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Manyeah and Penn Wood hit their stride at Penn Relays

PHILADELPHIA >> Dennis Manyeah’s eyes widened when he heard Penn Wood’s time in the second heat of the boys small schools 4 x 800-meter relay.

Manyeah, Todd Jackson, Talus Gaymore and Inerji Sirleaf ran a season-best 7 minutes, 52.77 seconds to finish fifth in their heat. While that was the sixth-fastest time in the state, it was not good enough to earn the Patriots a spot in Saturday’s Championship of America race. They needed to run more than two seconds faster to earn a call back.

Still, it was far better than the Patriots expected.

Penn Wood’s Todd Jackson runs the second leg of the Patriots’ small schools 4 x 800-meter qualifying race. They only finished fifth in their heat, but it was sixth-fastest time by a Pennsylvania high school team this season. (For Digital First Media/Mikey Reeves)

Central Bucks West, Seneca, State College and Pennsbury were the only Pennsylvania teams to run faster than the Patriots at Penn Friday. Those four and Greensburg Salem High are the only teams in the state with a faster time than Penn Wood.

“We were just trying to get under eight (minutes),” said Manyeah, who set the pace with a 1:54.32 leadoff leg. “That’s all we wanted.”

It was the first time this group ran together since the opening week of the season because of injuries, Manyeah said. He missed a week with a groin issue and Jackson was sidelined for a week with a hamstring problem.

“That much better than what we did last year,” said Jackson, referring to the 8:03.27 the Patriots ran last year at Franklin Field. “We wanted to show that we can compete with the top teams in the state.”

After Friday’s performance, Manyeah and Jackson feel that the team can challenge the school record, which is 7:48. As for Chester’s nearly 40-year-old county mark of 7:38 …

“Man,” Manyeah said when told of the record, “that’s crazy.”

Manyeah was a busy young man. After running a 1:54.32 leadoff split on Penn Wood’s 4 x 800-meter relay, the senior finished 15th in the boys high jump with a leap of 6-3½.

Manyeah was looking to go 6-8 or better, but he said he had trouble adjusting to the run-up to the high jump, which went from the artificial turf on the infield to the rubberized surface on the track.

“That was the first time I was on that surface,” Manyeah said. “It was a little different, I think the thing I needed to do was get more run-throughs to get myself to feel more comfortable because on that last attempt, I felt really comfortable. By that time, though, it was too late.”

Manyeah, however, was not discouraged.

“I’m not mad,” he said. “In the beginning of the day our 4 x 8 ran 7:52, so I was happy about that. You have good days and you have bad days and today in the high jump it was a bad jump day. I have to bounce back at Delcos next week. I’m going for 6-9 or 6-10. I just have to work harder.”

***

Daiyaan Hawkins, Lamont Lucas, Ben Stallworth and Sam Linder of the Haverford School turned in the fastest time by a Delco team in the boys small schools 4 x 100. The Fords won their heat in a school-record time of 42.92 seconds and finished 23rd overall out of 311 teams.

Glen Mills (Rami Marsh, Keon Rantin, Denarii Springs, Abdul Lateet) had the best Delco time in the large-school division (43.19). That placed the Bulls 32nd out of 242 teams.

Cardinal O’Hara’s Gavin Inglis, Obinna Iherjirka, Patrick James and Ryan James ran 10:56.22 in the boys DMR.

That’s the second best time in the county behind the 10:53.86 Epicopal Academy ran a week ago at the Kellerman Relays.

Bellermine from Los Gatos, California held off Carlisle to win the title. Bellermine finishd in 10:06.10. Carlisle was second in 10:06.45, followed by Germantown Friends (10:11.68) and Council Rock North (10:15.70).

Strath Haven’s Cooper Driscoll did not win any medals, but he did turn in the best top his personal best in the javelin by more than five feet. Driscoll threw 171 feet, 3 inches to finish in 17th place. That’s the best throw in the county this season.

The winner was Liam Christensen of Academic Magnet out of North Charleston, South Carolina. He threw 220-2. La Salle’s Noah Walker was third with a throw of 201-6.

***

To no one’s surprise, Jordan Geist of Knoch destroyed the Penn Relays record in the shot put, which he already owned.

Geist threw 74 feet, 9 inches to top the mark of 73-0¾ he set a year ago. Geist became the second person since 1961 to win the event three years in a row. Nick Venna of Morristown, N.J. holds the record. He won it four years in a row from 2008-2011.

Lushane Wilson out of St. Jago (Jamaica) and Qayim Ali from Williamsport put on quite a show in the boys high jump. Both topped seven feet. Wilson was the winner with a leap of 7-1¾. Ali jumped 7-0½. In all, five jumpers leaped 6-9 or better.

Roje Stona of St. Jago won the boys discus with a throw of 212-9.

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