by Tom Utescher

Back in the 1990’s, the boys’ track team at what is now Springside Chestnut Hill Academy accomplished the rare feat of winning the Inter-Ac League’s championship meet without scoring a single point in the three longest races, the 800, 1600 and 3200 meter events.

Last Saturday, the SCH girls’ team followed the same scenario. Pulling no points out of the distance events also making do without any points in the pole vault and the newly introduced 4 x 800 relay, the Blue Devils still clinched the league crown comfortably. SCH outscored runner-up Penn Charter, 126-101, to win the first Inter-Ac title for the girls’ program.

Rounding out a powerful performance by area teams, Germantown Academy captured third place with 91 points. After these three came meet host Episcopal Academy (79 points), the Academy of Notre Dame (75), Baldwin School (16) and Agnes Irwin (six points).

To win the way SCH did, you’ve got to have impressive point production in the sprints and the jumps, and that the Blue Devils had. Six different Devils each scored 14 or more points in individual events, starting with senior Allie Kitchell. The Towson University recruit won the award for outstanding female performer at the meet after winning the 200 and 400 meter races, placing fourth in the shot put and finally anchoring SCH’s winning 4 x 400 relay team.

Another performer in the winning relay, senior Haley Unthank (Georgia Tech), was the runner-up in both the 200 and 400. Junior Olabisi Adams gave Springside Chestnut Hill victories in the long jump and the 300 meter intermediate hurdles. Her classmate Nayah Moore was having some trouble with shin splints, but still came through with a win in the high jump, second place in the triple jump and sixth in the long jump.

Some of the youngest members of the squad were also important contributors. Freshman Ava Roberts was the runner-up in both the shot put and the long jump, while also placing fourth in the triple jump. Fellow ninth-grader Esther Lamb, a Norwood Fontbonne Academy graduate, garnered second-place points in the 110 meter high hurdles and later took third in the 300 hurdles.

SCH head coach Maurice Broadwater recalled, “I actually had Ava on my club team when she was six years old. She’s strong in the throws and today she totally surprised me in the triple jump. Esther is a soccer player, but she has also run some AAU track. She has a big heart and she holds up under pressure.”

Moore has cleared 5’2” in the high jump, but on Saturday she shut down at 4’10” since she was not completely healthy. One of the team’s regular performers in the sprints and relays was missing altogether last weekend, and two distance runners also were unable to race.

This led to the Blue Devils skipping the first – and newest – event at the championships, the 4 x 800 meter relay. Penn Charter would outscore SCH by a total of 20-12 in the three relays, and matched the Blue Devils straight-up on the track, 61-61.

However, SCH had scored 53 points in the field events during the morning, while the Quakers came away with 20. GA rang up 37 points in the fields, with sophomore Meaghan Toscano smashing her own meet record in the shot put. Changing her throwing technique this year, the 10th-grader exceeded her previous best by five-and-a-half feet, hitting the tape at 41’10.”

The Patriots’ best event overall was the pole vault, where Quartnei Brown took the gold medal and her freshman classmate Mia Costonis got the bronze. Penn Charter also profited in the pole vault, receiving a silver medal from freshman Mallory Schwartz and fourth place from senior Jemee Watson. Watson was fifth in the triple jump, while sophomore Carmen Williams, best known at PC as a basketball guard, was the runner-up in the high jump.

More than once in previous Inter-Ac championships, Springside Chestnut Hill has come out of the field events as the points leader, only to see its lead slip away on the track.

“The weather was a little cold a couple times, and we were plagued by injuries,” Broadwater said. “We always have girls running back and forth between various events and we need to get points from them in different areas, so we have to be careful. We had some injuries leading up to the meet, but during the meet today we were pretty lucky with that.”

Still, SCH lost a little ground as the track events got underway. No entry in the opening 4 x 800 relay meant no points there, and although Lamb picked up eight in the high hurdles, the Blue Devils added only one point in the 100 meter dash final.

