by Tom Utescher
The historic and expansive Penn Relay Carnival, an iconic track and field event, was staged for the 122nd consecutive year last week, and runners with area ties excelled in individual and relay competitions.
In the 400 meter hurdles and the 3000 meter run, young women from Springside Chestnut Hill Academy and Germantown Academy produced the best times of any athletes from the state of Pennsylvania.
The SCH girls 4 x 400 relay, which ended the winter indoor season as the state’s fastest quartet, won the Philadelphia Academic division and then finished third in the Philadelphia Area Championship. GA’s boys 4 x 400 relay team broke a 40-year-old school record down at Penn.
In the middle school races that were staged on the first morning of the gathering (Thursday), the boys of Chestnut Hill’s John Story Jenks School placed first in their race, turning in a time of 51.91 seconds in the Philadelphia 7th & 8th Grade Small Schools 4 x 100 relay.
Brooklynn Broadwater, an SCH senior who will be running SEC track at the University of Tennessee, was the defending Penn Relays champion in the 400 meter hurdles. She had recently been clocked at two seconds under her winning time from 2015, and while she did not hit that figure at Penn last weekend, her time of 1:00.60 put her fourth behind North Carolina’s Anna Cockrell (who won in 57.38 seconds), and hurdlers from Jamaica and Virginia.
Also finishing fourth in her race, the 3000, GA’s Abbe Goldstein not only ran the fastest Penn Relays time of any Pennsylvanian this year, but in any year on record. A junior who had a breakthrough indoor season, Goldstein set the new Keystone State standard at Penn by finishing in 9:33.96, behind two Virginians and a competitor from Canada.
The winning figure here, 9:19.91, belonged to 19-year-old Weini Kelati, who won the Foot Locker Cross Country national championship last fall.
Goldstein’s schoolmate, senior Maggie Hallahan (U. of Vermont) was 14th in Thursday’s 3000, and her time of 9:52.09 was a new PR by 12 seconds.
SCH’s Broadwater was also in action as the anchor runner for the Blue Devils’ 4 x 400 relay, which finished the indoor season with the fastest time of any Pennsylvania quartet this year. Ahead of her in the order were sophomores Allie Kitchell and Haley Unthank and freshman Bee Adams.
Without a real push from behind in the Philadelphia Academic division at the Penn Relays, the foursome won in 3:55.03, a full 10 seconds ahead of runner-up Villa Joseph Marie of the Catholic Academies League. That effort earned the Blue Devils a berth in the Philadelphia Area Championship race late Saturday afternoon.
There, the Blue Devils became reacquainted with Penn Wood High School, a team with whom they dueled throughout the indoor season. Penn Wood won the state indoor meet, but SCH then recorded a Pa. number one time at the New Balance Indoor Nationals. Last weekend the momentum swung back to Penn Wood, which won in 3:46.73 with former SCH runner Terri Turner (now a junior) on the anchor lap. SCH came in third in 3:48.56, behind another PIAA power, Cheltenham High (3:46.81).
The boys baton bunch from Germantown Academy also excelled down at Penn, winning the Inter-Ac League 4 x 400 event in 3:26.09, breaking the 1976 GA school record of 3:27.64. The Patriot foursome had sophomores in the lead-off and anchor spots; K.J. Cartwright and Kyle Garland.
Junior Alejandro Gonzalez performed the second leg, and senior Devon Goodman handled the third lap. GA coach Pete Jennings related that among the crowd cheering on the Pats were members of the University of Pennsylvania’s own basketball team; Goodman will be playing with them next season.
Penn Charter (3:32.62) finished third in the Inter-Ac race behind Haverford School, and the SCH boys were fourth in 3:35.28.