POTTSTOWN >> He’s been used to the “pack mentality” from his time running for the Pottsgrove boys cross country team.
So it felt only natural for Michael Neeson to have a bit of company leading the distance races of Tuesday’s track meet with Pottstown. It was part of a sweep of the non-sprint events that helped give the Falcons an 89-61 victory over the Trojans at Grigg Memorial Stadium.
On the girls’ side, the Falcons ran away with a 114-36 victory in which they dominated the track events, 68-19.
“That’s been our game plan the last couple years … more so in cross country,” Neeson said about having as many as three teammates running within an arm’s length of him for a good part of the long-distance races. “The two mile, though, is somewhat like that.”
Though he ran wire-to-wire in both races, Neeson didn’t get any appreciable separation between him and his teammates until the final stretch. Even then, his 11:37.22 clocking was less than a hundredth of a second ahead of Bryce Hampton (11:37.88) and only two ticks better than Gabe Craig (11:39.16).
It was about the same situation in the 1,600, where Neeson (4:39) was a second better than Cole Goldcamp (4:39).
“At the end, we raced each other,” he said.
“That’s what we aim for,” Pottsgrove head coach Larry Rechtin said of the “pack” strategy. “Working together to get all three spots, communicating and motivating each other.”
Pottsgrove’s 61-26 scoring edge on the track effectively compensated for Pottstown (0-2) winning the field events portion 35-28. Jay Sisko added a first in the 400 (52.79) and Garion Coddington one in the 800 (2:15.5); the Falcons (2-0) also won the 4×800 (9:00) and 4×400 (3:35.18) relays.
“The distance races carried us,” Pottsgrove head coach Larry Rechtin said. “We also won two relay races.”
Adding to Pottsgrove’s track showing were firsts by Garion Coddington in the 800, and Jay Sisko in the 400.
“It was a good day,” Rechtin said.
Jacob Howard finished a double-winner in the field for Pottstown. He won the triple jump with a 42-5 leap that outdistanced Pottsgrove’s Michael Ziegler by more than a foot, and the long jump with a 20-1.
Aaron Diamond (javelin, 139-9) and Alex Caballero (pole vault, 10-6) also helped the Trojans’ showing in the field.
Pottsgrove’s Justin Adams distinguished himself in the field events with firsts in the shot put (46-8) and discus (124-4), and Zeigler added another first in the high jump (6-2).
The Pottsgrove girls (2-0) enjoyed this matchup of neighboring rivals from the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s Frontier Division. That was particularly true of Miazziah Rose, who had a banner day.
Rose had personal bests in two events, going 5-6 in the high jump and 36 feet in the triple jump. She also ran a leg of the Falcons’ 4×100 relay, whose 49.7 clocking emerged as a school record, and won both the high jump (6-4) and triple jump (36-0).
Chloe Manogue-Shivak gave the Falcons a sweep of the hurdles, taking the 300 intermediates in 51.17 and 100s in 17.72. Madison Giraud was another double-winner on the track, heading the 1,600 (6:15.95) and the 3,200 (14:09).
In the field, Manogue-Shivak took the long jump (15-5 1/2) while Jailyn Newman (shot put, 32-10) and Anna Myers (javelin, 110-0) had other firsts.
Pottstown’s track winners were Bryonn Chimbinja (100, 12.66) and Aniya Hoskins (200, 26.07). In the field, the Trojans got their lone win from Giavanna Mitchell (discus, 116-5).
“We graduated 18 seniors from the 2016 team,” Pottstown head coach Mary Ann Hill explained. “The kids are trying to find their places.”
NOTES >>The meet was run on the first 80-degree day of the calendar year. “It’s been nice,” Neesons said, “except when you’re running out in the heat a long time. Last Friday, it was in the 40s, but over the weekend it adjusted.”
Elsewhere across the PAC
Boys track and field
Owen J. Roberts 111, Norristown 38 >> The Wildcats took control of the field events en route to a resounding victory over the Eagles in a PAC meet.
Aidan Hayward took home first place in the shot put (43-2), discus (147-4) and the javelin (198-7) while Shyeed May took home wins in the long jump (20-0) and triple jump (42-4).
Ramir Wiggins was a double winner for the Eagles, taking first in the 300-meter hurdles in 44.3 seconds and the 110 hurdles in 18.9, nearly a full second ahead of the second-place finisher.
Girls track and tield
Owen J. Roberts 110, Norristown 40 >> Similar to the boys’ event, the Wildcats’ performance in the field events was what separated themselves in a victory over the Eagles.
The Wildcats took home first-through-third finishes in the shot put, discus, javelin, long jump, triple jump, high jump and the pole vault. Sharai Taylor was a double winner in the shot put and javelin, her shot put going a distance of 32-5 1/2 with her javelin throw travelling a distance of 104-3.
The Wildcats also swept the 1600-meter run, which was won narrowly by Emily Hansell (5:48.1) who finished five hundreths of a second faster than second-place finisher Alex Glasier. Winning the 800-meter was Angela Feiser in 2:33.2 with Autumn Sands winning the 3,200 in 12:55.5.