by Tom Utescher
“Oh, what a tangled Westtown weave!” (apologies to Sir Walter Scott)
For the unsuspecting visitor, it’s not a simple matter to maneuver through the Westtown School campus to the track and field facility, but once the bus containing the Germantown Friends boys and girls teams eventually arrived at the oval last Tuesday, the visiting Tigers had no problem navigating the quarter-mile loop.
Both GFS teams raised their Friend School League dual meet records to 3-0, the boys winning 115-34, and the girls prevailing 113-34. The Westtown Moose emerged at 1-3 in the FSL for both genders.
“It was certainly a cool meet for us; we ran some very capable stuff,” remarked Tigers head coach Rob Hewitt. “We didn’t really load anybody up today with their usual number of events, and we didn’t need to because we’ve got some really good depth right now.”
As an example, he noted, “Our fifth-best girl on the team in the 300 hurdles did 52 seconds today.”
Hewitt has the numbers to develop depth in the program. There are 92 boys and girls out for the sport this spring, well over a quarter of Germantown’s upper school population. The GFS skipper points out that an already-distinguished coaching crew has two new additions this season. Maalik Reynolds, a former University of Pennsylvania high jumper who in currently enrolled at the Wharton School, has achieved a personal best of seven feet, 5.75 inches in the event. In 2011, he took first place both at the Penn Relays and the Pan American Junior Athletics Championships.
Caitlin Stuetz is a Cheltenham High grad who went on to Shippensberg University, where she competed in the 60, 100, and 400-meter hurdles and won five titles in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. She was named overall MVP of the 2013 PSAC meet, where Shippensburg earned its fourth straight team championship.
At Westtown last week the GFS boys swept the top three places in five different individual events. In the 300 hurdles, senior Issac Zukin was the winner (44.7 seconds) and was backed up by (in order) sophomore Jack Lentz and junior Ken Zhu, while in the 800 meters, victorious junior Jad Blaik (2:16.6) was followed by senior Ethan Jones and junior Gordon Goldstein.
Tigers senior Peter Jarka-Sellers won the longest track event, the 3200 meters (10:31.6), while the rest of the points were harvested by freshman Colin Reilly and sophomore Ellis Maddox.
In the jumps and throws, Germantown went one-two-three in the pole vault with juniors Jared Lazorko (9’0”) and Aaron Brill and sophomore Adam Saah, and in the shot put with junior Tunde Sogo (33’7.5”), senior Andrew Wilson, and freshman Ishmael Bynum.
The Tigers claimed first and second place in two other field events, courtesy of sophomore Jake Schwartz (35’2.25”) and Zukin in the triple jump, and Lazorko (99’10”) and Sogo in the discus. Senior Ahshar Williams won the high jump at 5’4”, and second-place points were earned in the long jump by freshman Isaac Myran in the javelin by senior Giulian McFarland, who was taking a break from his customary track events.
On the track, the Tigers delivered a one-two punch in the 1600, where sophomore Nick Dahl’s winning effort (4:44.8) was backed up by Riley, the freshman. This was one of several instances when Coach Hewitt had one of his standouts serve as a pacer for a developing young runner.
The 200 and 400-meter races were won by senior Julian Dorsey (23.2) and sophomore Eli Schwemler (53.5), respectively, with GFS senior Mathias Hammer nailing down third place in the 400.
Westtown’s two wins on the day came in the 100-meter dash and the 110 high hurdles. In the sprint, Bill Wang (11.5) came in ahead of Germantown Friends’ Williams and freshman Liem Buckley, and in the hurdles Jerry Peng (16.9) won for the Moose, and was followed by Lentz and Zhu of the visiting team.
Germantown took first place in all three relays. The Tigers ran unopposed by Westtown in the 4 x 400, where the fastest of three GFS foursomes consisted of Schwemler, Buckley, senior Noah Kulak, and sophomore Ethan Addis (4:01.9). In the 4 x 800, Maddox teamed up with fellow sophomores Jacob Newsham and Daniel Stassen and with senior anchor Joe Newmann to finish first in 9:08.0.
The Tigers turned in a winning time of 45.6 seconds in the 4 x 100, where the line-up consisted of Schwemler, Dorsey, Myran, and Buckley.
The GFS girls were taking one of their relay races quite seriously. At the Penn Relays the previous week, they had been looking to establish a new time standard for the Friends School League in the 4 x 400. However, their performance at Franklin Field felt well short of the mark of 4:01 that had been recorded by Abington Friends.
Speaking of senior sprinter Taryn Milbourne, Hewitt explained that at Westtown, “We took Taryn off the 100 [meter dash] and had her do the 4 x 4 because we really wanted to go after the league record.”
She anchored the foursome behind freshman Taryn Barrett, junior Sarah Walker, and senior Brigit Andersson. They demolished the AFS figure, winning handily in 3:57.0.
The Tigers also had senior Kelsey Knowles, Milbourne, Barrett and sophomore Emily Kastenberg win the 4 x 100 in 51.8 seconds, while senior Arielle Frank, sophomore Griffin Kaulbach, junior Caitlin Harrity, and sophomore Ellie Zack captured first place in the 4 x 800 with a time of 11:40.3.
Walker, who once again has been atop the national rankings in the open 800 meters this spring, enjoyed herself in a pair of events earlier in the day before the concluding 4 x 4. Pacing freshman Helen Ruger in the 800, she won in 2:25.9, pulling the ninth-grader along to a time of 2:27.2 that netted second place.
Walker also competed in the long jump for the first time, and despite giving away almost a foot at the start of her best leap, she travelled 15’9.75” to win the event. The runner-up was her freshman teammate, Portia McKoy.
There were six other individual events where the GFS girls produced one-two finishes. In the hurdles, Teasha McKoy (Portia’s twin sister) won the 100 (16.9 seconds) and the 300 (51.1), with senior Zoe Albano-Oritt and sophomore Caroline Caraballo placing second, respectively, in those two contests. In the longest footraces, first and second in the 1600 belonged to junior Alice Wistar (5:50.3) and freshman Elise Hocking, while in the 3200 Hocking (13:51.7) arrived at the line just ahead of junior Ella Komita Moussa.
In the pole vault, it was Germantown’s Knowles winning at 7’0” ahead of sophomore Margaret Maguire, and in the discus Teasha McKoy won (102’0.5”) and sophomore Nikki Williams was second.
Germantown Friends placed first in five other events, starting with Teasha McKoy’s fourth victory of the day, a 35’2.5” heave in the shot put. Her sister, Portia, won the 200 meters (27.6 seconds), Barrett took the 100 meter dash (13.0), and Andersson finished first in the 400 (61.0). Williams, the sophomore, won the javelin at 81’7”.
Williams placed third in the shot, while junior Sophie Bunson was third in the jav.
Westtown’s two victories belonged to Naomi Jimenez, the best post player on the school’s basketball team. The junior high-jumped five feet even for first place there, and she also won the triple jump, covering 31’8.75”. GFS collected second and third place in the triple, thanks to Portia McKoy and senior Alison Biester, and Milbourne was runner-up in the high jump.
“I was really happy with the 4 x 4, since a couple of those girls did two other events before that,” Hewitt commented. “There’s certainly room [for improvement] in that relay if we run it with everybody fresh.”
Pleased with where his teams are overall, he pointed out “This year we reemphasized the dual meets in our schedule. We got away from doing so many invitationals, where we were just chasing numbers. I think our program has really taken a jump forward this spring.”