CALN >> The season was running out on Haverford’s 4 X 800 relay team when senior anchor James Abrahams instinctually dove head-first across the finish line.
Abrahams went spinning this way and that while the crowd at the District 1 track and field championships Saturday let out a massive ‘ooooohhhh.’
And yes, it left a mark.
Except for a bruised shoulder, Abrahams is OK. The same can be said of the Fords’ relay team composed of three sophomores and Abrahams. The lunge catapulted them into the state championships at Shippensburg.
The Fords finished eighth by an Abrahams head and shoulder, in a time of 7:58.41. It’s safe to say he won’t soon be forgotten by that relay from Council Rock South, which finished ninth in 7:58.50.
“I just went for it,” said Abrahams, who ran his second straight personal-best in the meet, blowing through 800 meters in 1:54. “This was special, absolutely. I just wanted to give the sophomores a chance to experience states.”
Abrahams will make his second straight trip to states, as he qualified in the 1,600 last year. Brendan Campbell, Aiden Tomov and Erik McCallion get their first shot at Shippensburg. It’s safe to say Abrahams showed them what it takes to compete.
McCallion, who ran the third leg, was inspired enough by Abrahams’ grit and determination that he drove to Concord and ran a couple of miles while assisting on three goals in the Fords’ 8-4 District 1 3A lacrosse loss to Garnet Valley.
“What I’ve just tried to do the whole year is just get James in the best position for him to make the best move he can,” McCallion said. “I saw the big gap between me and the pack and I just thought, ‘Close it the best way I could.’ Luckily James had enough in him to help us qualify.”
Though the Fords get one more shot to medal, they’ve already made coach Aaron Hunter’s scrapbook.
“They really gave it their all,” Hunter said. “You could see it in their face, the way they really wanted it. Breaking that eight-minute mark was their goal. And you could just see that it really lit them up. Especially that anchor. They closed almost a 50-meter gap to steal that eighth spot.”
States will be a victory lap of sorts for Abrahams, who has shown his teammates that performance is what you do, not what you say.
“The mile run has always been his event,” Hunter said. “He didn’t run well in that here (Friday) but he definitely wanted to help his teammates make it to states. The fact that he was able to bounce back and get his head straight and run that kind of anchor leg definitely shows how much he was willing to push for his teammates. I’m happy for him. I’m proud of him and the whole team.”
The Penn Wood 4 X 400 and 4 X 800 relay teams both qualified for states. But the Patriots weren’t at all happy with the performances.
Favored to win or place in the top three in both events, the Patriots finished fifth in the 4 X 800 (7:56.55) and sixth in the 4 X 400 (3:22.28).
“We can run better than this,” Todd Jackson said. “Hopefully when we come to the states we’ll be ready. Next week will be much more intense.”
James Jackson of Chester ran 39.99 in the 300 intermediate hurdles, edging Rami Marsh (40.11) of Glen Mills for sixth place and qualifying for the states.
“It’s great and it’s bittersweet,” Jackson said of his first trip to Shippensburg. “I false-started in the 110s. That’s my premier event. I was planning on winning it. I guess I got happy at the start. But it’s my first time breaking 40 all season in the 300s. So I’m happy with it. And I’m going to states.”
Rami Marsh also qualified in the 110 meter high hurdles, finishing fifth in 15.31.
Liam Galligan of Springfield qualified for states in the 1,600 as he stretched out at the finish line to claim fifth in 4:20.68.
Galligan than comforted senior teammate Joseph Cardie, who was ninth.
“I was not worried about getting first place,” McGalligan said. “I was just worried about getting to states. And I knew I had to fight for that last place. I was in fourth, fifth place and I knew I had to fight.”