LOWER GWYNEDD >> Dramatic finishes of every kind marked the 43rd Trojan Track Classic Thursday night at windy Wissahickon High School.
“I saw (North Penn’s Lauren Follis) to my left so I knew I had to try and push it really hard to try and beat her,” Wissahickon’s Lieke Black said of the final, draining stretch of the 300-meter hurdles. “My legs started to get tired but I pushed through it.”
Black’s victory was part of an impressive evening for the host Trojans, who notched first-place finishes in a variety of events on both the boys and girls side.
Said Wissahickon’s Shamere Dunswell, winner of the 100 dash: “I love it. Everybody’s out here — you get to see faces, smiles…everything.”
Dunswell broke 11 seconds, his final decisive, surge producing a winning time of 10.96. Upper Dublin’s Brian Kaufmann was second in 11.26 and Bishop McDevitt’s Tyler Byrd third in 11.33.
In the 300 hurdles, Black (48.31) edged Follis (48.76) at the finish, with Gwynedd Mercy’s Catherine Peel (49.15) rounding out a strong top three.
“I’m feeling great. I did indoor this season, which got me in shape a lot so I felt good, pretty ready for this season,” said Black, a versatile sophomore for the Trojans.
Black also does the 100 hurdles as well as the 4×1 and 4×4 for Wiss.
“You change your mindset for each one,” she said, “but my team really pushes me.
“(This meet is) one of my favorites because there’s so many people there and it makes you push your hardest to get your best time.”
Lieke Black has continued the family legacy at the Trojan Classic — her older sister, Lotte, now runs for the University of Rhode Island.
“She’s more of a distance runner,” Lieke said with a smile, “but she inspires me to do my best in everything,” North Penn’s Ariana Gardizy held off Cheltenham’s MaryGrace Rittler for top honors in the 1,600. Rittler was right on Gardizy’s hip the whole way but Gardizy had the winning kick, finishing a second faster with a 5:03.21.
Also for the Knights, Sophia Broadhurst and Kat Stevenson went one and two in the 100, crossing nearly side-by-side with a 12.65 and 12.69.
Meanwhile on the boys side, North Penn’s Ben Dogonniuck sprinted, hurdled, somersaulted, dove and rolled to a victory in the 300 hurdles.
“Didn’t go as planned but that’s fine. I got across the line,” Dogonniuck said with a smile.
The senior ran a fantastic race, overcoming hitting the final hurdle and then getting across any way he could.
“I felt really good the first 200,” said Dogonniuck, who had the best time with a 42.40, with teammate Thomas Green (43.58) and Plymouth-Whitemarsh’s Dereck Nam (43.69) giving chase. “And then the final 100 is all about finishing, and I managed to do that despite the fall.
“(Coming down the final stretch), I felt better than I have all season. Last hurdle, worse than I have all season (laugh).”
Dogonniuck got himself a victory. And in memorable attire. The senior was sporting the North Penn throwback jersey from the 1970’s and ‘80’s.
“Some of them were like thick cotton,” he said with a laugh, “stuff you would not wanna be wearing right now.”
Top Photo: Wissahickon’s Lieke Black edges North Penn’s Lauren Follis in the 300 meter intermediate hurdles at the Trojan Classic on Thursday, May 4, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)