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Upper Moreland Invite: An 800 finish to remember for Miller, Hurst

Familiar races, familiar faces…
“It was a lot of fun. I love those guys, man,” said a smiling Jack Miller of Jenkintown, moments after he emerged victorious from a tight pack in the 800-meter run Friday night. “(Upper Moreland’s) Connor (Hurst is) a great runner. I really wanted that one though.
“I know all of these guys. It’s a lot more fun to race against guys you know. There’s a lot more motivation, bragging rights and everything.”
Miller nudged across the finish line five hundredths of a second before Hurst in one of the most entertaining and well-contested races of the evening at the first ever Upper Moreland Invitational.
“A lot of fun to just come out here — we’re close to home,” said Miller. “It’s beautiful out for the first time in a while so it’s just a good day to get in a good run.”
And race.
Miller outlasted a field of 27 runners in the 800, crossing the finish line in 2:03.33. After leading the Drakes to a fifth-place finish in the state (Class A) during cross-country season, Miller’s exploits have expanded.
“I’m really more of a distance guy but I’ve been moving down a little bit — a lot of 800 stuff so I definitely like it,” he said. “I definitely want to do it more.”
Miller’s victory went along nicely with a second-place finish from teammate Joshua Jackson in the 1,600. The Drakes are surging.
“We still have a long way to go before districts and states but there’s definitely a lot of time to improve, to build as a team and as individuals,” Miller said.
Coming on strong >> Hurst brought the heat in that 800, pushing to the limit down the final straightaway.
“I really thought I got him, but I gave him a little too much at the 200,” Hurst said of Miller, a friend and rival. “He’s a junior, I’m a senior, so we’ve been running against each other for three years now.
“I just wanna stick with him and keep going. We push each other pretty far so it’s good.”
Hurst has gotten off to a tremendous start, having already broke two minutes in the half mile. He and the Bears also enjoyed being party hosts for the first time.
Said Hurst: “This is our first one. And when our coach (Doug Smith) told us, we were so happy.”
Go, Ghosts >> Abington’s Rorie Spencer had herself a night, placing second in the 400 and outracing everyone in the 200.
“The 200’s challenging but I like it a lot. It’s one of my favorites,” she said after crossing the line with a winning time of 25.15.
Spencer was able to hold off Natalie Kwortnik of North Penn, the two having run together in the past. Spencer also pushed to a 1:00.25 in the 400, second in a field of 36 competitors in the event.
“I’m pretty confident (about the season). I qualified for the 100 and 200 for districts,” she said, “and I’m working on the 400.”
Abington Friends perking up >> In victories over Westtown, the Abington Friends boys and girls teams displayed some pretty impressive balance throughout the roster.
Senior captain Madison Tillmann led the way, winning the 800, the 1,600, and anchoring the 4×400 relay team.
Freshman Aby Camarou, meanwhile, broke the school record in the triple jump while another freshman, Zaniyyah Ross, surpassed her own school record in the high jump.
On the Boys’ side, junior co-captains Jack and Chase Balick set the pace in the running events. Also, senior Ace Bibbs brought home 11 total points in the 100, 200, and high jump.

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