North Penn powers past Hatboro-Horsham in SOL Continental opener

TOWAMENCIN — Good to the last throw, the North Penn boys track and field team began the cool, soggy days of early spring displaying the look of a defending conference champion.

Bookended by Janeel Solanki’s victory in the 300 hurdles and Alex Hayashi’s first-place mark of 153 feet, 5 inches in the javelin, the Knights powered their way to a 90-60 victory over much-improved Hatboro-Horsham Tuesday in the Suburban One League Continental Conference opener for both squads.

The Knights have a lot of new faces this year, but those faces may soon be very recognizable.

“I saw some guys step up and be very competitive,’ North Penn coach Jay Jones said following his team’s performance at Crawford Stadium. “We’re very pleased with the way we competed today.’

By the time Hayashi launched his career personal-best throw in the jav, bringing things to a climactic finish, North Penn had taken some major early steps out in the field.

Brett Fenstermacher, a junior, had swept the jumps, capped by his 39-0.75 in the triple, and the Knights’ trio of discus throwers, led by Mike Grilli, went 1-2-3 in the event.

Solanki would go on to add a win in the 110 hurdles and Fenstermacher showed his versatility with a solid leg on the 4×1.

“We’ve really been harping on the leadership, and we’ve had a couple guys like (seniors) Hayashi and Janeel, along with Brett Fenstermacher, step up and be a little bit more vocal,’ Jones said. “With this team, this young group, you need that vocal leadership, and they’ve been supplying us with that.’

The Hatters, meanwhile, got a pair of wins from Bobby Gablein in the 100 and 200, complemented by cross country state medalist Casey Comber’s victories in the distance events, as he crossed first in both the 800 and 3,200.

“I felt alright. I’ve only been training for a few days since taking a week off following New Balance (Indoor Nationals), but I felt pretty good,’ Comber said. “I knew that (North Penn’s Mike) Cooney had already run the mile, so I wouldn’t be going out that hard (in the 32). I just took it at tempo pace and did pretty well.”The team is definitely a fun bunch of guys. It’ll be great to see these guys improve throughout the season. We’re hoping for a lot of at-large bids at leagues and hopefully get some guys to districts.’

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