UPPER DARBY >> Haverford High’s Cecilia Katcavage smiled as she waited for the awards ceremony for the shot put and javelin on the first day of the girls Delco Track & Field Championships Thursday at Upper Darby’s Memorial Field.
This was the moment the junior has been waiting for since the season began.
Katcavage had her sights set on topping the 38-foot mark in the shot for the first time and the 120-foot mark in the javelin since winning the event at the Delco Championships as a freshman with a career-best heave of 123-3.
With two mighty throws, less than an hour apart, Katcavage accomplished both goals and won a pair of gold medals, hence the smile.
Katcavage won the javelin with a throw of 121-6, which came in the preliminary round, and then went over and took first in the shot put with a personal-best heave of 38-2¾.
She was still trying to figure out how she was able to accomplish both goals well after she was done for the day.
As for the javelin, the answer there was simple.
“I like the runway here,” Katcavage said. “You can slide in the grass and your spikes really dig it at the finish. That’s really helpful.”
Deciding which implement to throw first was key, too, since both events were contested simultaneously. Katcavage threw the javelin first and then went to the shot.
“When I threw 121, I was hyped,” Katcavage said. “Then I went over to the shot put and threw 38 and I was really excited. I threw 37-11¼ a couple of meets ago and I was really hoping to get 38. I’ve been trying to get 38 all season and to finally do it was an amazing feeling.”
Katcavage wasn’t the only Haverford athlete looking for a breakthrough. High jumper Maddie Santoro has been trying to go over 5-3 since she topped that height last year to win the Central League individual championship.
Santoro jumped 5-3 to tie her personal best and win her second Delco title in three years. She also was the Delco champ in the high jump as a sophomore.
“It’s such a good feeling,” said Santoro, who will attend San Diego State in the fall. “I’ve been so close, but just never made it. So this is such a relief. And 5-3 is state qualifying standard, so it gives me a lot of confidence. I know I can do it again.”
The two gold medals by Katcavage and one by Santoro highlighted a big day by the Fords. Autumn Francis had her personal best (103-9) to take fourth in the javelin. Caleigh Gray was second in the pole vault (8-0) to put the Fords in first place after the first day of competition.
Schola Eburuoh of Cardinal O’Hara came out of nowhere last season to win the District 12 Class AAA championship and finish second in the Catholic League championships in the high jump.
Now she’s doing the same in the triple and long jumps.
Eburuoh won the Delco championship in the triple jump in only her second time competing in the event. The Catholic University-bound senior jumped 36-5½ to edge Upper Darby’s Sugar Henry for the title.
That was two feet better than the 34-3 Eburuoh triple-jumped at the Catholic League Southern Division championships Sunday at O’Hara.
“I’m surprised,” Eburuoh said. “I trained a few times at practice, but I wasn’t expecting a 36. I didn’t have much practice.”
Her coach, James Williams, is not surprised.
“First of all, she’s a tremendous athlete,” Williams said. “Secondly, when you have an athlete who has the talent and is willing to put in the work, they’re going to be successful.”
Eburuoh also finished second in the high jump (5-2). Like Katcavage, who was in the javelin and shot at the same time, Eburuoh competed in the high jump and triple jump simultaneously.
“That was crazy going back and forth between both of them,” Eburuoh said. “And there was good competition in both events. It was pretty cool. … I had to run from the high jump to the triple jump, but it was a lot of fun.”
The triple jump isn’t the only event Eburuoh is trying for the first time. She’s a newcomer in the long jump, too. She won that event at the Catholic South champs with a leap of 16-5.
“I’m really excited about competing in both the triple and long jumps,” Eburuoh said.
The only other final Thursday was the pole vault. Strath Haven’s Claire VanDuyne won the title for the second year in a row with a vault of 9-6. Not bad for someone who started her career as a distance runner.
“(Strath Haven coach Bill) Coren has this thing, if you’re athletic and you’re a distance runner and you want to try the pole vault, go for it,” said VanDuyne, who will attend Penn in the fall. “I tried out and it was fun, and there’s a little bit of a thrill to it.”
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