PC on the other handed, started off with third place in the relay thanks to junior Abby Zwall, freshmen Isabel Crawford and Lila Worgan and sophomore Miranda Listman. The Quaker then stacked on 16 points in the 100 meters with a one-three finish from sophomore Ainyae Holmes and freshman Peyton Parker.

SCH’s team tally remained unchanged through the 1600 meter run, as GA sophomore Issy Goldstein started in on her 1600/3200 double. In both races, a powerful final lap put an exclamation point on the 10th-grader’s victories.

PC actually picked up more points than GA in the 1600, netting a dozen as the league’s 2017 cross country champion, freshman Emma Zwall, came in third and was immediately followed by junior Mary McDavid and sophomore Sara Shipon. Charter made further inroads against SCH with a runner-up performance in the 4 x 100 meter relay courtesy of sophomore Jalynn Johnson, Holmes, junior Mia Murphy and Parker. SCH finished fifth here, one spot behind GA.

PC had edged into the overall lead, 67-64, while the Patriots still stayed fairly close behind with 59.

After the next two events, though, the Blue Devils were 22 points ahead of Penn Charter. First, Kitchell and Unthank took the top two spots in the 400 meters, then Adams and Lamb finished first and third in the 300 hurdles. GA’s Kelsey O’Hara, a hardworking, reliable senior headed for Holy Cross, came in third in the 400, and Johnson, the PC sophomore, finished in between Adams and Lamb in the hurdling race.

Then, once again, SCH was stuck in place as it failed to score in the 800 meters. A gutsy performance by Shipon garnered the silver medal for PC, and McDavid came in fifth for a total of 10 points. The Blue Devils still led by a dozen, though (98-86), and they expected to get their engines started again in the 200 meter dash.

Kitchell, however, had experienced a number of injury problems over the years in this event, and Coach Broadwater had only been half joking awhile back when he told her that she wouldn’t be running the 200 again until college.

More recently, he’d been encouraged, explaining “For the last three or four weeks she did well in the short sprints without any problems. I talked things over with her and her parents, and we decided to put her out there.”

She would be perfectly complemented by a fellow senior veteran. Kitchell, intense and feisty, just seems to fit well with the quieter, gentle-natured Haley Unthank. Once again, these two delivered for Springside Chestnut Hill, serving up first and second place for 18 total points in the 200. GA saw

O’Hara battle to third place once more, and PC did not score.

Although SCH would sit through another point-free period during the 3200 meter race, the Blue Devils had provided themselves with a 30-point cushion, 116-86.

In the longest race of the day, GA’s Goldstein mastered the field, while PC’s Emma Zwall was second and her sister Abby placed sixth. The Quakers’ team total rose to 95, and the Patriots’ to 83.

Although the Blue Devils had clinched the championship at this stage, they did not want to finish up by coasting to the title. Inserting freshman Sabria Epps into the 4 x 400 line-up, SCH followed with Unthank, sophomore Nilah Jordan and finally Kitchell as anchor. PC went with Johnson, Shipon, freshman Milan Poland and Parker, while GA sent out sophomore Molly Oeth, senior Anna Hennessy (Vassar), Goldstein and O’Hara.

After three legs, Penn Charter was leading and GA was a whisker ahead of SCH. On the final lap, force of will came into play; Kitchell simply refused to lose, running a 56.2-second split to help the Blue Devils win in 4:03.80, with GA second (4:06.22) and PC third (4:07.95).

There was one more “first” for Springside Chestnut Hill – the celebration of a championship at the end of the annual Inter-Ac meet.

