by Tom Utescher
The boys’ track team at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy will host their first major home meet of the outdoor season this Saturday morning, as most of their fellow Inter-Ac League members and several non-league teams turn up on Willow Grove Ave. for the 13th Annual SCH Relays.
For the Blue Devils themselves, some noteworthy performances at the end of the indoor track season should serve as a good springboard into the outdoor campaign.
At the beginning of March, a 4 x 200-meter relay team entered by SCH took 12th place at the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association Indoor State Championship at Penn State University. Senior Craig Alleyne, junior Alex Mollick, and sophomores Nick Rowland and Jordan Johnson completed the race in 1:32.20, a time that was just 16/100 of a second off of the school record in the event.
At the New Balance Indoor Nationals in New York City later in the month, Rowland, Johnson, and Molleck were joined by senior anchor Graham Allen as Springside Chestnut Hill clocked with a time of 3:35.90 in the sprint medley relay, good for fifth place in the Emerging Elites division.
Allen, who turned in a 1:56 split in the 800-meter leg of the New York race, will be the Blue Devils’ top contender in the open 800 during the outdoor season.
Alleyne and Rowland both play baseball in the spring so they won’t be running in regular interscholastic meets, but they could return to the track for the outdoor national championships, an event for which the team qualified thanks to its indoor performance.
Although a junior, Mollick is a first-year runner, while Johnson was on the varsity squad last year as a freshman. Johnson will be running the 100 and 200 this spring, along with Sameir Madden, a junior who began running track last year. Coach Paul Hines also has his eye on a pair of freshman sprinters, Adam Price-Butler and Justin Telemaque.
SCH’s skipper was happy to see the versatility displayed by a more seasoned performer, Frank Jackson, in a practice meet with Penn Charter last month. The senior placed first in the 110 and 300 hurdles and the long jump, and second in the triple jump.
Sophomore Bruce Howard has experience at those two jumps, and will train for the high jump, as well. In addition, Hines has two new seniors who are going give the high jump a try after finishing up their high school basketball careers at SCH.
Hines doesn’t think it will be a particularly strong year for the Inter-Ac in the shot put, but he feels that sophomore Bill Donahue has the potential to make an impression here.
The Blue Devils’ mentor will get a better feel for the strengths around the league at this weekend’s SCH relays, with every team save Malvern Prep scheduled to attend. The only relay officially run in the Inter-Ac season is the 4 x 400; Hines has Allen, Mollick and junior Phil Giovinazzo inked in for this one, with the fourth spot still up for grabs.
The team is excited about the addition of new assistant coach Gerald Howard, a 1992 graduate of the old Chestnut Hill Academy. Howard was an outstanding sprinter who set a league record in the 200 meters that held up for 17 years, and he went on to compete for the University of Virginia. Later, he lived in Maryland and Texas before returning to the Philadelphia area, and he now has a daughter in kindergarten at SCH.