by Tom Utescher

Scoring points in 14 of the 16 events at the Inter-Ac track and field championships last Saturday, the boys of Germantown Academy convincingly clinched the league title which they had last won in 2016. The Patriots posted 127 points to runner-up Malvern Prep’s 109.5, while Haverford School was third with 98 points and fourth place went to Episcopal Academy (88.5 points), which did an excellent job of hosting the event on its eight-lane track.

The 2017 champion, Penn Charter, was fifth this time around with 54 points, and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy accumulated 16 points on the day.

Patriots senior Kyle Garland, who will specialize in the decathlon at the University of Georgia, won the league’s George Greenwood Award for the third year in a row. The prize is presented to the top individual scorer at the championships, and Garland maxed out at 40 points by winning the high jump, long jump and both hurdles races. In the 110 meter high hurdles he set a new meet record, finishing in 13.85 seconds to beat the former mark of 13.90.

In general, GA excelled at everything that involved an athlete leaving the ground. In the five field events, the Pats edged out Malvern in total points, 48-46. They then widened the gap in the two hurdling events, outscoring the Friars there, 32-13.

“We had a point total in mind that we could take out of the field events, and when we went over that number we knew we were headed in the right direction,” remarked Germantown head coach Pete Jennings. “Then on the track, I said our goal was pretty much to cover our seeds, and knowing this competitive group of kids, I was confident that they were going to push past that.”

GA’s mentor had been feeling good about the team’s prospects since the beginning of the season, noting “to begin with, we had Kyle, and when you can feel you’re going to have 40 points pretty much locked up, that’s a great start.”

Actually, make that 50, since as Jennings added, “Caleb Johnson [a junior] was second in the pole vault indoors at States, and he’d been performing the same way outdoors.”

Johnson won his event by more than three feet, conquering a 15’10” bar to shatter the former meet record by one foot, four inches. Another Patriots 11th-grader, Olatide Abinusawa, picked up second place in the shot put and fifth in the triple jump for another 10 team points.

Kevin Lamb, also a junior, complemented Garland’s efforts by finishing second in both the long jump and the 300 meter intermediate hurdles, and he placed fourth in the 110 high hurdles.

“Kevin Lamb really stepped up – for us to go one-two in the long jump and then the hurdles was huge,” Jennings commented.

The coach said that he began to really feel confident about winning the championship after the 300 hurdles, where GA added another 18 points to its total with just four more events to go.

Penn Charter, which had graduated a strong class of sprinters and jumpers last spring, did not get its customary point pop out of the field events early in the day. One of the bright spots was the performance of sophomore Patrick Fehm, a Chestnut Hill native. Winning the triple jump and finishing fourth in the high jump, he accounted for half of his team’s 28 points in the fields. Receiving a second-place outcome in the high jump from junior Patrick Gabor and fourth place in the triple jump from senior Tzion Jones, Charter stood third among the teams coming onto the track.

Springside Chestnut Hill came out of the field events with four points from sophomore Carnell Kemp’s fourth-place throw in the shotput. In the hurdles, the Blue Devils had senior Earl Patterson take third place in the 110, and fifth in the 300. SCH’s last four points came courtesy of freshman Jack Leininger, who came in fifth in both the 800 and 1600 meter races.

The 800 and the 400 meter dash were the only events in which Germantown Academy did not score. The Main Line schools did well overall in the longer contests on the track, and 2017 Inter-Ac cross country champ Elias Lindgren of Episcopal, a senior headed for Williams College, was the winner in the 800, 1600 and 3200 meter runs.

GA did not come away emptyhanded from the two longest races, though.

“Distance was a little bit of a question mark for us,” Jennings related, “but we had two young guys come through with some points for us, Matt Sandifer and Robert DiDonato.”

DiDonato, a freshman, wound up third in the 3200 and fourth in the 1600.

Sandifer, a sophomore who was GA’s number one in cross country last fall, added fourth-place points in the 3200.

In shorter contests, Penn Charter received eight points from sophomore Marcellus Poland, thanks to fourth-place outcomes in the 100 and the 400.

Haverford School runners won these two races, as well as the 200.

The order of the team standings was not changed by the traditional final event of the meet, the 4 x 400 meter relay. Episcopal, Haverford and Malvern were the top three here, and Haverford won the two new relays that were added to the Inter-Ac program, the 4 x 100 and 4 x 800.

GA’s Jenning’s pointed out, “We got some unlooked-for points with second place in those new relays.”