Meet Results (* new meet record)
100 Meters
1. PC Ainyae Holmes 10 12.85
2. EA Kathleen Anderson 10 12.92
3. PC Peyton Parker 9 13.12
4. EA Kemi Odeyemi 10 13.13
5. ND Monica McGinnis 12 13.16
6. SC Alexa Walls 13.28

200 Meters
1. SC Allie Kitchell 12 25.43
2. SC Haley Unthank 12 25.85
3. GA Kelsey O’Hara 12 26.45
4. ND Tina D’Anjolell 12 26.53
5. EA Kemi Odeyemi 10 26.88
6. ND Monica McGinnis 12 26.89

400 Meters
1. SC Allie Kitchell 12 56.48
2. SC Haley Unthank 12 56.77
3. GA Kelsey O’Hara 12 58.14
4. BS Absara Irgau 12 58.67
5. GA Molly Oeth 1:00.50
6. BS Katherine Yang 10 1:03.50

800 Meters
1. ND Jessica Schneider 11 2:16.14
2. PC Sara Shipon 10 2:16.37
3. AI Sanaiya Watts 11 2:18.84
4. EA Jillian Rotman 12 2:19.33
5. PC Mary McDavid 11 2:22.58
6. EA Jilliana McEntee 9 2:23.78

1600 Meters
1. GA Issy Goldstein 10 4:57.70
2. ND Jessica Schneider 11 5:01.01
3. PC Emma Zwall 9 5:11.56
4. PC Mary McDavid 11 5:12.98
5. PC Sara Shipon 10 5:15.43
6. EA Kristen Weil 9 5:19.10

3200 Meters
1. GA Issy Goldstein 10 11:19.66
2. PC Emma Zwall 9 11:26.01
3. ND Jessica Schneider 11 11:33.25
4. EA Caitlin Jorgensen 11 11:42.60
5. EA Molly Giles 12 11:48.30
6. PC Abby Zwall 11 12:06.31

100 Meter Hurdles
1. ND Alessandra Ciampi 12 16.05
2. SC Esther Lamb 9 16.57
3. GA Cobree Hooper 11 17.84
4. PC Mia Murphy 11 18.10
5. EA Laura Null 10 18.49
6. PC Kaitlyn Hnatkowsky 9 18.66

300 Meter Hurdles
1. SC Olabisi Adams 11 46.79
2. PC Jalynn Johnson 10 48.28
3. SC Esther Lamb 9 48.38
4. ND Alessandra Ciampi 48.68
5. EA Josie Konopka 12 50.64
6. PC Mia Murphy 11 50.85

High Jump
1. SC Nayah Moore 11 4’10”
2. PC Carmen Williams 10 4’8”
2. ND Sarah Daoud 10 4’6”
4. GA Molly Oeth 10 4’6”
5. EA Dallas Ryan 12 4’4”
6. GA Destiny Mayfield 10 4’4”

Long Jump
1. SC Olabisi Adams 11 17’10.25”
2. SC Ava Roberts 9 16’2”
3. EA Katie Brian 9 15’9”
4. ND Emma Kichula 11 15’7.5”
5. GA Sasha Capers 10 15’2.75”
6. SC Nayah Moore 11 15’2”

Triple Jump
1. ND Emma Kichula 11 32’9.75”
2. SC Nayah Moore 11 32’8.75”
3. EA Bridie Bommentre 11 32’5.75”
4. SC Ava Roberts 9 31’9”
5. PC Jemee Watson 12 30’0.5”
6. GA Sasha Capers 10 30’0”

Pole Vault
1. GA Quartnei Brown 9 10’0”
2. PC Mallory Schwartz 9 9’6”
3. GA Mia Costonis 9 8’6”
4. EA Katie Brian 9 7’0”
5. PC Jemee Watson 12 7’0”
6. GA Destiny Mayfield 10 7’0”

Shot Put
1. GA Meaghan Toscano 10 41’10” *
2. SC Ava Roberts 33’7”
3. EA Luca Mamula 12 33’0.75”
4. SC Allie Kitchell 12 30’1”
5. GA Sarah Fineman 9 28’11.5”
6. EA Alexandra DiMarco 12 28’8.25”