James’ career finish is a bronze smash

SHIPPENSBURG — More than anything, Kevin James wanted to win an individual PIAA title before he graduates from Cardinal O’Hara next month.

The Syracuse-bound senior will have to settle for re-writing the county record book once again, which wasn’t a bad consolation prize when you consider that James finished third in the fastest 3,200-meter run in the history of the PIAA Track & Field Championships.

Carlisle’s Zach Brehm and Easton’s Colin Abert both broke the Class AAA meet record to take first and second in 8 minutes, 55.60 seconds and 8:56.00, respectively.

James, meanwhile, used the experience he gained from a seventh-place finish in the 3,000-meter run at the Penn Relays a month ago to take third in 8:57.49. That’s nearly six seconds better than the previous Delaware County record of 9:03.19, which he set while finishing fourth at the state meet last year. Teammate Rob Morro finished 14th.

“It’s a little upsetting to not get an individual state title,’ James said. “I have the DMR from indoor, but I really wanted an individual one before I left. I did break nine (minutes), which is something I wanted to do in high school and I was able to accomplish that.’

At the Penn Relays, James got caught up in the jockeying for position. He did not let that happen this time around. He picked a spot and sat there for most of the race until it was time to make a move, which came with about 1,000 meters to go.

James took the lead only to eventually be passed by Abert and then Brehm.

“(Abert) was really moving so I realized I had to start this early so I started pumping,’ James said. “With about 75 or 80 meters to go I saw that they were both starting to tire and I was able to make up ground on both of them, but with 25 meters left I realized I didn’t have quite enough to get to them and that I was going to take third.’

• • •

Penn Wood was not going home empty handed in the Class AAA 4 x 800. Dennis Manyeah would not allow it.

Manyeah set the tone for Ahmere Ponzo, Jhai Smith and Ndiaga Seck to follow with a strong leadoff leg that carried the Patriots to a fifth-place finish and a school-record time of 7:48.06.

That time was a far cry from the 8:23 the Patriots ran during the indoor season. It also shows the progress Manyeah and his teammates have taken.

“I wanted a medal, especially after what happened in the 4 x 4,’ Manyeah said.

The Patriots did not qualify for the final in the 4 x 400-meter relay, which made all four runners that much more determined.

“Oh yeah,’ Ponzo said. “We were angry. We didn’t run well and so we had to come out here today and make up for it.’

Manyeah was in front for most of his leadoff leg. Ponzo, Smith and Seck made sure that performance would not go to waste.

“Dennis set the tone,’ Ponzo said. “He always sets the tone. The rest of us really aren’t 800 runners, but we just had to grind it out and that’s what we did.’

• • •

You could see the disappointment on the face of Delco Christian senior Morgan Ellis-Foster. He desperately wanted to win gold in the Class AA 300-meter hurdles.

He settled for a bronze.

“I came in No. 1 and I wanted to go out No. 1,’ Ellis-Foster said.

The disappointment, though, did not last long. Ellis-Foster left Shippensgrove’s Seth Grove Stadium with two bronze medals. He also was third in the Class AA 110 hurdles. Not many athletes can say that.

“Third in Pennsylvania, I’ll take that,’ he said.

• • •

Penncrest had three relays qualify for the first time in program history and all three came home with medals.

Dion Durnell ran leadoff on two of those relays. He ran leadoff on the 4 x 100-meter squad in 42.79. That team included Reyes, Trevor Gasiorowski and Dan Fisher. Durnell then teamed with Evan Emanuel, Soham Kamat and James Teal for sixth place in the 4 x 400.

Kamat, Teal, Joe Angelina and Emanuel set the tone early in the day with a seventh-place finish in the 4 x 800.

• • •

Desean Lee was a happy man. The senior from Academy Park came home with a pair of medals. Lee was seventh in the 200 and teamed up with Terrance White, Allon Ruffin and Rayquan White for seventh in the 4 x 100.

“Winning this medal means a lot,’ Lee said. “I’ve been working toward this since my freshman year, and just getting here is a privilege. To be able to come home with a medal is a testament to all the coaches that I’ve had and I have to thank them. They helped me become a state medalist.’

In other individual events:

Milton Jones of Glen Mills took fifth place in the Class AAA shot put. Evan Sing of Penncrest placed eighth in the Class AAA javelin. Alexander Harvey of Delco Christian was 23rd in the Class AA 3,200.

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