The Patriots’ runner-up quartet in the first track event of the day, the 4 x 800, consisted of junior Dan Ritz, senior Brad Azizi, Sandifer, the sophomore, and his senior brother, Drew Sandifer. In the 4 x 100, it was Lamb, freshman Daelyn Nwaobasi, Johnson (the pole vault champ), and senior Michael Capone. Capone is team co-captain, along with Abinusawa.

“Michael Capone has really come on strong in the final weeks of the season,” Jennings said. “He just keeps dropping time.”

The senior finished second in the 200 meter dash, and third in the 100.

The GA coach said that when his Patriots crowded in for their final celebratory team huddle, “I went around that circle and I looked into the eyes of so many people who contributed to winning this championship. It definitely was a team achievement.”

MEET RESULTS (* meet record)

100 Meters
1. HS Daiyaan Hawkins 10 11:03
2. MP Kevin Boyle 12 11:21
3. GA Michael Capone 12 11:32
4. PC Marcellus Poland 10 11:42
5. HS Caleb Reed 10 11:47
6. EA Malcolm Folk 9 11:47

200 Meters
1. HS Daiyaan Hawkins 10 22.15
2. GA Michael Capone 12 22.36
3. MP Kevin Boyle 12 22.38
4. EA Jack Bush 11 22.43
5. PC Patrick Gabor 22.75
6. HS Dan Whaley 11 22.77

400 Meters
1. HS Dan Whaley 11 48.90
2. EA Jack Bush 11 49.85
3. EA Chris Zimmerman 49.97
4. PC Marcellus Poland 10 50.03
5. EA Chris Bassett 12 52.29
6. PC Matt Marshall 9 53.92

800 Meters
1. EA Elias Lindgren 12 1:57.08
2. HS Mark Gregory 12 1:58.95
3. MP Peter Borger 12 1:59.43
4. HS Khalil Brand 11 2:04.48
5. SC Jack Leininger 9 2:05.25
6. MP Eric Villano 10 2:06.68

1600 Meters
1. EA Elias Lindgren 12 4:20.96
2. MP Peter Borger 12 4:25.96
3. HS Will Merhige 12 4:31.23
4. GA Robert DiDonato 9 4:41.13
5. SC Jack Leininger 9 4:46.83
6. GA Drew Sandifer 4:54.64

3200 Meters
1. EA Elias Lindgren 12 9:42.81
2. MP Peter Borger 12 9:50.64
3. GA Robert DiDonato 9 10:05.49
4. GA Matt Sandifer 10 10:06.94
5. MP Zachary Brill 8 10:11.40
6. MP Colin Hess 9 10:33.75

110 Meter Hurdles
1. GA Kyle Garland 12 13.85 *
2. MP Sebasti Costantini 11 15:04
3. SC Earl Patterson 12 15.94
4. GA Kevin Lamb 11 16.02
5. HS Ben Stallworth 12 16.32
6. MP David Bolles 12 16:46

300 Meter Hurdles
1. GA Kyle Garland 12 38.34
2. GA Kevin Lamb 11 40.91
3. HS Caleb Reed 10 41.13
4. MP Kyle Leonard 11 42.94
5. SC Earl Patterson 12 43.17
6. PC Myles Sams 11 43.87

High Jump
1. GA Kyle Garland 12 6’4”
2. PC Patrick Gabor 11 6’2”
3. MP David Bolles 12 6’2”
4. PC Patrick Fehm 10 5’10”
T5. EA Michael Agbeye 10 5’8”
T5. MP Sebasti Costantini 11 5’8”

Long Jump
1. GA Kyle Garland 12 23’6.25”
2. GA Kevin Lamb 11 22’3.75”
3. MP David Bolles 12 21’9.75”
4. HS Tyler Seward 9 21’8”
5. EA Jack Bush 11 21’5”
6. MP Michael Shaak 12 21’1”

Triple Jump
1. PC Patrick Fehm 10 42’8.75”
2. MP Michael Shaak 12 42’7”
3. MP Ryan Rosenberger 9 41’11.25”
4. PC Tzion Jones 12 40’8.25”
5. GA Olatide Abinusawa 11 40’5.25”
6. HS Chris Sims 9 40’1”

Pole Vault
1. GA Caleb Johnson 11 15’10” *
2. MP Sean Oates 12 12’6”
3. MP David Bolles 12 12’6”
4. MP Sebasti Costantini 11 11’0”
5. EA Peter Lim 9 10’0”
6. PC Zach Raphael 12 10’0”

Shot Put
1. EA Adam Klein 12 51’7”
2. GA Olatide Abinusawa 11 50’9.25”
3. HS Petey Lemmon 11 49’10”
4. SC Carnell Kemp 10 48’3.25”
5. EA Matt Dade 11 45’5.75”
6. PC Casey Nicastro 12 43’10”