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Rain fails to dampen performance of Chesco boys at Districts

Caln >> Saturday’s chilling rain didn’t dampen the performance of some of Chester County’s top boys’ athletes on the second (and final) day of the PIAA District 1 Track & Field Championships.
One of the busiest Chester County boys at the Championships was Bishop Shanahan senior Rick Zink, who finished first in the Class AAA 400 meter dash (48.61), placed second in the 200 meter dash (21.51), and was part of the Eagles’ 4×400 squad (3:19.49) that finished second in the Class AAA final.
“When I crossed the finish line after winning the 400, I was really pumped up,” said Zink. “I hollered, ‘Let’s go!’ and hugged [Shanahan grad] Keegan Hughes, who is running at Villanova and is my mentor.”
Zink joined Shanahan seniors Aidan Bracken and Logan Yoquinto, and sophomore Jonah Hoey for the 4×400 relay that finished second in the finals. Yoquinto will be running for the track team at Ursinus next fall. Hoey is the youngest of the three Hoey brothers (Jackson, Josh, Jonah) who have carved out top scholastic running careers.
Hoey finished second in the Class AAA 1,600 meter run (4:21.04) and will be headed to States for that event too.
“I haven’t raced the 1,600 that much yet,” said Hoey. “Last year, I ran the 800, but started to compete in the 1,600 to increase my range and elasticity.”
Saturday was a productive day for the host Coatesville boys too, led by University of Pennsylvania-bound senior Jared Elters, who successfully defended his Class AAA title in the 110 hurdles. He was fastest in the semifinals with a mark of 14.79, then won the final with a mark of 14.65.
Elters was asked what he learned from dealing with Saturday’s weather conditions, which caused a postponement of the boys’ Class AA and AAA pole vault to today (Sunday) in West Conshohocken.
“The wind was in our favor, but the slippery surface [with the rain] didn’t help much – but sometimes in track you have to learn how to overcome [adverse] conditions and obstacles that come your way,” said Elters. “If the conditions are a little adverse [at States], I would try to stay within the limits of what I can do, and stay confident in my abilities.”
Coatesville junior Eric Kirk, who was second in 100 meter dash AAA semifinals with a clocking of 11.01, finished fourth in the final with a time of 10.94.
“I was hoping for a top five finish, to score points for our team,” said Kirk, who competed in States last year, advancing to the semifinal. “I’ll look at film of this race and try to improve on my performance for States.”
Two spots behind Kirk in the Class AAA 100 meter finals was Downingtown East senior Brassir Stocker, who finished sixth (10.96).
Chester County had two runners in the top eight at the Class AAA 200 meter dash finals – Zink and West Chester East senior Jared Cooper (fifth place, 22.46).
A trio of Chesco runners made it into the top eight in the Class AAA 400 meter dash finals – Zink, Conestoga senior Lex Forge (third place, 49.34) and Unionville senior Brett Wagner (sixth, 49.80).
Three Chester County runners made the top 12 at the Class 1,600 meter run – Hoey, Downingtown West senior Evan Kaiser (fourth, 4:22.39) and Kennett junior Davis Piercy (12th, 4:32.90).
West Chester Henderson’s Spencer Smucker finished second at the 3,200 meter run (9:25.01) to Neshaminy senior Rusty Kujdych (9:22.77).
“I felt that I performed pretty well today,” said Smucker. “The race went out fairly slow and I got boxed in for the first mile. But once we hit the second mile I felt really good because of the slow pace and was able to move up. After today, I now know that I will have to get right with Rusty for the whole race at States; otherwise, I won’t have a chance, with how good his kick is.”
Two spots behind Smucker was Unionville sophomore Cole Walker (9:30.30). Spots 7-10 were taken by Chesco runners – Downingtown West senior Tyler Rollins (9:32.72), D-West junior Payton Sewell (9:39.25), Avon Grove senior Noah Dusseau (9:47.07) and West Chester East sophomore Joshua Lewin (9:47.85). Unionville junior James Conway was 15th (10:13.56).
West Chester East junior Charlie Webb finished fifth in the Class AAA 300 hurdles (40.72) and sixth in the 100 hurdles (14.98), and will be heading to States.
“There are things I need to work on [for States],” said the 6-foot-4 Webb. “I need to focus on keeping my head high on the hurdles.”
Downingtown West sophomore Ethan Robinson placed fourth in the 110 hurdles (15.26).
Coatesville finished third in the 4×100 (42.71), and the Downingtown East 4×100 of Quaran Brown, Zach DeLone, Dan Andris and Brassir Stocker finished sixth in the Class AAA race. Both teams’ 4×100 will head to States.
In the Class AAA high jump finals, Coatesville sophomore Donovan Brickus finished seventh with a leap of 6-1. In the long jump finals, Coatesville juniors Patrick Ahmed (21-10.50), Eric Kirk (21-07.50) and Naheem Moore (20-11.50) finished fourth, seventh and 10th, respectively.
Coatesville sophomore Ricky Ortega, who has already received several Division I offers as a football quarterback, placed second in the javelin with a toss of 176-11. His teammate, junior Aaron Young, finished seventh (163-10). In the Class AAA shot put finals, Bishop Shanahan senior Matthew Murray placed sixth (48-03.50).

Devon Prep senior Charlie Verna, who will run track for Chestnut Hill College in the fall, finished third in the Class AA 400 meter run (52.43) and second in the Class AA long jump (20.08-75).
Tide junior Jake Thomas, who had been injured much of the season with a pulled hamstring, finished his campaign with a second-place finish in the Class AA 800 meter run (2:04.40).

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