UPPER MORELAND >> Just as the sun began to descend, dipping behind the trees off in the distance from the Upper Moreland High School track, North Penn’s Ariana Gardizy was busy pulling away from all competition in the 3,200-meter run.
The race made for a nice nightcap, finishing off a day in which Gardizy helped the Knights’ 4×800 relay charge to a first-place finish at the first ever Upper Moreland Invitational.
“This is a really nice facility and it’s nice that on a windy day like this, you’re kind of underneath everything, blocked from the wind and everything,” Gardizy said. “I really like it.
“I’m coming off a great winter season,” she said of taking the momentum outdoors. “This is my senior year so I wanna go off with a bang.”
Gardizy and the Knights found plenty of success in their first trip to Upper Moreland, earning firsts in several events and pushing across several top finishers in the distance races.
Gardizy, a pivotal piece to last year’s PIAA-3A State Title team, is back doing her thing for the Knights.
“In the 4×8, I felt good. I even split that (1:09, 2:19) so I need to work on getting speed in the first lap,” she said. “The two-mile, I wasn’t that confident in, just because this past week I’ve had a little soreness in my shin area — I gotta start icing that.
“So the two-mile felt more like a workout — I even split that again. It was nice weather so I was hoping for a better time but just before the race, I knew I’d be better off trying to even split.”
Gardizy got the win in 11 minutes, 8.44 seconds, with teammate Olivia Dyer racing to second in 11:34.62 to give the Knights a one-two finish. Add freshman Jaime Diedel to the mix and the Knights placed three in the top seven.
North Penn’s 4×8 won comfortably in 9:39.80, with Upper Dublin crossing second in 10:04.40.
Other North Penn wins included Natalie Kwortnik’s leap of 18-0.5, which was tops in the long jump.
Madeline Spaulding of Upper Dublin had plenty of juice left in the 800, motoring down the final stretch to hold off Cheltenham’s Arianna Wallace by 21 hundredths of a second.
“Our team has been working really hard together and we set a lot of goals,” Spaulding said. “We’re going after them.”
Upper Dublin came in and performed well in a variety of events, including the exploits of Madison Langley-Walker, first in the 300 hurdles and triple jump.
Camaryn Rodriguez of Methacton topped the field in the girls pole vault, clearing 11 feet, 6 inches.
The Warrior junior finished atop Hatboro-Horsham’s Allison Riches, who got over 11-0 for second, and Methacton’s Nickolina Annelli got 10-6 to give the Warriors two of the top three spots.
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