PHOENIXVILLE >> Many of this year’s Owen J. Roberts High School girls track & field squad were members of last season’s Wildcat crew that captured the Pioneer Athletic Conference championship.
So those Wildcats were back for more with hopes of a repeat in 2017 at Washington Field Thursday and Friday.
And, indeed, Owen J. Roberts did secure its repeat title by scoring 181 points to record its back-to-back titles. Led by outstanding performances from Teneisha Myers, Ally Brunton and Rae Rae Taylor, Owen J. Roberts achieved its first-place goal and will be sending a large cast of athletes to the District 1 Championships next weekend at Coatesville.
Perkiomen Valley’s brilliant sophomore, Christina Warren, enjoyed a spectacular weekend by winning three events and finishing second to Methacton’s Amy Domenick in the 300 intermediate hurdles. Warren captured the 100 hurdles (14.69), long jump (17-4½) and triple jump in a meet-record 39-3.
Besides the headliners, OJR head coach Tim Marcoe was fortunate to have the Wildcats do well up and down the line, exceeding their expected finishes based on seeding in each event. Marcoe is now 2-for-2 in PAC championships as head coach of the Owen J. Roberts girls track team.
“It’s a huge part of it,” Marcoe said of the big-meet returning experience. “We have a lot of seniors for leadership. Everybody is buying into the system, and the seniors are taking control.”
He credited Myers with a tremendous individual showing.
“She won the 400 and the 200, which was awesome. Ally Brunton won the 1,600 for the second year in a row. It’s a team event, and they came together.”
The Wildcats swept the top three finishes in the 400-meter dash to earn 24 team points thanks to Myers, Morgan Shronk and Angela Feiser. Marcoe said most observers will view that event as the most important point, but he feels the larger picture tells the entire tale.
“We tried really hard this season,” said Myers. “We have never been more ready than we are.”
Myers came through with a 57.5 in the 400 to establish a personal best in that event.
“I’m really happy with that,” said Myers. “It was a great way to end.”
When matters came up short for what she wanted in the 100, Myers turned her attention and focus to the 200 and 400. That is how more of our workouts are based. I think I am stronger in the 2 and 4.”
Aiding the cause in the field, Taylor became a double winner in the javelin (personal-best 117-4) and shot put (personal-best 34-0¾).
“I have been working a whole lot,” said Taylor of her javelin success Thursday. “I hit all the points. I rip my arm and bring the speed.”
Taylor said she was pushed to be at her best by many of the other fine javelin throwers in the PAC, which included second-place Maddie Alvaro of OJR and third-place Riley Kappenstein of Phoenixville.
Taylor plans to attend Penn State-Harrisburg next year and will pursue track & field at the collegiate level.
Brunton once again used her patented late kick to pull away to victory in the 1,600. Brunton was part of a three-way battle against Perkiomen Valley’s Julia Dorley and Boyertown’s Jillian Kasitz before emerging victorious.
“It was very tight,” said Brunton, who will be competing for the University of Pittsburgh next year. “I went out fast in the beginning and then I just tried to hang on. With 300 to go, I gave it my all.
“The team has been awesome. We are doing what we know how to do. We want to be the best team in the league.”
Methacton’s Domenick ran a personal record of 45.6 in winning the 300 hurdles.
“A lot of people pushed me,” said Domenick. “I haven’t had much competition all season so it was good to have people to push me. This is most definitely my favorite event.”
Besides the hurdles, Domenick does the sprints and throws the javelin.
Domenick also ran the second leg of the Warriors’ winning 4×100 relay. There, she teamed with Rainah Dunham, Gianna Fazio and anchor Lauren Prusacki to come out on top. Methacton posted a PR of 49.36.
“Three of us have been running together for the past three years,” said Fazio, pointing out that all but one of the handoffs were executed smoothly.
Norristown junior Jonae Cook won the 100 in 12.39 seconds. She and the rest of the Eagles are completing their first season in the PAC after previously being a member of the Suburan One League. So she has been up against top competition in both circuits.
“I have been running against the state’s best,” said Cook. “It helps.”
She said the 100 is her favorite race.
“It’s intense and I like running intense races,” said Cook.
Spring-Ford opened the day with a victory in the Rams’ signature event, the 4×800 relay. The Rams ran a 9:38.
The Spring-Ford team consisted of Emily Smith, Sydney Gauster, Gabriella Bamford and Nandina Patel. The team is comprised of all underclassmen who have been successful in big racers already and figure to do so for the next several years.
The Rams’ Melissa Israel, a sophomore, won the pole vault at 11-4, Thursday.
“It was on my third attempt,” said Israel, who used to be a gymnast. “I have been doing the pole vault for seven months. I had a lot of injuries so I just decided to try this. I had some friends who did it.”
Pottstown’s Gigi Mitchell won the girls’ discus early Friday afternoon with a 114-11, which she hit on her first throw, before departing for Pottstown’s prom. Mitchell’s mark stood up against the rest of the competition later in the afternoon with Boyertown’s Kayla Yacovone coming closest with her 111-8.