by Tom Utescher

After successful showings at the Pennsylvania indoor track championships on March 1, elite runners from Germantown Friends, Germantown Academy, and Springside Chestnut Hill performed on an even grander stage last weekend, participating in the New Balance® Indoor Nationals at the storied Armory in New York City.

GA senior Sam Ritz, the state indoor champ and record holder in the mile, finished third in the Big Apple. In doing so, he actually bettered his performance from the state meet, finishing in 4:08.67 as opposed to 4:09.56 two weeks earlier.

In a photo finish back in the Pennsylvania meet, GFS junior Sarah Walker placed second in the 800 meters to Friends Central freshman Gabrielle Wilkinson. In the New Balance championships she was the top finisher from the Keystone State, coming in fourth in 2:08.97 and improving upon her run at the Pennsylvania meet by more than half-a-second. Wilkinson was sixth, in 2:10.65.

Walker also earned a fourth-place finish in a relay event, anchoring the Tigers’ sprint medley team. Freshman Portia McKoy led it off, and seniors Taryn Milbourne and Brigit Andersson ran the second and third legs for Germantown, which clocked in at 4:02.99.

In the boys’ two-mile, Tigers 10th-grader Nick Dahl ran a time 9:21.45, which landed him 19th overall, and second among the sophomores in the event.

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy placed 13th in the Emerging Elite division of the boys’ 4 x 200 meter relay, thanks to juniors Nick Rowland and Jordan Johnson and seniors Phil Giovinazzo and Alex Mollick. The finishers were closely spaced, with the Blue Devils earning a time of 1:31.94 while the winning figure was 1:30.59.

After turning in a stellar performance in the State meet at the beginning of the month, the SCH girls had a tough go at Nationals. They’d placed first and second at States in the 4 x 400 and the 4 x 200, but they had to scrap their relay plans for New York when one runner dropped off the team.

The Pennsylvania champion in the 400 meters, Blue Devils junior Brooklynn Broadwater, was seeded first at the Armory, but was slotted into a slow preliminary heat.

Without a fast field pushing her, she won her heat but produced only the 10th best time overall, leaving her out of the final field of eight runners. Her time at States had been 54.73; Nationals was won with a 54.57.

There was better news in the Emerging Elites division of the 400 meters. Springside Chestnut Hill freshman Allie Kitchell ran a 58.77, which made her the top Pennsylvanian and fifth overall. She had been part of both of the SCH relay teams at the state championships.