CB West 4×8 places seventh in Championship of America

PHILADELPHIA — It sounds sweeter every time.

“I could hear it all the way down the home stretch,’ Central Bucks West’s Rock Fortna said of the Franklin Field crowd, one he’s greatly familiar with. “I ran here for C.Y.O. so it’s a special track to me. It’s fun coming here again and getting to run — it’s one of the best tracks out there.’

Fortna and the Bucks proved plenty worthy, as the West foursome raced to a seventh-place finish in the 4×800 Championship of America, in front of a boisterous Penn Relays crowd of 48.920.

The 121st running of the Penn Relays drew in its eighth-largest attendance ever, and the Bucks helped bring the event to a climactic finish on Saturday, amazingly dropping nine seconds off their qualifying time from Friday to outrace five other elite relay foursomes in the 4×8 COA.

“Everyone looked good,’ said Fortna, who anchored the Bucks home with a 1:54.94, 11th fastest of the 48 runners in the race. “Our second leg is just a freshman, and he’s been a nice addition to the team.’

Andrew Baker (1:57.90) led off for the Bucks, followed by youngster Jake Claricurzio (1:56.64), Carter Zerweck (2:00.47) and Fortna.

West was able to outrace Holmwood Tech (7:54.34) and Calabar (7:55.77) — both from Jamaica, South Brunswick (N.J., 7:58.28), Morris Hills (N.J., 8:00.91), and rival Central Bucks East (8:04.25).

Two Jamaican schools battled to the finish, as St. Elizabeth Tech (7:38.38) edged Kingston College (7:38.54), followed by Nordhoff (Calif., 7:43.93), area power Pennsbury (7:45.42), River Dell Regional (N.J., 7:46.86), Arlington (N.Y., 7:49.24) and West (7:49.94).

ennsbury now owns the top 4×8 time in PA this spring with its 7:45.42, followed closely by the Bucks.

West’s 4×8, undefeated in the Suburban One League’s Continental Conference this spring, should be one to watch when state medals are at stake.

“It’s gonna be fun — looking forward to it,’ Fortna said. “A lot of good competition coming.’

Later in the day, the Gwynedd Mercy girls raced to fifth in the Philadelphia Area 4×4, as a team of Rachel Koller (57.67), Bridget Casey (59.11), Maggie Maguire (59.97) and Mary Casey (57.56) combined for a 3:54.29.

CB West also ran well, as the Bucks’ foursome of Olivia Berry (1:00.89), Aly Logue (59.27), Lauren Olsen (1:00.44) and Maddie Villalba (55.88) placed seventh with a 3:56.46. Wissahickon’s Anna Chiodo Ortiz (58.96), Kirsten Haney (1:01.32), Fiona Kelly (1:01.00) and Lotte Black (58.15) were close behind in ninth, going 3:59.42.

The Wiss boys were also well-represented, as a foursome of Darien Williams (51.41), Ethan Dolberry-Wescott (51.24), Kyuande Johnson (49.46) and Cam Christopher (49.99) placed fifth in the Philly Area Boys race, crossing in 3:22.09.

The Pennridge girls 4×1 earned fifth in the Tri-State 4×1 (48.58), powered by Ariana Przybylowski, Jessica Milligan, Zoe Williams, and Taylor Chapman.

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