Manyeah has to admit he’s become a pretty good 800 guy

SHIPPENSBURG — All season long Penn Wood head coach Len Jordan and assistant Elroy Hunter tried to convince sophomore Dennis Manyeah that he is an 800-meter runner.

Manyeah resisted them at every turn. However, Manyeah finally came around after he led Penn Wood to a fifth-place finish in the Class AAA 4 x 800-meter relay in a school-record time of 7 minutes, 48.06 seconds at the PIAA Track & Field Championships Saturday.

“Yeah, I’m an 800 guy,’ Manyeah admitted. “Coach Lenny and them have been telling me that all year and I realize now that this is the race for me.’

Jordan and Hunter still have some work to do on juniors Jani Smith and Ndiaga Seck, two of the other members of that relay team, along with senior Ahmere Ponzo. They’re not quite as sold on the idea of being half-milers as Manyeah.

“I run it, but it’s not really my event,’ Seck said.

“I’m more of a 400 guy,’ Smith said.

“They’re 800 runners,’ Jordan said. “They just don’t want to admit it.’

Actually, all four runners are quite versatile.

“We’re the sprint medley, the DMR, the 4 x 1, everything,’ Ponzo said. “In the relays, we’re it.’

Manyeah, Smith, Ponzo and Seck became at least the third 4 x 800 relay team from Penn Wood to earn a medal at the state meet and the first since sometime in the 1990s, according to Bob Jesson, who coached at Penn Wood before moving to Strath Haven.

“There might be one more in there, but I know it’s at least three,’ Jessons said. “We finished fifth in 1987 and there was another won in the mid-1990s.’

. . .

Upper Darby’s Donovan St. Louis made it two straight gold medals in the 400-meter dash for Delaware County. Ridley’s Malik Jones, the 2014 Daily Times boys track Athlete of the Year, won the Class AAA title last year.

St. Louis became the fifth athlete from Delco to win the 400 since the PIAA went to meters in 1979. Aubrey Moat of Ridley won the 400 in 1981. County record holder Isaac Jackson of Glen Mills won the 400 in 1995 and 1996. Anthony Marlow from Glen Mills won the event in 1999.

Delco has had a runner finish in the top three in each of the last four years. Jones was third in 2013 and second in 2012. Tyler Gallen of Cardinal O’Hara was second in 2011.

As it turned out, Upper Darby did not set the school record in the 4 x 400 relay. The Royals missed the mark by .02 seconds, according to head coach Dan Nelson.

. . .

If Penncrest gets a relay team to Shippensburg, odds are the Lions are coming home with a medal. Penncrest has sent seven relay teams to the PIAA Championships over the last two years. All seven earned medals. The boys have won four state medals in the last two years and the girls have claimed three.

The Penncrest boys had all three relays reach the state meet for the first time in program history and all three came home with medals. The most amazing part is that they did it with eight runners. Dion Durnell was on both the 4 x 100 team that finished fifth and the 4 x 400 team that was sixth. Evan Emanuel, Soham Kamat and James Teal ran on both the 4 x 400 and 4 x 800, which was seventh for the second year in a row. Nick Reyes Gasiorowski and Dan Fisher rounded out the 4 x 100, while Joe Angelina was the fourth member of the 4 x 800.

The girls finished sixth in the 4 x 100 for the second year in a row. They also were seventh in the 4 x 400.

. . .

Cardinal O’Hara’s Kevin James and Olivia Arizin, Penn Wood’s Agnes Mansaray, and the 4 x 800 boys teams from Penn Wood and Penncrest were among the 769 athletes or relay teams that earned a spot on the national honor roll, according to

James set the county record in the 3,200. That time, 8:57.28, ranks 28th nationally, according to pa.milesplit. Mansaray (2:09.70) and Arizin (2:09.74) broke the county mark in the 800 and rank 21st and 22nd, nationally. Penn Wood is 19th in the 4 x 800, while Penncrest (7:50.70) is 41st.

Academy Park earned a medal in the boys Class AAA 4 x 100 for the second straight year. The Knights were seventh this season after a third-place finish in 2014.

Overall, Delco athletes and relay teams won 26 medals, two more than a year ago.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply