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Villa Maria’s Erin Zimmerman’s record-setting javelin throw set pace for Chesco athletes at District 1 championships

PETE BANNAN – DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA Erin Zimmerman of VIlla Maria Academy won the javelin Friday at the District One track and field championships, held at Coatesville Area High School. Her throw of 154-11 set a new District 1 meet record.

Caln – When Villa Maria Academy senior Erin Zimmerman let loose her final javelin throw Friday at the PIAA District 1 Track & Field Championships at Coatesville High School, she had no idea it broke the district meet record by 10 feet.

“It felt better than my earlier throws, but didn’t really feel that great,” said Zimmerman. “Then I saw where it finished, and I thought, ‘That looks good,’ and then when I heard it went as far as it did, I was thrilled.”

Zimmerman’s final (sixth) toss at the Class AAA girls’ javelin final was 154-11, breaking the record of 144-7 set at the 2013 district championships. Her throw currently ranks third in the state of Pennsylvania, and eighth in the nation.

To view a photo gallery of Chester County athletes at Friday’s District 1 Track & Field Championships, click here

Zimmerman’s best throw before Friday was 149-11 at the Penn Relays last month. Last year at Districts, Zimmerman threw the javelin 138 feet. So what has been the reason for her rapid improvement?

“Coach Joe Gala has been great, teaching me lots of techniques that I’ve been able to use [recently],” said Zimmerman. “He’s had me move from a long run to a shorter run, adding force and using my hips more.”

In the fall, Zimmerman will be attending the Air Force Academy, for whom she will play volleyball. But she’s open to throwing the javelin for Air Force, too, if it’s possible.

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Friday also was a good throwing day at the District 1 championships for Avon Grove senior Chloee Kleespies, who finished first in shot put with a state-qualifying mark of 40-10. Her top mark came on the third of her six throws, and earned her a repeat trip to States.

“On my first throw, I just wanted to be calm and collected, get off a good first throw, and I did, at 40-1,” said Kleespies. “On my third throw, I got a little angry, worked up – and whenever I get a little angry, that’s when a get a PR.”

Nine days ago, Kleespies finished first in the shot put at the Ches-Mont Championships for the third consecutive year with a toss of 40.09.75, and four days before that placed first with a winning mark of 41-8 at the 12th Annual Hoka One Henderson Invitational. This fall, Kleespies will be headed to University of Toledo, where she will compete in both volleyball and track and field.

“My mom was a volleyball player, and my Dad was a thrower [in college],” said Kleespies.

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Friday also was a good throwing day for Kennett senior Alec Sheehan, who finished first in the Class AAA boys discus final, with a state-qualifying throw of 168-09 on his final heave (the second-place finisher threw 156-05).

Two other Chesco throwers qualified for States in the AAA boys’ discus final – West Chester Rustin senior Edem Asamoa (third, 155-10) and West Chester East senior Thomas Silva (fourth, 153-10).

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In the running preliminaries Friday at the District 1 Track & Field Championships, a good number of Chesco runners advanced to Saturday’s finals, particularly Bishop Shanahan. The Eagles’ boys team brought more than half-a-dozen runners to the District 1 meet Friday, and all of them advanced to Saturday’s finals.

In Friday’s AAA boys’ 4×100 relay preliminaries, the Bishop Shanahan foursome of Ian Alleyne, Nate Alleyne, Ricky Zink and Keegan Hughes advanced to the finals with a state-qualifying (and personal record) mark of 42.27.

“Our 4×100 team hasn’t been together very long, but we spent a lot of time the last couple of weeks on handoffs,” said Nate Alleyne, who was part of Shanahan’s first-place 4×200 relay team last winter at indoor States.

Zink, Nate Alleyne, Hughes and Josh Hoey advanced to Saturday’s finals in the AAA boys’ 4×400 relay with a state-qualifying and field-best 3:19.46.

Nate Alleyne advanced to Saturday’s AAA boys’ 800 meter run final with a state-qualifying time of 48.88.

Hughes advanced to Saturday’s finals in the AAA boys’ 300-meter hurdles with a state-qualifying time of 39.51, tops in the preliminary field.

Three Shanahan runners advanced to Saturday’s AAA boys 800-meter run final – junior Josh Hoey, who led the field with a state-qualifying 1:57.01; freshman Jonah Hoey; and junior Logan Yoquinto.

Nate Alleyne also advanced to Saturday’s finals of the AAA boys 200-meter dash.

Bishop Shanahan also advanced to the AAA girls’ 4×800 finals.

