By David Block
Lower Merion >> Several local squads were on the fast track to victory at Saturday’s Lower Merion Invitational at Arnold Field, particularly Coatesville.
Coatesville senior Makayla Eberly, who has earned a scholasrhip to run for La Salle University next fall, finished first in the 800 meters with a personal best and state-qualifying 2:16.89, in her first race after being sidelined for two weeks with a hamstring injury.
The Coatesville boys won two relays. Senior Jayland Washington, sophomore Erik Kirk, sophomore Aaron Young, and senior Terrance Laird finished with a 42.45 clocking. Coatesville also won the Tom Anderson 4×400 relay as Washington, Kirk, sophomore Charles Brown and Laird clocked 3:27.21. When Laird grabbed the baton for the 4×400 anchor leg, he brought his team from second place to first.
“It came down to pacing myself,” said Laird.
Coatesville track coach Damien Henry was happy with Kirk’s performance, particularly in the 4×100.
“He turned the whole race around,” said Henry. “When he grabbed the baton, he moved us to first.”
The quartet had already qualified for Districts in the 4×100.
In the boys’ 100 meter dash, Laird set a new meet record, posting a 10.61 finish. The former meet record of 10.77 was set by Walt Pegues of Central in 2014.
Coatesville senior Maria Ellis won the pole vault, with a 9’6” leap.
“It wasn’t my best jump, but it was OK,” said Ellis, who will pole vault at districts.
In the girls’ high jump, Coatesville sophomore Arianna Eberly finished third with a 5’0” leap.
Other local schools performed as follows:
Westtown junior Ethan Gadra won the pole vault 12’0.”
“It was a little cold, but I ended up with a new PR,” said Gadra.
In the girls’ javelin Westtown senior Eunice Jimenez finished first at 101’10.”
In the boys’ 200 meter, sophomore Julian Klenner finished first (22.03).
“I was behind, but then I kicked it in at the end,” said Klenner.
“This was the first time that Julian ran the 200 this season,” said Westtown track coach Bill Stull. “He’s versatile. He’s run a number of other events.”
The LM boys finished first and second in the 300 hurdles as senior Brandon Lancaster clocked 41:88, and sophomore Adrian Poe posted 42.94.
The LM girls won the 4×800, as the Aces’ quartet of sophomore Isabelle Kuszyk, sophomore Lauren Else, sophomore Rowan Hassman, and junior Ellie Ebby were clocked at 9:51.30. Despite the win, the quartet was not elated.
“We were hoping to qualify for Districts, but we missed by a few seconds,” said Ebby. “We were close.”
In the boys’ long jump, LM junior Romaine Rhoden won with a leap of 21’11.5” while LM sophomore Davon Tate was second at 21’4”.
In the girls’ long jump, senior Caroline Billone was second at 16’3.25”.
In the boys’ discus, senior Tyler Brown finished first at 133’0” and sophomore Davon Tate was third (125’0”).
LM senior Rashaun Cooke won the 400 with a personal-best 49.12. Although that was a district qualifying time, Cooke had already accomplished that goal earlier this season.
“My plan [today] was to run the first 200 meters fast and then stride from there,” said Cooke.” I wasn’t worried about people passing me. I was just worried about running my whole race. I didn’t focus on the other runners.” Lower Merion boys’ coach Kevin London said, “He’s getting better and better. For a kid who’s only run the 400 for two years, he’s run above and beyond where he needs to be.”
The Harriton boys won the 4×800 (8:47.78) with a quartet of senior Janter Weisch, junior Derek Goss, sophomore Guillermo Ribier-Vecino and sophomore Kyle Tassone
In the girls’ 1,600 meter run, Harriton senior Tasha Greene won with a 5:25.44 finish.
Radnor senior Kaila Rhodes finished third in the 400 with a clocking of 1:02.38.
“I need to train harder,” said Rhodes. “I better practice my 200 sprints more.”
Radnor coach Christine Anderson said she was pleased with Rhodes’s efforts this season and was happy with how the Radnor senior ran at the LM Invitational.
NOTES: A number of teams such as Conestoga and Downingtown West were supposed to compete at the Lower Merion Invitational, but opted to compete at the West Chester Invitational instead. The West Chester meet was scheduled for Friday night, but it was pushed back to Saturday because of Friday’s rain.