SHIPPENSBURG >> Upper Darby’s Wilbetrice Bodou, Michelle Brown-Jones, Anisah Richardson, Tishaun Graham and Strath Haven’s Isabel Cardi, Maddie Forbes, Grace Haase and Grace Forbes had similar goals heading into the final day of the PIAA Track and Field championships.
Victory, of course, was at the top of both lists, but both relay teams had more than medals in mind.
For Bodou, Brown-Jones, Richardson and Graham, the plan was to break Upper Darby’s school record in the 4 x 400-meter relay.
Cardi, Haase and the Forbes sisters wanted to run their best time in the 4 x 800.
Both groups accomplished their goals.
Bodou, Brown-Jones, Richardson and Graham ran 3 minutes, 51.27 seconds to set the school record and take home a bronze medal in 4 x 4.
“We were praying to God that we could do it,” Bodou said.
“Yeah, we were praying hard,” added Brown-Jones, who also tied for 10th in the Class 3A long jump.
Upper Darby’s record-setting performance was the culmination of a quest that began when the Royals ran a disappointing 4:03.69 to finish 15th at the indoor state championship meet.
Early in the season, though, breaking the school record did not seem possible. However, as the season wore on and their times dropped, the group realized that the mark was within reach and set their sights on breaking it at the state meet.
“We’re seniors and we wanted to leave with our names up there as the best,” Graham said.
The Forbes sisters, Cardi and Haase were all smiles after finishing second in the girls Class 3A 4 x 800-meter relay.
It wasn’t the place that had the Panthers smiling, it was their time of 9:05.01, which was a personal best by five seconds for this group.
“Everybody ran essentially their best times ever,” Maddie Forbes said. “It was a great way to end our senior year, besides the 4 x 4, which we still have, but the 4 x 8 is the race that is closest to our hearts.”
The group finished three seconds behind North Penn, which won the event for the second year in a row.
“North Penn are amazing competitors,” Cardi said. “We’ve run against them a few times this season so we knew it was going to be the same at Penn Relays and districts, and stuff, and (head coach Bill) Coren gave us reasonable goals. We just wanted to PR and we did that.”
The Forbes sisters and Haase came back later in the day and teamed with Olivia Malley for a sixth in the 4 x 400.
Emma Seifried of Sacred Heart earned a medal in the girls 2A 3,200 for the third straight year. She finished eighth and turned in her best time of the season. Seifried, a junior, was second in the event as a freshman and sophomore.
Tara Higgins of Penncrest finished just shy of winning a medal. She finished ninth in the Class 3A javelin with a career-best throw of 132 feet, 8 inches. She needed a throw of 136-4 to tie for eighth place. Cardnial O’Hara’s Schola Eburuoh came up short in her quest for a second medal. Eburuoh, who was sixth in the Class 3A triple jump Friday, placed 14th in the 3A long jump.
Top Photo: Upper Darby established a school record in the 4 x 400-meter relay with a third-place finish in Class 3A by, from left, Wilbetrice Bodou, Michelle Brown-Jones, Anisah Richardson and Tishaun Graham.