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Downingtown East senior Jeremy Jennings had the fastest time in the boys AAA 100-meter dash preliminaries Friday, with a state-qualifying 10.79. No surprise there, as last spring he finished first at Districts and third at States, with a mark of 10.63.

Jennings, who will be playing football for Temple University this fall, said, “I felt pretty good on this run today, I’ve been working on my start with Coach Horsey. I was running today to make it to tomorrow. … I’m just trying to keep grinding, to get a first place for Downingtown East in the 100 and the 4×100 [Saturday].”

Downingtown West senior A.J. Bills also posted a state-qualifying time of 11.06 in the 100 prelims. Other Chesco runners who advanced to Saturday’s finals in the AAA boys’ 100 meter dash included Downingtown East junior Brassir Stocker, Coatesville sophomore Eric Kirk, Coatesville senior Jayland Washington and Conestoga senior Nicolas Orozco.

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Coatesville had a sizable number of athletes who advanced to Saturday’s finals. Three Red Raider sophomores advanced to Saturday’s finals in the AAA girls’ 100-meter dash – Arianna Eberly, Porsha Miles and Wiltricia Snoh. Conestoga junior Grace Lanouette also advanced to the finals.

Coatesville also had the second-best time in the AAA girls’ 4×400 preliminary field, posting a state-qualifying mark of 3:54.21 with a quartet of Sammie Miller, Makayla Eberly, Arianna Eberly and Porsha Miles.

The Coatesville quartet of C’Ana Navarro, Naya Wright, Porsha Miles and Arianna Eberly advanced to Saturday’s finals in the AAA girls’ 4×100 preliminaries with a state-qualifying (and personal-best) 47.84.

“We were running against the wind, but we put a lot of heart into this race,” said Eberly. “The Coatesville record in the girls’ 4×100 is 47.48, so we’ll be shooting for that on Saturday.”

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In the AAA boys’ 4×100 relay preliminaries, both the Coatesville quartet of Jayland Washington, Eric Kirk, Aaron Young and Terrance Laird (42.24); and the Downingtown East foursome of Quaran Brown, Jeremy Jennings, Dan Andris and Brassir Stocker (42.38) advanced to Saturday’s finals with state-qualifying times.

Four Chesco runners advanced to Saturday’s finals in the AAA boys’ 1,600 meter run – Kennett senior Austin Maxwell, West Chester Henderson junior Spencer Smucker, West Chester Rustin senior Brandon Hontz and Coatesville senior Colin Mihalak.

Downingtown West senior Emma Planck advanced to Saturday’s finals in the AAA girls’ 1,600 meter run.

Downingtown East senior Evelyn Berecz advanced to Saturday’s finals in the AAA girls’ 100 hurdles, while Coatesville junior Jared Elters advanced to the finals of the AAA boys’ 110 meter hurdles.

In the AAA girls’ 400 meter dash preliminaries, Downingtown East junior Caroline Roumpz qualified for Saturday’s finals.

Downingtown East senior Mitchell Gill (49.53) and Unionville junior Brett Wagner (49.66) both advanced to the AAA boys’ 800 meter run with state-qualifying times.

Devon Prep sophomore Jake Thomas advanced to Saturday’s AA boys’ 400-meter run final.

In the AAA boys triple jump finals, Coatesville sophomore Naheem Moore finished fifth with a state-qualifying mark of 45-06.25; while in the AAA girls high jump finals, West Chester East senior Caroline Lewis finished sixth with a state-qualifying leap of 5-3.

Four Chesco runners (two from Coatesville) advanced to Saturday’s AAA girls 800-meter run final – Red Raider senior Makayla Eberly (state-qualifying 2:15.83, tops in the preliminary field); Red Raider sophomore Sammie Miller (state-qualifying 2:16.89); Great Valley sophomore Amy Willig (state-qualifying 2:17.97); and Kennett junior Claire Dawyot.

Great Valley junior Brett Zatlin advanced to Saturday’s AAA boys 800-meter run final.

In the AAA 200 meter dash preliminaries, Conestoga junior Grace Lanouette (state-qualifying 25.45) and Coatesville senior C’Ana Navarro advanced to the girls’ finals; while Coatesville senior Terrance Laird, Downingtown East junior Brassir Stocker, and Downingtown West senior A.J. Bills advanced to the boys’ finals.

Downingtown East advanced to Saturday’s finals of the AAA girls’ 4×800 with a state-qualifying time of 9:28.22, while West Chester Henderson advanced to Saturday’s finals of the AAA boys 4×800.

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