GFS junior Sarah Walker checks her watch after a dual meet victory in the 800-meter run at the end of April. Leading a GFS girls team victory at the Pa. Indepdendent Schools Championships last Wednesday, Walker lowered her own 2015 state number one time to 2:08.03 (Photo by Tom Utescher)

GFS junior Sarah Walker checks her watch after a dual meet victory in the 800-meter run at the end of April. Leading a GFS girls team victory at the Pa. Indepdendent Schools Championships last Wednesday, Walker lowered her own 2015 state number one time to 2:08.03 (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

Coming off a sixth-place finish at the 2014 Pennsylvania Independent Schools Track and Field Championships, the girls of Germantown Friends School vaulted all the way to first in this year’s meet, which took place at the Hill School last Wednesday.

With 94 points in the girls’ team standings, the Tigers dethroned defending champ Episcopal Academy, which put up a total of 84.5. Episcopal, which had claimed its third straight Inter-Ac League title the previous weekend, came in ahead of Mercersburg Academy (75 points) and meet host Hill (62).

Germantown Academy placed sixth with 44 points, a banged-up Springside Chestnut Hill Academy squad scavenged 21 points for 12th place, and Penn Charter was one spot behind, with 15.5.

On the boys’ side, Haverford School added the Indy Schools championship to its 2015 Inter-Ac title, posting 92 points to runner-up Hill School’s 81. In third, with 67 points, was Germantown Academy, which was followed by Penn Charter (53) in sixth, the SCH boys (45) in seventh, and GFS (31) in the ninth spot. A total of 15 boys’ teams and 16 girls’ squads were in contention.

The highlight for the victorious Tiger ladies was the performance of their superb middle distance runner, junior Sarah Walker. Clocking in at 2:08.03 to win the 800 meter run, she broke her own meet record at the championships, and now owns the three best times in that event run by any Pennsylvania girl this year.

Walker also anchored the Tigers’ second-place 4 x 400 relay foursome, where she followed senior Brigit Anderson, freshman Taryn Barrett, and senior Taryn Milbourne. GFS was third in in the 4 x 800 with senior Arielle Frank, junior Eliza MacNeal, freshman Helen Ruger, and sophomore Griffin Kaulbach.

Individually, Milbourne won the 200 meters in 25.67 seconds, and Andersson was fourth in the 800. Their senior classmate, Imani Ross, won the high jump at 5’4” and also secured second place in the 300 meter hurdles.

In addition, Ross was finished fourth in the 100 meter hurdles, one place behind her talented freshman teammate, Teasha McKoy. McKoy was all over the place, snagging second in the shot put, coming in third in the javelin, and landing in sixth place in the long jump. The Tigers also got some throwing points from sophomore Niiki Williams, who placed fourth in the discus.

Where Walker left off in the 800, GA sophomore Abbe Goldstein got going in the longer footraces, winning both the 1600 meters (5:05.85) and the 3200 meters (11:18.22) for the Patriots. In the 3200 she topped the defending champion, George School junior Jerrica Bauer, by 14 seconds.

Goldstein had won both events at the Inter-Ac championships, and another GA girl who duplicated an Inter-Ac victory was junior Tesa Pribitkin, who won Wednesday’s pole vault competition at a height of 9’6”.

Patriots freshman Kelsey O’Hara finished third in the 400 meter dash, where another ninth-grader, Springside Chestnut Hill’s Haley Unthank, was sixth.

SCH received fourth place in the pole vault from sophomore Libby Jefferson and senior Jamie Costarino finished fifth in the 1600 and sixth in the 3200, but the highlight for the Blue Devils was junior Essence Walden’s victory in the long jump, where she travelled 17’2”.

The Penn Charter girls garnered most of their points from the triple jump, where senior Carolyn Brady placed second and sophomore Felicia Robinson was third.

Area boys who excelled on the track were SCH sprinter Alex Mollick and GA distance runner Sam Ritz, both seniors. Mollick took care of the short stuff, setting new meet records as he won the 100 (10.94) and the 200 (21.89). Ritz triumphed in the 1600 (4:17.53) and in the 3200 (9:55.36), and in the 800 he finished second, just two-hundredths of a second off of the winning time recorded by Malvern’s Billy McDevitt.

In the 1600, Germantown Friends received third place from sophomore Nick Dahl, fifth from junior Grayson Hepp, and sixth from senior Joe Newman. Another Tigers 12th-grader, Ahshar Williams, was third in the high jump.

Springside Chestnut Hill’s Mollick also saw action in the relays, anchoring the Blue Devils’ winning 4 x 100 combo (43.86). Ahead of him were sophomore Justin Telemaque, senior Sameir Madden, and junior Jordan Johnson. The Blue Devils ran second in the 4 x 800 with juniors Hunter Ferry and Will Concannon, senior Phil Giovinazzo, and sophomore Noah Chandler.

In addition to Ritz’s strong showing for GA, the Patriots saw junior Devon Goodman light it up in the hurdles, winning the 300 meter race (40.00), and coming in second in the 110.

Not surprisingly, Goodman was also called upon to perform relay duty for his team. Behind junior Stephen Combs, freshman Harrison Combs, and sophomore Frank Koons, Goodman ran a strong anchor leg to put the Pats in second place in the 4 x 400. GA sophomore Austin Takei, the pole vault champion in the Inter-Ac, finished third at Hill.

Penn Charter senior Ben Szuhaj, the 2014 Indy Schools titlist in the 3200 meters, place second to Ritz this time around, and he gave the Quakers fourth place in the 1600.

PC also got second-place showings in the shot put from junior Sean Foley and in the high jump from sophomore Akeem Blake, who came in fourth in the triple jump. Blake’s classmate Dylan Burnett finished third in the 110 meter hurdles.