by Tom Utescher

The 2019 Inter-Ac League track and field championships took place on the Main Line at Episcopal Academy last Saturday, but it was teams from this area that ruled the meet in the girls’ events.

Germantown Academy won seven individual events and two of the three relays to emerge as team champion with 150 points. Penn Charter repeated as runner-up with 128 points this time, and defending champion Springside Chestnut Hill Academy placed third with 105 points.

Meet host Episcopal wound up fourth with 55.5 points, and was followed by the Academy of Notre Dame (44.5), Baldwin School (four) and Agnes Irwin School (two points).

Issy Goldstein, a junior for the GA Patriots, won the 800, 1600 and 3200-meter runs, duplicating the feat her older sister Abbe (now a Harvard University sophomore) accomplished in 2017, and breaking her sister’s meet record in the 3200 with a time of 10:50.02.

It was quite a championship debut for Dion Lehman, the first-year head coach for both the girls’ and boys’ teams at GA.

“The girls knew we’d have a good shot at winning the championship,” he said, “and for a number of them, working toward that goal already began back in the indoor season.”

Freshman sprint sensation Moforehan Abinusawa, the Pennsylvania number one in the 100 meters, set new Inter-Ac records in that event (11.78 seconds) and in the 200 (24.47).

Earlier in the day, the Patriots began cranking out points in the field events. For the third straight year, junior shot putter Meaghan Toscano set a new meet record, pushing the mark out to 42’9.75″ while leading a group of four GA scorers in the event. In the pole vault, junior Liliana Cohen soared past the old meet record with a 12′ 6″ vault, and sophomore Quartnei Brown equaled the old league mark of 10’6″ to place second.

Part of GA’s shot put show was the third-place effort by sophomore Sarah Fineman, and freshman Alex Goodridge was third in the long jump.

PC, meanwhile, was picking up points in the “fields” from some of its multi-sport athletes. Soccer star Janae Stewart won the long jump, and basketball standout Carmen Williams finished second in the high jump. Freshman Amanda Ehrenhalt, a swimmer and diver in the winter season, came in third in the triple jump. A third-place performance was also delivered by PC sophomore Mallory Schwartz in the pole vault.

Another versatile athlete, four-year varsity soccer player Nayah Moore, was putting up points for SCH. The senior won the high jump, placed second in the triple jump and was sixth in the long jump.

Blue Devils sophomore Ava Roberts was runner-up in the shot put for the second year in a row, and senior Olabisi Adams was second in the long jump. Freshman Jaya Merritt placed fourth in both the high jump and triple jump.

SCH came out of the field events with 49 points to GA’s 47 and Charter’s 31. The Blue Devils had won the 2018 meet, however,¬†thanks in large part to major contributions on the track from high scoring seniors who were no longer around.

GA’s Lehman was more concerned with PC.

“We knew that they were going to be really tough on the track,” he remarked. “Even though we’d scored well in the field events, we knew we couldn’t let up at all.”

Abinusawa led off with her record-setting run in the 100, and later she broke a record in the 200 that had belonged to Springside School’s Taylor Ellis-Watson (’11), who would go on to win an Olympic gold medal in 2016 as part of the U.S. 4 x 400 relay team.

Two current SCH athletes won the two hurdling events, with Adams taking the 300 intermediates and sophomore Esther Lamb winning the 100 high hurdles by two-hundredths of a second over GA senior Cobree Hooper. Another GA hurdler, sophomore Perry Irons, was the runner-up in the 300s behind Adams.

Blue Devils sophomore Sabria Epps held off a challenge from PC 10th grader Peyton Parker to win the 400 meters. Epps had been second in the 100, and in the 200 she finished third behind Abinusawa and Parker. Also running in the 100, the Quakers’ Parker came in third there.

PC’s Sara Shipon, a junior who’d been a close third in the 400, gave GA’s Goldstein a serious push in the 800, with the Patriot ace securing the victory by 0.73 seconds.

Goldstein won more comfortably in the 1600 and the 3200; in each race, Notre Dame’s Jessica Schneider was the runner-up and PC sophomore Emma Zwall (the 2018 Inter-Ac cross country champion) placed third.

In a relatively new event in the league, the 4 x 800 relay, PC set a new meet record with a young group of runners than included Shipon’s eighth grade sister, Dani.

GA won the 4 x 100 relay, and by the time the schools lined up for the 4 x 400 at the very end of the afternoon, the Patriots had already clinched the 2019 championship. This race was far from anticlimactic, though. For the Pats, the baton passed from Bri O’Hara to fellow freshman Julie Gonzalez, and then to the pole vault champ, Cohen.

