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Penncrest’s Wildermuth takes coach up on his challenge

CALN >> It wasn’t a super Saturday for Delaware County boys trying to put their best foot forward at the District 1 3A track and field championships.
No individual or relay team won a gold medal. The top local finisher was Evan Wildermuth of Penncrest, who ripped a personal-best of 22-2½ to take silver in the long jump at chilly, breezy Coatesville High.
Sprinter Philip Shovlin (Springfield) finished third in the 100 meters. Keon Rantin (Glen Mills) was third in the 200. Peter Cook (Radnor) was third in the 800 meters. That was it for marquee highlights.
If Dennis Manyeah of Penn Wood hadn’t won the high jump Friday, it would have been the first time since 2001, when started keeping full records, that the Delco boys were shut out of gold at the districts.
That said, several Delco guys qualified for the state championships in Shippensburg, some for the first time.
Wildermuth is among the rookies. He was all smiles after his leap as he answered the personal challenge put to him by a coach. The senior got some good air, let himself fly and later put an exclamation point on the day, posing with the man whose personal record he tied, and who helped him get there — Lions long jump coach Elijah Trusty.
“I definitely wasn’t expecting this,” Windermuth said. “My best was 22-0 the whole year. So to PR on the last jump was definitely fun. My coach came up to me before the jump and said, ‘beat me.’ Beat his personal record. That gave me a little bit of fire.”
Then there was Shovlin, who showed serious sprinting speed in clocking 10.79 in the 100 meters, a whisker behind Jeremy Kennings (Downingtown East), who ran 10.78. Sayyid Saunders (Harry S Truman) won the event in 10.66.
“The first and second place kids, they came in seeded higher than me so I did what I could,” Shovlin said. “I’m happy. Came in (seeded) fourth, got third, I can’t really complain about that.”
Framed against the frustration of the districts last year, Shovlin was ready to break into his happy dance — you know, the stuff football players like him have been known to do after a touchdown.
“Last year I finished second-to-last in the districts,” Shovlin said. “There were like 30-some people there. This was a huge jump for me. Even making it to finals, I was content with that. But I showed out. Did what I can.”
Rantin clocked 21.54 to finish third in the 200 meters. He ran shoulder-to-shoulder with Saunders, who was second in 21:51.
Rantin’s effort reduced the pain from sub-par performance by the Bulls’ shot put team that some felt was capable of going 1-2-3.
Instead, Se Robinson was fifth with a push of 49-11.75, D’Amon Bell sixth with 49.9.5. Both qualified for states. Quadir Gibson, who threw the shot 55-1 at the Golden Ram Invitational, managed just 46-9, 10th-best.
Co Cummings won the shot with a heave of 53-8 and West Chester Rustin teammate Edem Asamoa was third in 50-09.
“I’m usually a 53, 54-foot thrower,” Bell said. “For me to throw it 49, it was kind of a downgrade. I wasn’t really satisfied with my throws today but I’m glad I got to move on so I could get a chance next week.”
Robinson also is glad to advance after a lackluster performance. Like Bell, he had technique issues.
“I also wasn’t getting my foot under me,” Robinson said. “And my punch at the end, it wasn’t as explosive as it was.”
Finally, there was Cooke, who lopped a second off his previous best in the 800 with a time of 1:54.72.
“I’m very happy,” Cooke said. “I knew I had to get out fast because it was a perfect day to run. I knew someone was going to bring it out. So I just made sure to get out fast and I got out well and I just tucked behind the first and the second-place guy.”



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