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Defending mile run champ Josh Hoey finishes fourth at 123rd Penn Relays

Philadelphia – After capturing the High School Boys’ Mile Run Championship as a sophomore at last year’s Penn Relays, Bishop Shanahan junior Josh Hoey was looking forward to another blazing finish in the mile run Friday afternoon at the 123rd Penn Relays.

Unfortunately, Hoey finished fourth Friday, clocking 4:15.25, behind Dalton Hengst of McDonogh (4:09.99), Ackeen Colley of Ruseas of Jamaica (4:10.59) and Cameron Ponder of Mount Tabor (4:11.46).

Last year, Hoey ran 4:11.90 in winning the mile run at Penn Relays last year, running for Downingtown West (he transferred to Bishop Shanahan last summer).

“It was hot today, and there were a lot of great athletes out there,” said Shanahan boys’ track coach Pete Uhlman. “It wasn’t the race time we wanted. His last race was three weeks ago [in Florida], and that didn’t play into our hands. It’s still early in the season for him – he’ll be running Junior Nationals at the end of June – and we think he’ll come back with some good races in the next few weeks.”

Hoey will be looking to bounce back at the 12th annual Hoka One One Henderson Invitational at West Chester Henderson High School May 5, which will feature some of the top runners in the region.

In other local Penn Relays results Friday, Coatesville finished seventh overall out of a field of 242 teams in the High School Boys’ 4×100 Large Schools heats, and qualified for the High School Boys’ 4×100 Large Schools finals Saturday.

Coatesville’s quartet of Jayland Washington, Eric Kirk, Aaron Young and Terrance Laird clocked 42.08, which was just short of their season-best mark of 42.02 set against Downingtown East in a dual meet April 18.

“All four of our runners ran well today – it was a team effort, and I’m happy with their time,” said Coatesville boys’ track head coach Damien Henry. “[The Penn Relays] is such a different type of venue, with a nine-lane track and a huge crowd, I told our runners before the race just to trust their marks, and they did.

“If we can run under 42.00 [Saturday], we’d be very happy. We’re not only representing Coatesville in the final, we’re representing the entire Ches-Mont League.”

Downingtown East finished 18th overall (42.77) among the field of teams competing in the High School Boys’ 4×100 Large Schools heats Friday, with a quartet of Quran Brown, Jeremy Jennings, Daniel Andris and Brassir Stocker.

“I thought those four guys did a great job today,” said Downingtown East coach Eric Horsey. “They’ve been dropping their times the last few weeks. Andris has been a pleasant surprise this year. We moved Brown from the third spot to leadoff this spring, and he’s done well there. Jennings has been our stable guy, our No. 2 guy in the relay, the last two years. And Stocker, who transferred from Coatesville last year, has been a great addition for us.”

Many of the Chester County competitors at the 123rd Penn Relays were competing for the first time at the hallowed event at historic Franklin Field.

One such runner was West Chester Rustin senior Vince Giordano, who anchored the Golden Knights’ team in the High School Boys’ 4×100 Small Schools race Friday. Giordano’s quartet placed a solid fourth in its heat and finished in the middle of the pack among the more than 300 teams in the event.

“The competition is insane here – I’ve never seen so many runners run so fast,” said Giordano. “When the gun went off, I thought, ‘Now’s the time to shine.’”

Shanahan freshman Jonah Hoey, younger brother of Josh Hoey, anchored the Eagles’ quartet with a solid 1:59.99 in the High School Boys’ 4×800 Small Schools race Friday, but the Eagles finished back in the pack. Nevertheless, Uhlman saw it as an opportunity to give his runners some big-time race experience.

“A combination of injury and some other commitments worked a little against us [in the 4×800] today,” said Uhlman. “We tried to seize the opportunity to put some of our developing athletes in a ‘big race’ situation. We hope the experience they get from racing in a prestigious event like the Penn Relays helps further their development and pays dividends for the team down the road.”

Coatesville’s ninth-grade boys won the PIAA JV/9 Boys 4×100, as Dapree Bryant, Ricky Ortega, Jaeden Beard and Artie Burgess clocked 45.02, ahead of Central Bucks West (second place, 45.50) and Downingtown West (third, 45.61).

In the PIAA Middle School Girls 4×100, Great Valley finished second with a quartet of Ella Haly, Mary Deitch, Julia Dill and Gabby Payne, clocking 51.64, behind first-place Chester (50.72). Downingtown placed third (51.76), with a team of Jada Aston, Maya Tucker, Jhania Easton and Lauren D’Ottavio.

NOTES: The total attendance for Friday was announced as 38,598.

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