by Tom Utescher
Most of the Inter-Ac League track and field franchises assembled in Chestnut Hill last Saturday morning, and a few non-league squads joined in at the annual Springside Chestnut Hill Academy Relays. The traditionally all-male meet gives teams a chance to make some final adjustments before launching into the regular-season dual meet schedule.
SCH senior star Dustin Wilson, Pennsylvania’s top cross country runner last fall, was coming off an indoor season which saw him win the state championships in the 3000-meter run, posting a time that was the second-fastest in the nation at that juncture. Later, he placed fourth in the 5000 meter event at the New Balance Indoor Nationals in New York.
Not surprisingly, he won easily in the open (non-relay) 1600 meter race last Saturday, cruising in at four minutes, 32.6 seconds ahead of rivals from Friends Central and Episcopal Academy, and fourth-place David Kotch of Penn Charter.
In the only relay that is part of the official Inter-Ac League repertoire, the 4 x 400 meters, the PC Quakers lost a little time on the second baton exchange but still won the second heat of the event. The first three legs were run by Sean Joseph, Brennan Mellor, and Devin Smith, and on the anchor lap junior standout Daryl Worley passed Haverford School’s Jeff Bocobo on the final turn.
Thanks to Worley and the tenacious Bocobo, the times put up by the Quakers (3:29.8) and Fords (3:30.3) were the two fastest overall, while Episcopal rose up out of the first heat to garner third place. In different heats, SCH and Germantown Academy each came in fourth.
GA fared much better in the two longest baton battles, the 4 x 800 and the distance medley relay (1200/400/800/1600 meters). In the first of those races, the Patriots won in 8:41.16 thanks to Joe Korth, Dan Chen, Devin Cody, and Max Huang-Hobbs. While SCH did not enter the four-by-eight, Penn Charter was the runner up, with a time of 8:41.1 put up by Jamir Brown, Hansell Stedman, Matt Sullivan, and Charlie Hoyt.
Springside Chestnut Hill, a force in the distance medley for the last several years, graduated most of the members of its line-up, and did not field a foursome this year. Victorious GA established a new meet record of 10:51.6, with Nick Meloro, Nelson Floyd, and brothers Sam and Ben Ritz breaking not only the old meet standard of 11:03, but also a GA school record (11:01) dating back to 1985.
When it came up to straight-up sprinting, the Inter-Ac schools could not keep up with Girard College, which won the open 100 meters, as well as the 4 x 100 (44.8 seconds) and 4 x 200 (1:32.9) relays. PC’s Eric Neefe was third in the 100 (at 11.9 seconds) and the Quakers were second in both relays. In the 4 x 100, Charter’s Bruce Smalley, Devon Smith, Neefe, and Shaquan Lewis finished in 46.5 seconds, and in the 4 x 200 a figure of 1:35.0 was recorded by Smalley, Neefe, James Biggs-Frazier and Worley.
SCH was fourth in the 4 x 100 with Alan Cooper, Reuben Treatman, Frank Jackson, and Dan Trulear, and the Devils also finished fourth in the 4 x 200 with a foursome consisting of Cooper, Treatman, Rodrigo Rodriguez, and Jackson.
The meet hosts did better in the sprint medley (400/200/200/800 meters). SCH posted a second-place time of 3:39.9 courtesy of Graham Allen, Mike Concannon, Trulear, and Wilson. Wilson ran a 1:57.9 split, passing Penn Charter’s Tre Williams coming out of the final turn. For PC (3:46.1), Williams was preceded by Worley, Joseph, and Mellor.
Haverford won the sprint medley in 3:36.6, a new meet record.
In the field events portion of the meet, Penn Charter’s Abdul-Kareem Muhammad won the triple jump with a leap of 39’2.5”, and placed third in the high jump. In the latter event, both Muhammad and runner up Austin Williams (also from PC) both cleared the bar at six feet even, while the winner, at 6’5”, was the lone Malvern Prep athlete in attendance, Tom Pitt.
Local talent ruled in the shot put, with Penn Charter getting first and third place from Michael McGlinchey (45’8.5”) and Tyler Mercer (41’4”), while second went to SCH’s Chris Howard (43’2.5”). The Blue Devils’ Jackson placed third in the triple jump (37’3.5”), and he was the runner-up in the long jump (19’3”), where the winning leap of 21’2.5” belonged to Girard College and third place went to Alex Palladino of Penn Charter (17’11.75”).
GA’s Matt Miller took top honors in the pole vault, peaking at 10 feet even, while SCH’s Terrence Jones wound up fourth (7’6”).