points shy of meet host Hill. In 11th place, with 16 points, were the boys of Springside Chestnut Hill.
On the girls’ side, there were some outstanding performances by freshmen from area teams. Two ninth-graders accounted for 76 of SCH’s 98 total points; Brooklynn Broadwater won the 100 and 200 meters and both hurdling events, and classmate Julia Reeves won the long jump and triple jump and was runner-up in both the 100 and 200.
Setting a new meet record of 2:14.52, Sarah Walker of Germantown Friends won the 800 ahead of Inter-Ac champ Kerry Lawlor, a Germantown Academy junior, while GA ninth-grader Paige Kupsky complemented her Inter-Ac victory in the 3200 with another gold medal at the Indy meet.
The Blue Devils picked up third-place points from senior Drew Davis in the 400 meters, and SCH came in second to Episcopal in the 4 x 100 meter relay, with the Devils’ quartet consisting of Calder McNeil, Bridget Lipp, Essence Walden and Singley Risico.
GFS sophomore Taryn Milbourne came in third in both the 100 and 200 meters (with a new school record in the 200) and, as expected, the Tigers performed very well in the longer footraces, culling 31 points from the 800 and 1600 alone. Tenth-grader Brigit Anderson placed third in the 800 race that Walker won, while in the 1600, senior Eliza Lukens-Day triumphed by more than 20 seconds and GFS also picked up fourth and sixth place thanks to junior Alsion Love and senior Isabel Goldstein.
Another rising GFS distance star, freshman Caitlin Harrity, was third in the 3200, and the Tigers placed second in two relays, the 4 x 400 (Anderson/Milbourne/Love/Lukens-Day) and the 4 x 800 (Cece Dye/Arielle Frank/Lucy Guida/Alice Wistar).
In several of the field events, GFS had a golden opportunity to pick up points against the Inter-Ac schools. Their league meet format doesn’t include the discus and javelin throws, which are routine events for the Friends Schools League. In addition, the pole vault is not a forte this year for the Inter-Ac teams, and currently SCH doesn’t even have a pole vault pit on campus.
Here, GFS senior Eleanor Thompson came up big for her team, producing 18 points by winning the pole vault and taking second in the javelin.
As anticipated, Germantown Academy junior Megan McCloskey won the high jump, while her older sister Kiernan finished fourth there, and second in the triple jump. In addition to Kupsky and Lawlor’s exploits on the track, the Patriots pulled 14 points out of the 100 meter hurdles, as senior Fran Sweeney placed second and sophomore Claudia Mezey came in third.
Most of Penn Charter’s points were the result of a second-place finish in the 1600 by senior Catie Skinner, and a third-place effort by freshman Willow Tierno in the pole vault.
Although the PC boys were missing Worley, another prime football recruit, Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame) performed at Hill School and repeated as champion in the shot put. Sophomore Ben Szuhaj won for the Quakers in both the 1600 and 3200, and PC also prevailed in the 4 x 400 relay with James Biggs-Frazier, Sean Joseph, Charlie Hoyt, and Tre Williams, and in the 4 x 800 with Jamir Brown, Hoyt, Williams, and Matt Sullivan.
Individually, Biggs-Frazier won the 100 meter dash, and Charter received third-place finishes from Williams in the 800 and from Scott Mason in the 3200. All three are juniors.
Germantown Friends showed that it’s not just a force in distance events by winning the 4 x 100 relay in school-record time with the quartet of Jordan May, Uriah West, Dean Whitaker, and Ahshar Williams. May also won individually in the 400 meters, and West, a fellow senior, was third in the 100. Their classmate Jonathan Bailey was the runner-up in the 300 meter hurdles, also setting a new GFS standard in the process.
A number of fifth-place finishes in various areas helped the Tigers round out their team total. The Friends schools still had their own league championships ahead of them, so some of the top athletes for GFS were not entered in all of their regular events.
For Germantown Academy, the elder Ritz brother may have been out of action, but sophomore Sam Ritz won the 800 meters, and senior Earl Edwards was second in the 100. The Patriots received a one-two finish from their potent pole vault pair, junior Matt Miller and senior Jared Whitman. Freshman Devon Goodman chipped in five meet points by placing fourth in the 110 meter hurdles and sixth in the 300 hurdles.
Springside Chestnut Hill drew half of its team total from the two hurdling events, with senior Jamil Poole coming in third in the 300, and fifth in the 110 meters. Junior Graham Allen finished fourth in the 800 for the Blue Devils.