Strath Haven claims fifth straight title

UPPER DARBY — None of the members of the 2015 Strath Haven team had been born when first-year head coach Bill Coren’s 1992 Panthers won the team title at the Delaware County Girls Track and Field Championships.

Saturday marked the 23rd anniversary of that meet.

“All week (Coren) has been telling us winning is never definite,’ said senior Kat Mazur, who helped the Panthers to second place in the 4 x 400-meter relay and also took part in the 4 x 100 at the Delco Meet at Upper Darby High Saturday.

Another team title might not have seemed “definite’ at times to Coren and his Panthers, but winning Delcos has been close to a certainty since this year’s seniors were eighth graders. Strath Haven outscored runner-up Cardinal O’Hara by more than 40 points to claim the Delco Meet team title for the fifth consecutive year Saturday.

Penncrest edged Ridley for third place in the team scoring, and Upper Darby placed fifth.

“I figured we could score 100 points,’ Coren said. “We got 104. And we only had two champions. Don’t take anything away from Cardinal O’Hara, since they earned second place. But if Penncrest wasn’t missing some of its best athletes because of the Senior Prom, it could have been a real battle between us.’

The Haven individual champions were senior Semajé Harper in the 100-meter hurdles and junior Maya Mesyngier, who finished six seconds ahead of a very strong field in the 3,200-meter run.

“Tonight was about working on pacing,’ Mesyngier said. “I haven’t been in many big races this season, which is why I wanted to watch the pace. I know a race like districts can be so hectic and you can get lost.

“When (Coren) told me the splits he wanted me to run, I wasn’t sure about doing that. But I felt comfortable out there, and this was a big confidence booster.’

James, who will run next spring for Temple University, and teammate Rachel Kent finished 1-2 in the 100 hurdles.

“I started hurdling my sophomore year,’ she said. “I figured this could be my year to win this. It’s great to be on another team that won the championship.’

Strath Haven took second place in the 4 x 400 and 4 x 800 relays, and Rachel Vresilovic was runner-up in the discus.

Penncrest junior Alicia Collier repeated as champion in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Ridley senior Val McLaughlin took second place in both races.

“Val gave me a good race in the 100,’ Collier said. “We went back and forth for the lead.

“In the 200, I knew she would be going for it from the gun and I had to go with her. My starts were better than Thursday, and when we got past the curve (in the 200), I just went as hard as I could. I feel better now about going to districts.’

Penncrest freshman Tara Higgins nipped Kayla Butts of Monsignor Bonner-Archbishop Prendergast for the gold medal in the 400-meter dash. The Lions’ Katie Arbogast, who turned in the fastest time in the qualifying heats Thursday, missed the meet because of the prom Saturday night.

“I was a 200 runner,’ Higgins said. “I felt I had more left after running 200, so Katie and the coaches talked to me about running the 400.

“I was coming off a broken ankle, and to do this is really exciting.’

Ridley’s McLaughlin took the long jump (17-11¼) in addition to her second places in the 100 and 200.

“I’ve got to work on my form in the air,’ McLaughlin said of her jumping. “I’m going up on a slant, and I know I have to be more up and down.’

Ridley freshman Senna Ohlsson claimed the lead on the anchor leg and got the Green Raiders home eight seconds ahead of Strath Haven in the 4 x 800 relay. Brianna Wallen, Kelly McGeehan and Jess Higgins were the other Ridley runners. Ohlsson also finished fifth in the 800-meter run.

“Upper Darby was right up there, so we had another team besides Cardinal O’Hara to think about,’ Ohlsson said of the relay race. “Jess really did a great job catching up on the third leg, and I just had to go out there and not worry about anything but running.’

Agnes Irwin senior Marin Bloise, who was second in the 300-meter hurdles as a freshman and sophomore, earned the gold medal by outstepping Episcopal Academy’s Tara Boyle down the stretch.

“That last 150 was where I usually lost it,’ Bloise, who will attend Rutgers University to compete in diving, said. “I’ve finally figured it out.

“I could see Tara coming up, but tonight I pulled it together. This is only the fourth time I’ve run this race this season, and it feels good to do this.’

Cardinal O’Hara sophomore Olivia Arizin had an outdoor best time of 2:14.12 in defeating Mikayla Schneider of Notre Dame by less than one second to win the 800-meter run.

“Mikayla and I are good friends, and it’s great running with her,’ Arizin said. “She goes out a little faster than I like to, but that’s actually good for me.

“When we were (coming down the homestretch), I just wanted to make sure I finished strong.’

O’Hara junior Grace Mancini, who took second place in the 3,200, finished less than one second ahead of her sister, Elizabeth, for the gold medal in the 1,600-meter run.

Academy Park sophomore Janese Lynch, who earned the gold medal in the shot put Thursday, had a personal-best throw — by six feet — of 135 feet, 3 inches to win the discus.

“Everything was good today,’ Lynch said. “I did what I needed to do with my spin and things were good.

“I’ve really been working to qualify for states. To be a double champion at Delcos is really nice.’

Upper Darby’s Shannon Birch earned her second consecutive gold in the 4 x 100-meter relay as the Royals won the race for the third year in a row.

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