The North Penn girls aim to qualify for the 4×800 Championship of America for the third straight year, as locals head to Franklin Field on Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the 123rd Running of the Penn Relays.
“We have a lot of girls who can run a really good 800 — some distance, some sprinters,” North Penn’s Mikaela Vlasic said after anchoring the 4×8 team to a victory at the Jim Kelly Invite earlier this month. “So for Penn Relays we wanna figure out what our best lineup is gonna be.”
Vlasic was a member of the Knights’ last two 4×8 teams at The Penn Relays, inlcuding last year’s foursome, which blazed to a time of 9:02.06, the top PA time in the event and fourth fastest overall.
Ariana Gardizy, Uche Nwogwugwu and Vlasic all return from last year’s team, with multiple options to look to for that fourth spot.
The Knights also finished eighth in the event back in 2015.
The 4×8 Large Schools race gets underway at 10:50 a.m. Thursday, with Central Bucks West, Pennridge and Spring-Ford also competing. The race is a qualifier for Friday’s COA, which goes off at 1:10 p.m.
The North Penn boys 4×8 will also be looking advance. The Knights race in the Large Schools event Friday at 9:50 a.m., with Central Bucks West and Abington also making their way to the track.
Out in the field on Thursday, Cheltenham’s Brianna Smith will compete in the high jump, which gets going on the infield at 2:30 p.m. Central Bucks South’s Valerie Przekop will be another familiar face in the lineup.
Cheltenham’s weekend is just getting started.
The Panther girls will be racing in the 4×1 at 12:20 p.m. and in the 4×4 at 4:55 p.m. on Thursday, and the two-time defending state champs also have MaryGrace Rittler taking on the 3,000-meter run at 5:55 p.m.
On Friday, the Cheltenham boys will be racing in the 4×1 and then will race in the 4×4 on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Germantown Academy has quite a tandem competing at Franklin Field.
The Patriot girls have Abbe Goldstein, who won the Millrose Mile this past winter, competing in the mile run at 6:05 p.m. Thursday while the Patriot boys’ Kyle Garland gets ready for Friday’s High Jump at 1:45 p.m. Garland was the Pentathlon Champion at the 2017 New Balance Nationals.
La Salle’s Noah Walker will look to continue his outstanding season when he throws the javelin at 2:45 p.m. Friday, going against a top field that includes another local product, Jon LaSalle of Hatboro-Horsham.
Another Hatter, Nicholas Marino, could be a top finisher in the pole vault on Saturday (10 a.m.), with Phil-Mont Christian’s Caleb Johnson also giving it a go.
Upper Dublin’s Brian Kaufmann will be in the long jump pit Saturday at noon. The triple jump also goes off at 12 p.m., with Souderton Area’s Shamar Jenkins and Wissahickon’s Ahmir Johnson a pair of watch in the event.
Top Photo: North Penn’s Mikaela Vlasic takes the baton from Natalie Kwortnik to start the anchor leg of the girls 4 x 800 meter relay at the Jim Kelly Invitational on Saturday, April 15, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)