Junior Molly Oeth had a modest lead when she received the stick for the final lap, but the anchors from Notre Dame and PC really went after her. She fought them off to give GA the win in 4:08.72, with Notre Dame crossing the line at 4:10.12 and Charter at 4:10.94.

“Our girls really stepped up in the track events,” Lehman commented. “We knew we’d get a lot of points from Issy and Fore [Abinusawa], but it was key for us to build around that with those third, fourth and fifth places. Girls who contribute like Perry [Irons] in the hurdles and Julie [Gonzalez] in the 800 are what helps put you over the top.”

Along with the Inter-Ac team trophy, GA celebrated Goldstein’s selection as the outstanding female athlete of the meet, recognized with an award named in honor of longtime GA mentor Judy Krouse.

Meet Results (* new meet record)
100 Meters
1. GA Moforehan Abinusawa 11.78*
2. SCH Sabria Epps 12.11
3. PC Peyton Parker 12.44
4. PC Ainyae Holmes 12.64
5. PC Janae Stewart 12.80
6. BS Vivienne Evans 12.97

200 Meters
1. GA Moforehan Abinusawa 24.47*
2. PC Peyton Parker 25.24
3. SCH Sabria Epps 25.78
4. PC Ainyae Holmes 26.55
5. PC Janae Stewart 26.77
6. BS Vivienne Evans 27.12

400 Meters
1. SCH Sabria Epps 57.75
2. PC Peyton Parker 58.14
3. PC Sara Shipon 58.34
4. GA Molly Oeth 100.92
5. EA Lauren Weil 1:01.44
6. GA Bri O’Hara 1:01.90

800 Meters
1. GA. Issy Goldstein 2:17.90
2. PC Sara Shipon 2:18.63
3. ND Lindsey Smith 2:22.29
4. GA Juliana Gonzalez 2:23.13
5. EA Caitlin Jorgensen 2:23.18
6. PC Dani Shipon 2:23.53

1600 Meters
1. GA Issy Goldstein 4:57.97
2. ND Jessica Schneider 5:02.97
3. PC Emma Zwall 5:05.77
4. PC Mary McDavid 5:06.03
5. ND Lindsey Smith 5:06.68

3200 Meters
1. GA Issy Goldstein 10:50.02*
2. ND Jessica Schneider 10:54.78
3. PC Emma Zwall 11:08.25
4. ND Cara Stevenson 12:08.84
5. GA Olivia Merrill 12:10.28
6. AI Maddie Aguirre 12:10.67

100-Meter Hurdles
1. SCH Esther Lamb 16.57
2. GA Cobree Hooper 16.59
3. EA Cami Beaulieu 16.74
4. ND Caroline Crossed 18.19
5. EA Celeste Graham 18.20
6. ND Abby Butler 18.59

300-Meter Hurdles
1. SCH Olabisi Adams 47.75
2. GA Perry Irons 48.98
3. PC Jalynn Johnson 49.17
4. SCH Esther Lamb 49.33
5. PC Mia Murphy 49.49
6. EA Cami Beaulieu 49.91

High Jump
1. SCH Nayah Moore 5’0″
2. PC Carmen Williams 4’10”
2. EA Rae Keffer-Scharpf 4’8″
4. SCH Jaya Merritt 4’6″
5. GA Destiny Mayfield 4’6″
6. EA Riley Cassidy 4’4″

Long Jump
1. PC Janae Stewart 18’0.5″
2. SCH Olabisi Adams 17’6.25″
3. GA Alex Goodridge 16’9″
4. SCH Maya McDermott 16’7.5″
5. SCH Ava Roberts 16’2.25″
6. SCH Nayah Moore 15’9.75″

Triple Jump
1. EA Kat Harrar 34’2.25″
2. SCH Nayah Moore 33’11.75″
3. PC Amanda Ehrenhalt 33’5.75″
4. SCH Jaya Merritt 32’4″
5. GA Sasha Capers 32’2.75″
6. PC Anne Flemming 32’0.75″

Pole Vault
1. GA. Liliana Cohen 12’6″*
2. GA. Quartnei Brown 10’6″
(tied former record)
3. PC Mallory Schwartz 10’0″
4. EA Katie Brian 7’0″
T5. EA Melanie Lim 6’6″
T5. ND Meghan Gallary 6’6″

Shot Put
1. GA Meaghan Toscano 42’9.75″
2. SCH Ava Roberts 38’3.75″
3. GA Sarah Fineman 34’11.25″
4. EA Jovana Sekulic 31’10.25″
5. GA Myah Taylor 31’7″
6. GA Cianni Williams 28’6″

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