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North Penn, La Salle, CB West shine at Knights Invitational

Central Bucks West’s Luke Benson and North Penn’s KJ Cartwright compete in the 100 meter dash at the Knight’s Invitational on Thursday, April 12, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

TOWAMENCIN >> Jonathon Squadrito finally got to go up, up and away.

“I was feeling really good. Definitely, the weather helped me get over because it had been cold,” the La Salle senior said of his season-best high jump of 6 feet, 7 inches Thursday night. “It’s been hard getting out and getting practice in but I try to get out and do as much as I can.

“I love this meet because the high jump is all down hill. So it’s a lot easier to get up and over.”

The defending 3A State Champ in the High Jump set a meet record at the Fourth Annual Knights Invitational, leading a strong performance by the Explorers.

Host North Penn and also Central Bucks West were well-represented, as area runners and field performers got to show a little bit of what they have in mind for the spring.

“That was my best outdoors,” Squadrito said of clearing 6-7, “and now I’m trying to make it to 6-8, equal my best indoors.”

Hatboro-Horsham’s Jake Miller in the 110 meter hurdles at the Knight’s Invitational on Thursday, April 12, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Squadrito went higher than Penn Wood’s Dennis Manyeah did a year ago — when he cleared 6-6 — to establish a meet record. Another first for Squadrito this year will be competing at the Penn Relays, later this month.

“It’s gonna be crazy. I’m always hearing the hype about it and now I finally get to go and see it,” he said.

La Salle racked up the top places in the distance events, taking the top four in the 1,600, paced by Vincent Twomey in 4:27.54, and Bradden Koors (10:00.68) came from behind to win the 3,200, edging North Penn’s Brendan O’Toole (10:00.85) at the finish line.

Quite a Knight for Cartwright

North Penn’s Kasseem Cartwright II began the day by breaking the meet record in the 100 dash, clocking an 11.11, then came through again in the 400, crossing in 50.60.

“I know a lot of those guys,” Cartwright said of a tough field that included rivals Talus Gaymore of Penn Wood, Abington’s Ori Frazier and Roman Katona of Central Bucks West. “This time, I got ‘em.”

Cartwright had a strong kick down the stretch, holding off the rest of the pack. The Knights also finished first in the 110 hurdles, where Curtis Young outraced everybody for a 15.35, Tyrece Duke threw further than anyone in the javelin, with a mark of 151 feet, and Bryant Durant cleared 13 feet to take the pole vault.

North Penn’s Bryan Durant in the pole vault during the Knight’s Invitational April 12, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Defending His Title

Central Bucks West’s Jake Claricurzio raced to his second straight title in the 800, pulling past Abington’s Josh Coleman and teammate Jake Fehrman down the final straightaway. Claricurzio (2:00.37) and Fehrman (2:00.54) provided a one-two finish for the Bucks.

“It wasn’t a great time but it was a good workout. The wind was tough, but it was just good to get the win and finish with Luke too, who also ran great,” said Claricurzio, the meet record holder with a 1:53.83 (2017). “We were doing a little bit more work than we would have wanted to because of the wind, so the time wasn’t what we were shooting for at all, but workout-wise, we ran well. I love this invite, where I P.R.’d last year so I love it. It’s good competition and it’s nice to run at night.”

The Bucks dominated the 800 and also got a pair of wins from Kevin Guevara in the shot put (47-9.5) and discus (134-6).

Abington’s Emmitt Smith competes in the 4×100 at the Knight’s Invitational on Thursday, April 12, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

The Bucks took five of the top seven places in the 800, led by Claricurzio.

“I think everyone in the state had a little bit of a slow start because of the weather, but all that means is faster times later on,” said Claricurzio, who helped power the Bucks’ 4×8 to a state title last spring and the best time in the nation. “I think everyone’s still getting in shape now but sooner or later, everyone’s gonna blow up.”

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