by Tom Utescher
On the final day of May, the Germantown Friends School Tigers wrapped up a busy month of track and field competition with an appearance at the 8th Annual John Hay Memorial Pennsylvania Distance Festival, held at Henderson High School in West Chester. Overall, the gathering featured a strong field, with some events mixing high school athletes in with older runners, including former collegiate standouts.
Three GFS runners turned in performances that met the MileSplit U.S. network’s national elite silver standard. First up, senior Jordan May ran a time of 49.39 seconds to win the 400 meter dash. May, who will attend George Mason University, later finished fifth in the 200 meters.
Freshman Sarah Walker set a new PR by four seconds in the women’s elite 800 meter run, where most of the athletes were former college competitors now racing for running clubs in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. Crossing the line in 2:08.55, the ninth-grader placed 11th overall, just one place and 0.11 seconds behind the top high school finisher, Tatnall School senior Reagan Anderson, a 4:44.59 miler who has accepted a scholarship to Vanderbilt University.
One place ahead of Anderson, with a time of 2:08.40, was GFS assistant coach Kelsey Rose, a 2012 graduate of St. Joseph’s University who now competes for the Jenkintown Running Center.
The third silver standard performer for GFS at Henderson was senior Lyle Wistar, who came in 14th in the men’s elite mile with a time of 4:22.89. Wistar, also a cross country standout, is headed for the University of Pennsylvania.
In the same event, Germantown Academy sophomore Sam Ritz placed second with a time of 4:11.73, and his senior brother Ben (Columbia University) was third in 4:13.84. The winner, Carlisle High School sophomore Zach Brehm (4:09.27) is the 2013 PIAA gold medalist in the 800 meters.
All of the top three finishers obviously qualified for the national silver standard, as did Penn Charter sophomore Ben Szuhaj in the 3000 meter run. He was second overall in 8:51.10, and Quakers junior Charlie Hoyt was fourth on time in the 800 meters (1:58.16).
With her performance in the women’s 800, Germantown Friends’ Walker established a new school record, and earlier, at the Friends Schools League championships on May 18, she had set a new league mark at that distance with a time of 2:17.57. This truly promising ninth-grader also notched a new school and league record in the 400 meters, at 56.97.
The Tigers did away with a number of old standards this spring, both in their school annals and in their league. May, the senior sprinter, set an FSL meet record of 49.42 in the 400, while at an April invitational he turned in a PR of 48.88 to establish a new benchmark for the Tigers’ program. Classmate Jonathan Bailey crafted a new best for GFS in the 300 meter hurdles when he was timed in 40.44 at the Pa. Independent Schools Championships on May 15. In one of the relays at the Indy championships, the 4 x 100, a new school record of 43.86 was set by May, Uriah West, Dean Whitaker, and Ahshar Williams.
In the mixed one mile run at last Friday’s meet, GFS senior Eliza Lukens-Day (Brown University) broke new ground for her school as she clocked in at 5:04.23. This was a true measured mile, extending just over 1609 meters, and earlier in the season Lukens-Day also upped the ante for Tigers runners in the 1600 meters, setting a new league mark at the same time with a 5:00.35 on May 18.
Lukens-Day became the fastest 3200 meter runner this spring both for Germantown Friends (10:45.75) and the FSL (11:07.65 at Champs), and she also carved out a new number for the Tigers (10:07.78) in the 3000 meter run.
Meanwhile, sophomore Taryn Milbourne held up the sprinters’ end of the bargain, making new entries in the school record books in both the 100 and 200 meters. In a dual meet she did the 100 in 12.68 seconds, and in the Indy Championships she went 26.14 at the longer distance.
At the Friends’ meet in mid-May, senior Eleanor Thompson’s 9’6” ascent in the pole vault reached new heights for the league, but a month earlier she had already achieved a school record at 10 feet even. In another April dual meet, she pushed the long jump mark for the Tigers’ program out to 15’7”. The old GFS record in the triple jump also fell, as Thompson’s classmate, Noni Davis, traveled 34’6.75” at the Independent Schools gathering.
In addition, the female Tigers worked together to set new school marks in four different relays. Carrying the baton to a new FSL and school record in the 4 x 400 were sophomore Brigit Andersson, Lukens-Day, Milbourne, and Walker, who finished in 4:02.98 at the league championships.
The same four athletes, albeit in different race order, extended the limits for GFS in the 4 x 800 (9:36.07), and in the distance medley relay (11:55.99). They posted their DMR time at the Penn Relays, going faster than any Pennsylvania quartet ever and finishing second overall to a foursome from Jamaica.
For a new top Tiger time in the 4 x 200, sophomore Greta Meyer joined Andersson, Milbourne, and Walker to fashion a figure of 1:49.12.