WARMINSTER >> Even with the forecast of rain shuffling things around a bit for this weekend, the North Penn girls and Central Bucks West boys 4×8’s arrived right on schedule Friday night, pulling away to victories and giving their teams a head start at the Suburban One League Continental Conference Championships.
“I feel like we all ran really well,” the Knights’ Mikaela Vlasic said of North Penn’s winning foursome of Jenna Webb, Ariana Gardizy, Uche Nwogwugwu and herself running anchor. “Jenna had Pennridge to run with, which I thought was good, pushed her to a really good time. And then we all got to run pretty comfortably.”
The CB West boys had Pennridge approaching quickly in the rear-view mirror.
“Austin (Howell’s) a great runner so when I knew he was getting the baton right after me, I had to run hard to get away from him because I knew he’d be coming,” Bucks anchor man Jake Claricurzio said. “People were yelling at me that he was coming so I knew I had to kick.”
Claricurzio’s kick propelled the Bucks to first in 7 minutes, 51.47 seconds and the North Penn girls crossed first in 9:19.32 as the SOL Continental’s got under way at chilly William Tennent High School.
And now everybody can catch their breath a bit, as Day Two was moved to Monday, back at Tennent, for a 3 p.m. start.
“We have a couple more days to rest up,” Vlasic said, “because we’re all gonna be doing a lot of events. So I feel like that definitely works to our benefit.”
Pennridge stayed with the Knights early and secured a fourth-place finish in the 4×8 in 9:34.87. CB West was second in 9:22.63 and CB East third in 9:24.42.
The North Penn girls, perfect in dual-meet competition, came in with the top 4×8 time in the state this season, a blistering 8:55.88 that they ran at Penn Relays. Friday provided a nice start to what could be a tremendous postseason.
“For sure,” Vlasic said, “because the competition in our state is really good this year, especially Penn Wood, Strath Haven, so I feel like that will really help us be where we wanna be at the end of the season.”
Also on the track, Pennridge’s Kouri Peace ran the state’s fastest time in the 200 this spring, cranking out a 24.41 for the top prelim in the 200. She also ran the fastest 100 prelim with a time of 12.12.
Pennridge’s success extended out to the field on the boys side, as the Rams — unbeaten in the dual-meet season — got a first-place finish from Griffin McMann in the shot put as well as the fastest 100 prelim time from Josh Pinkney (10.98) and the best 110 hurdles time from Alex Dimon (14.64).
The Bucks held off Pennridge by three seconds in the 4×8.
“That was the goal today,” Claricurzio said of getting the gold, “so it feels good to achieve that.”
Brian Baker, Luke Fehrman, Alec Hoffer and Claricurzio take their victory — and two days rest — into Monday.
“Getting more sleep, resting your legs,” Vlasic said of the advantage of the extra time, “because we are all stacked on the events for Monday so to be as healthy and as rested as possible is important.”
Top Photo: North Penn’s Mikaela Vlasic takes the baton from Uche Nwogwugwu to begin the anchor leg of the 4×800 meter relay at the Suburban One League Continental Conference Championships on Friday, May 12, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)