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Penn Wood, Haven set quick pace in 4 x 800

PHILADELPHIA >> Times that once were good enough to qualify teams for the Penn Relays Championship of America 4 x 800-meter relay race were not quick enough for more than a “good job” comment at Franklin Field Thursday afternoon.

Two of the 12 teams that advanced to Friday afternoon’s final represent Delaware County. Penn Wood’s Terri Turner, Elicia Moore, Kyra Carroll and Janae Pitt had the third-fastest qualifying time of 9 minutes 5.15 seconds, a school record, while Strath Haven (Isabel Cardi, Maddie Forbes, Grace Haase, Grace Forbes) turned in a clocking of 9:12.20, ninth-best.

Edwin Allen of Clarendon, Jamaica, was the fastest in the four qualifying heats in 8:56.75.

Pitt (2:13.3), Turner (2:14.9) and Moore (2:14.9) had splits that ranked among the top 20 individual times in the event.

Strath Haven’s Grace Haase, left, takes the baton from Maddie Forbes in the 4 x 800 race at Penn Relays Thursday. The Panthers’s time of 9:12.20 earn a spot in Friday’s Championship of America. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

“It was hectic, but I tried to get out the best I could,” Turner said of the start of the race. “I knew the Jamaican team (Spalding) would be there, but I wanted to be in the lead when I got the baton to (Moore).”

Moore, a sophomore, turned her two laps in 2:14.9, matching Turner’s leadoff time.

“I wanted to hold on to the lead as long as I could,” she said. “My first lap was good and I gave it all I had. When they got past me with 250 (meters) to go, I tried to keep going and hold on to second place.”

Carroll had a 2:22.1 split for the third leg.

“I finished strong on my first lap,” she said. “And I tried to go hard the last 250 and finish good.”

Pitt’s anchor leg of 2:13.3 was the ninth-fastest split among the four heats and lowered her personal-best time by more than three seconds.

“The warmer weather was a plus this year,” she said. “Last year it was just so cold and we just had to try to stay warm.

“After I got ahead, I knew there was a team close to me so I had to really go after it to get to the finish.”

Strath Haven, which ran in the first of the four heats, had to sit and nervously watch as times were posted, hoping its qualifying standard would hold up. Cardi, who had a personal-best split of 2:19, couldn’t join her teammates in the stands until she got treatment from the training staff for a cut on her leg.

“I was anxious for the start,” she said. “Then a girl fell down and I got spiked. I’ve been doing distance training for Delcos, so I wasn’t sure what to expect today. (Coach Bill Coren) said he thought it might take 9:15 to get to the finals, and we ran 9:12.”

Maddie Forbes came in at 2:17 as Haven held second place after the first half of the race.

“I tried to get out strong and stay with the others,” she said of being in fourth place when she took the baton. “You think about running for place and running for time. I’m just happy we’ll have the chance to run again.”

Haase got some encouraging words from her coach.

“He said I could be as good as anyone except maybe the Jamaicans,” she said. “I wanted to keep up with everyone as best I could.”

Sophomore Grace Forbes got rid of her pre-race jitters in time to turn in a solid anchor split.

“I knew someone was closing the gap on me,” she said. “I told myself I had to hang on for dear life. This was a lot better than last year.”

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