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Penn Wood’s Turner has her future on track

LANSDOWNE >> Penn Wood’s Terri Turner has always been a driven young lady, and not just on the track.
Turner ranks seventh academically out of a class of 279 and carries a 4.7 grade-point-average on a 4.0 scale.

“She’s been at the top of her class since kindergarten,” Karen Thompkins proudly said of her daughter.

Not surprisingly, Terri Turner had her choice of several of the finest academic institutions in the country when it came time for her to make her college choice. She picked Columbia over Stanford, Vanderbilt and Penn.

“It was a very difficult decision,” Terri Turner said. “Academically, they’re all the same caliber and then I had to determine how track fit in. When I went on my visits I looked at how I would fit in in both areas, not just academics or athletics. For me, Columbia has the best of both worlds.”

Turner plans to major in English and minor in business. Her ultimate goal, though, is a career in corporate law, once her track career is over, of course.

“I want to make a trip to the Olympic Trials,” she said.

Don’t bet against it.

“She’s always known what she’s wanted,” Karen Thompkins said.

Terri Turner’s immediate goal, though, is to lead the Patriots to the county title at the Delco Championships Thursday and Saturday at Upper Darby High School. Penn Wood finished second a year ago, five points behind Strath Haven, which won its seventh straight county title.

Turner is one of nine returning individual champions. She won the 200 and 400 last year and will run those two events again this time around, along with a pair of relays.

“I don’t do the 200 that often so it’s fun running that event,” said Turner, who lives in Lansdowne.

The meet gets under way at 4 o’clock Thursday afternoon with five finals, all in the field events. The meet kicks off with javelin and shot put, followed by the triple jump, high jump and pole vault. All the running events held Thursday are trials. The meet resumes at 4:30 Saturday afternoon.

Among the other returning individual champions are Turner’s Penn Wood teammate Janae Pitt, who won the 100 and 300 hurdles last year. The other individual champions back to defend their titles are: Chichester’s Nierra Berry (100), Cardinal O’Hara’s Eleanor Mancini (1,600) and her twin sister Liz (3,200), Shekinah Yanes of Delco Christian (high jump), Upper Darby’s Michelle Brown-Jones (long jump) and Sugar Henry (triple jump), and Claire VanDuyne of Strath Haven (pole vault).

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The boys Delco Championships are this weekend as well, but once again it is more than just a track meet.

For the fifth straight year the Interboro track team will hold its annual fundraiser for the Loaves and Fishes Pantry in Prospect Park, which provides food for needy people in the Interboro and Ridley School districts, during the county championships.

The fundraising effort has been a huge success. With the help of the Delco track community, Interboro has collected an average of 300 pounds of food per year.

Athletes, coaches and fans are asked to drop off canned goods and other non-perishable items or make a monetary donation at the snack bar at the South Avenue Athletic Complex, where the meet is held, on either day of competition. The championships begin at 3:30 p.m. Thursday and resume 4:30 Saturday afternoon.

As for the championships, Glen Mills is the reigning overall and American Conference champion, while Cardinal O’Hara will try to defend its National Conference title. There are five finals Thursday: the 3,200-meter run, high jump, triple jump, javelin and discus. All other running events Thursday are trials. The remaining finals will be held Saturday.

Keon Rantin and Quadir Gibson of Glen Mills highlight a list of six returning champs. Rantin won the 200 while Gibson claimed gold in the shot put. The other returning champions are David Whitfield of Bonner & Prendergast (800), Penncrest’s Evan Wildermuth (long jump) and Penn Wood’s Dennis Manyeah (high jump).

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