James leads O’Hara to title with historic performance

GLENOLDEN — Delaware County has produced a number of outstanding distance runners over the years, most recently Jack Huemmler (Strath Haven), Chris Garrity (Cardinal O’Hara) and Steve Hallinan (Cardinal O’Hara).

None, though, were able to accomplish what Cardinal O’Hara’s Kevin James achieved at the Delaware County Track & Field Championships Thursday and Saturday.

The reigning Daily Times Athlete of the year in boys track and cross country captured the 800- and 1,600-meter titles Saturday evening at Interboro’s South Avenue Athletic Complex to become the first athlete in county history to sweep the 800, 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs in back-to-back years.

“It hasn’t’ hit me yet,’ James said. “There are a lot of great runners who have come through Delaware County and to be the first means a lot.’

James capped his night by helping the Lions win the 4 x 400-meter title, which locked up both the overall and National Division county title. The Lions topped Upper Darby by 13.33 points to win the overall crown and by a mere four points to win the National Division or large school title.

Glen Mills used a 1-2-3 finish in the shot put, led by county leader Milton Jones, to edge Academy Park for the American Division championship.

The day, though, belonged to Kevin James, who had to fend off Chester freshman Kamil Jihad and Radnor senior in a terrific 800-meter race. James pulled away in the final 80 meters to complete the long distance triple for the second year in a row.

James finished in 1 minute, 55.01 seconds. Jihad crossed the line in 1:55.74, followed by Kelly in 1:55.81.

“I knew he wanted me,’ James said of Jihad. “We know each other and I have friends on my team who know him. I didn’t think I had anything left until he pulled even with me. Kamil’s going to be real good. He’s something special. The people in Pennsylvania should keep an eye on him. To go 1:55 as a freshman is mind-blowing.’

James wasn’t the only Lion to come home with gold. Teammate Thomas Bacchia was the overall winning in the long jump with a leap of 20-10 ½. That was good enough to top Academy Park’s Rayquan Williams by a half-inch. Jeff Govannicci went 13-0, a personal best, to win the National Division pole vault.

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For a guy who picked up the shot put in December, Milton Jones has proven to be a fast learner.

The 6-6, 351-pound senior from Glen Mills led a 1-2-3 sweep by the Bulls in the shot put with a winning heave of 55-0, personal best. Teammate Shamir Weeks-Hunter finished second and also topped the 50-foot mark (50-8).

“I want to hit 56 (feet) and 60 at states,’ Jones said. “My No. 1 goal is to hit 60 feet.’

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