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Coatesville wins 16th straight Ches-Mont League track & field crown

CALN >> The 40th annual Ches-Mont Boys’ Track & Field Championships on Wednesday went much like it regularly has over the last decade-plus: with Coatesville dominating the team competition amid a slew of excellent individual performances.

In all, the Red Raiders notched seven gold medals en route to the program’s 16th consecutive team title. In 2016, Coatesville squeaked out a two-point triumph, but the Raiders have been dominant in the last two, winning by a combined 118.

Great Valley’s Luke Lasure goes over the bar at 13 feet 6 inches at the Ches-Mont Championships Wednesday at Coatesville Area High School. (PETE BANNAN)

“The Ches-Mont title is important to Coatesville,” said Raiders’ head coach Damien Henry. “We want to keep it going and I wanted the seniors to go out with a championship.”

The final point total had Coatesville with 161, which was 46 ahead of the runner-up from Downingtown West. Downingtown East (88) and West Chester East (77) rounded out the top four. The Raiders won four of the first five events and never looked back.

“This meet was dedicated to our jump coach Carl Smith,” Henry said. “He is very special to the program and he’s been going through some things.

“So our kids were motivated, everyone bought into our message and that’s how we got off to a fast start.”

Coatesville boasted three individual repeat champions, including senior Jared Elters, junior Naheem Moore and sophomore Ricky Ortega, who is also Coatesville’s star quarterback in the fall.

“All three of those guys love to represent Coatesville and I am glad they are on our side,” Henry said.

Elters captured his third straight crown in the 110-meter hurdles, and his winning time (14.56) was 18-hundreths better than a year ago. Signed on to run track at Penn, Elters said that his best effort in the event is yet to come.

“I can’t say that I knew I would win three (titles), so it’s awesome that I’ve been able to get here,” Elters said. “The Ches-Mont is a very competitive league.

“A lot of other guys come up to me and say that they know I am the guy to beat.”

Henry added: “Jared’s first race as a freshman, he was crying after the finish. Now he is a three-time Ches-Mont champion, a district champ last year and he is going to an Ivy League school. It’s a tremendous story.”

Moore successfully defended his title in the triple jump with a distance (45-9) that was a foot and a half better than a year earlier. And Ortega edged out football teammates Aaron and Avery Young to win the javelin (178-9).

“In the javelin, you use more of your hips, where in football, it’s more the arm,” Ortega explained. “I think track helps my arm strength for football.”

Junior sprinter Eric Kirk grabbed a redemptive victory in the 100 dash, and helped the Raiders notch a win in the 4×100 relay (42.12). Kirk was the runner-up in the 100 a year ago, missing out on a title by four-hundredths of a second.

“It meant a lot to me especially after what happened last year,” he said. “All season it’s been on my mind.”

The Raiders also got a first place finish from Patrick Ahmed in the long jump (21-9), as well as a win from a familiar name in Coatesville athletics. Sophomore Donovan Brickus won the high jump with a personal best 6-2, which he cleared in his first attempt. It was a district qualifying jump for the first-time league champ.

“Every single one of (the Brickus athletes from Coatesville) are my cousins, including (basketball star) Jhamir,” Brickus pointed out.

The only other repeat winner was Unionville’s Brett Wagner, who continued his dominance in the 400 by defending his title with a personal best time of 49.29. The senior nipped West Chester East’s Jared Cooper by about a half second.

“I remember going hard on the first curve, trying to maintain my pace on the straight away, pushing on the second curve and giving it all I had in the last straight away,” Wagner said.

Cooper came back with a vengeance, however, in the anchor leg of the 4×400 relay, helping the Vikings to a crown in a school record time of 3:24.83. The third relay, the 4×800, went to Downingtown East (with Alex Dyba, Tom Leadbeater, Russel Winters and Aaron Stoyack).

One of the closest events of the day was also the lengthiest event, as West Chester Henderson’s Brian Zoretic slipped past West Chester East’s Domenic Moser in the final five meters to grab the win in the 3,200 by 27-hundredths of a second (9:59.13).

In the 1,600, West Chester East sophomore Josh Lewin ran down West Chester Henderson’s Spencer Smucker in the final 50 meters to win in 4:21.69. And Evan Kaiser led the way as Downingtown West went 1-2-3 in the 800. His time of 1:58.66 was a personal best.

Other gold medalists included Bishop Shanahan’s Matthew Murray  and Ricky Zink in the shot put (49-21/2) and 200 (21.63), respectively; West Chester Rustin’s Charles Dever in the pole vault (15-0); Great Valley’s Tom Dyer in the discus (134-4) and West Chester East’s Charlie Webb in the 300 hurdles (40.17).

“My height definitely helps,” said Webb, a 6-foot-4 junior. “But sometimes, if I’m not careful, I’ll go too high over the hurdle and lose time.”

The most prominent takeaway, however, was Coatesville’s continued dominance.

“I had no doubt heading in that our team would do what we needed to do to put up a winning performance,” Elters said. “We take it as motivation – that the people that came before us did so well, and that we have to uphold that standard.”

Ortega added: “We talked about the streak in the locker room before this meet. Obviously we wanted to keep the tradition going. We didn’t want to be the group that messed it up.”

40th annual Ches-Mont Boys’ Track and Field Championships

  1. Coatesville 161; 2. Downingtown West 105; 3. Downingtown East 88; 4. West Chester East 77; 5. Bishop Shanahan 53; 6. Avon Grove 43; 7. Great Valley 33; 7. West Chester Henderson 33; 9. Unionville 31; 10. West Chester Rustin 28; 11. Kennett 23; 12. Octorara 21; 13. Sun Valley 4; 14. Oxford 2.

4×800 relay – 1. Downingtown East (Dyba, Leadbeater, Winters, Stoyack) 8:19.41; 1. 110 hurdles – 1. Elters (C) 14.56; 100 – 1. Kirk (C) 11.04; Javelin – 1. Otrega (C) 178-9; Triple jump – 1. Moore (45-9); Shot put – 1. Murray (BS) 49-21/2; 1,600 – 1. Lewin (WCE) 4:21.69; 4×100 relay – Coatesville (Miles, Miller, Kirk, Aa. Young) 42.12; Pole vault – 1. Dever (WCR) 15-0; 400 – 1. Wagner (U) 49.29; 1. 300 hurdles – Webb (WCE) 40.17; 800 – 1. Kaiser (DW) 1:58.66; 200 – 1. Zink (BS) 21.63; High jump – 1. Brickus (C) 6-2; Discus – 1. Dyer (GV) 134-4; 3,200 – 1. Zoretic (WCH) 9:59.13; Long jump – 1. Ahmed (C) 21-9; 4×400 relay – 1. West Chester East (Dailey, Lewin, Kushner, Cooper) 3:24.83.       






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