TOWAMENCIN >> Call it the 800-meter dash.
“I knew those guys were gonna take it out really fast,” Central Bucks West’s Jake Claricurzio said afterwards, taking a well-deserved seat on the infield, “Dennis and Hudson…So I knew if I could stay close it would be a battle, and that’s exactly what it was.”
In a race in which the pace was blistering — a total of 11 runners ran District One-qualifying standards — Claricurzio outlasted everybody. The Bucks’ junior crossed the packed finish line in 1 minute, 53.83 seconds, winning a tighly-contested 800 as part of Thursday night’s Third Annual Knights Invitational at North Penn’s Crawford Stadium.
“It felt great to win it,” Claricurzio said with a smile, “but awful after.”
The junior put everything he had into one final surge, holding off Quakertown’s Hudson Delisle (1:54.05) by less than a quarter of a second. Penn Wood’s Dennis Manyeah raced to third in 1:55.68.
“In the beginning of the year my goal was to run 1:53 by the end of the year,” said Claricurzio, who surpassed the meet record of 1:56.65, set by La Salle’s Patrick Grant last year. “I did (1:53) today and that’s a very big deal to me.”
Records also fell out in the field, including three by the same guy — a very determined Noah Walker of La Salle.
“During indoor and outdoor last year, I was working with my dad in the basement, working every day,” the senior said, “working on form and everything. That really helped.”
Walker put on a dominant display. He threw 51-0.5 in the shot put to beat his own 2016 record by more than a foot, he threw 186-10 in the javelin to surpass his 2016 record by almost 11 feet, and then his personal-best ever throw of 151-5 in the discus won a place in the record book, replacing the 126-5 by Hatboro-Horsham’s Cameron Willison a year ago.
As impressive as he was, Walker’s best work may be ahead.
“I qualified for the Penn Relays in the jav so I’m really excited for that,” he said.
La Salle racked up five victories on the day, besting the four by Penn Wood. CB West earned three first-places while Abington raced to a pair, including an exciting 4×400 relay to cap things off.
Host North Penn won the most enduring race of the evening, as Brendan O’Toole crossed first in the 3,200, just ahead of teammate Brian Johnson for a nice one-two finish.
Top Photo: Central Bucks West’s Jake Claricurzio wins the final heat of the 800 meter run at the Knights Invitational at North Penn High School on Thursday, April 13, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)