PHILADELPHIA >> For two years in a row, Strath Haven finished second in the Central League 4 x 400-meter relay championship race at the Penn Relays.
That streak ended Thursday afternoon after the Panthers team of Grace Haase, Maddie Forbes, Grace Forbes and Olivia Malley outkicked Upper Darby and Conestoga to the finish line to win the Central title with a time of 4:00.00.
Upper Darby (Tanti Boduo, Michelle Brown-Jones, Anisah Richardson and Sugar Henry) was second in 4:01.64.
Haase opened the race with a split of 1:01.57, followed by Maddie Forbes in 59.20 seconds, Grace Forbes at 58.89 and Malley at 1:00.56. Haase and the Forbes sisters had helped Haven qualify for the Championship of America 4 x 800-meter race earlier in the day.
“I ran here last year when we finished second to Penncrest,” Malley, a sophomore, said. “We have a dual meet coming up against Upper Darby, and we said that we had to beat them here today.
“When it got close, I knew I had to push myself harder. Sometimes I die coming down the stretch, but today I could hear (coach Bill Coren) yelling so I knew I had to get through it.”
Penn Wood (Janae Pitt, Elicia Moore, Kyra Carroll and Terri Turner) shattered the meet record in the Suburban A 4 x 400 with its time of 3:48.61, breaking the mark of 3:51.98 set by Chester in 2008.
The same four Patriots had the third-fastest time in the 4 x 800 heats in the morning and will take part in the Championship of America race Friday. Penn Wood also qualified for the Philadelphia Area 4 x 400 final Saturday afternoon.
“We were tired, but we do a lot of running,” Pitt, who had a 57.47 second split, said. “We’ve been training for this, and we know we can run faster.
“If I had fresh legs, I could have run faster. I ran 2:13 earlier today, and I’m happy with this time.”
Turner has been under the weather for almost two weeks.
“I was just trying to run it out,” she said after her 56.17-second split.
Moore’s time was 58.21 and Carroll was clocked in 56.79 seconds as the Patriots finished 12.16 seconds ahead of runner-up Owen J. Roberts.
Cardinal O’Hara (4:00.61) was second behind Neumann-Goretti (3:47.14) in the Philadelphia Catholic League 4 x 400. Jesikah Boykins, Olivia Arizin (57.44-second split), Schola Eburuoh and Sephora Senestant ran for the Lions.
O’Hara’s Eleanor Mancini, Senestant, Christine Mancini and Elizabeth Mancini placed 12th in the High School Distance Medley Championship of America race in 12 minutes, 14.82 seconds.
Christine Mancini had a 2:16.88 split for 800 meters and Elizabeth Mancini ran the anchor 1,600 meters in 5:05.42
Upper Darby’s team of Jerenita Sovan, Michelle Brown-Jones, Cydney Edwards and Anisah Richardson had the top time among Delaware County Schools in the 4 x 100-meter relay, 49.89 seconds.
The Academy of Notre Dame (Alessandra Ciampi, Monica McGinnis, Elle Halfpenny, Tina D’Anjollel) was clocked in 50.24 seconds, while Strath Haven (Angela Campanella, Mayowa Somgonye, India Legree, Lizzie King) was timed in 50.33 seconds.
Brown-Jones had a best jump of 16 feet 9¾ inches to place 17th in the long jump.
Lansdowne resident Sydni Townsend, who competes for Neumann-Goretti, placed seventh in the 400-meter hurdles in 1:02.03 and helped the Saints turn in a time of 48.17 seconds in the 4 x 100-meter relay, fast enough to qualify for the Tri-State championship race Saturday afternoon.
She finished her day by running a 56.77-second split as N-G coasted to victory in the Catholic League 4 x 400.
Janese Lynch of Neumann-Goretti, the Sharon Hill resident who was 2015 Daily Times Girls Track Athlete of the Year while attending Academy Park, placed sixth in the discus with a throw of 149 feet, 5 inches, a personal-best by more than six feet.