Holy Ghost Prep runs Bicentennial Athletic League win streak to 20

NEWTOWN – After finishing second in last year’s Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL) championship race at Tyler State Park, Holy Ghost Prep (HGP) junior Callahan Lennon just knew he wanted to finish first this time around.

Lennon, who hails from Wrightstown, got his wish, finishing 11 seconds ahead of HGP senior Pat Donohue (2nd, 16:56) and the pair helped the Firebirds to their 20th consecutive BAL title.

“He had a great race today and he really pushed it the entire race; I’m really proud of him,” said Donohue of Lennon’s first-place finish.

“After the first mile, he started pulling away and then he just took over from there.

“I closed (the gap) a little toward the end but he found another gear and he went off.”

Four of the first five runners to cross the finish line were Firebirds and five of the first eight were from Holy Ghost. HGP senior Kevin Sheppard, of Washington Crossing, and junior Kevin Dineen, of Doylestown, finished in a tie for fourth with both crossing the line in 17:29. Junior Sean Dixon (8th, 17:42) of Yardley, also turned in a sub-18 minute time while classmate Liam Flood (13th) of Langhorne, was just over that mark at 18:03. Junior Mark Featherstone, of Yardley, also turned in a blazing time, finishing in 18:17.

“We’ve been working since mid-July and we’ve had a lot of people step up,” said Lennon, who clipped 27 seconds from the time he registered in last year’s BAL race. “We’ve had a lot of people get really fast times this year – get new PRs. With all of our progress this season, I was confident that we were going to be able to run well today.”

While the ‘birds entered the race with 19 straight BAL titles under their belts, they entered the season for the first time this year without the services of John “JP” McLoughlin (Duquesne) and Pat Dineen (Fordham). Indeed, it was McLoughlin, who won the race last year with a 17:04 finishing rate.

But Lennon said he felt good when he arrived at the park for this year’s conference meet.

“I was feeling unusually well,” he said. “I was a lot lighter on my feet.

“I thought of it as a race but I tried to make it as fun as possible so I wouldn’t get too wrapped up in it.”

“I was running fast but it didn’t really feel like it.”

Said Donahue, who knocked 43 seconds off his time in last year’s BAL meet, the conference race was just a warmup to districts set for Friday, Oct. 30 at Lehigh University.

“We came into the race knowing one of us was going to win and one of us was going to get second,” said. “We are really focused on districts next week and today was just a warmup. We were ready to go and push each other because we knew we wanted to race well to be ready for districts next week.”

While it was a pleasant afternoon with highs in the mid-70s, it was a bit warmer than usual for the BAL race.

“It was a lot harder than usual; it was a little more humid today,” said Donohue. “But we’ve been training in this all summer so we were ready and conditioned for it either way.”

For seniors like Donahue and Sheppard, the 12th-graders would not accept anything less than a 20th straight BAL trophy.

“We wanted to get 20 for the school and for our coaching staff,” said Donahue. “We knew going into the season that we were going to have a good team but we had to work hard either way.

“I’m just proud of the guys for pulling through today.”


In the girls race, Lower Moreland junior Kerry Kovacs finished first with the only sub-20 time in the event, crossing the finish line in 19:56.

“I’ve never won at Tyler before,” said Kovacs. “Today was really hard.”

“But it was really nice weather today – not too warm; it was great for racing.”

Kovacs finished a full 20 seconds ahead of Christopher Dock senior Maddison Landis, who added 36 seconds to her second-place finish in last year’s BAL race. Behind Landis was freshman Lael Flores, who took third in 20:19. As a team, the Pioneers grabbed six of the top ten spots.

While Dock finished first in the team scoring with 24 points, New Hope-Solebury was next with 49. First to cross the finish line for the Lady Lions was sophomore Julia Mycek, who took fourth with a time of 20:40.

“Up until the two-mile mark, we were a pack in the front,” said Mycek. “Then, Kerry Kovacs, she started to break away from the two Dock girls and then the two Dock girls started to break away from me.

“At the end, I was chasing the two Dock girls.”

In taking second place in the team scoring, Mycek – who was in obvious pain after the race – had help from five Lady Lions including junior Tabitha Liucci, who took seventh with her time of 20:53.

Liucci knocked more than a minute off the eighth-place finish she registered at BALs in 2013. But she missed most of last year, nursing a stress fracture.

The 11th-grader says she’s pleased with her performance so far this year.

“I started out my junior year pretty well and I’ve just been improving my times constantly,” said Liucci.

“We did really well as a team and we’re hoping to improve at districts.”

Two years ago at districts, Liucci finished ninth overall with a time of 22:16. She’s hoping to break 20 minutes in districts this year. Her PR for the season is 20:14 and the fast course at Lehigh University’s Goodman Campus could very well allow that to happen.

Coming through additionally for New Hope were junior Savannah Herring (11th, 21:45), sophomore Makena Kramli (12th, 21:48), junior Amelia Wurster (15th, 22:49) and sophomore Claudia Kolinchak (19th, 23:19). Kramli chipped 28 seconds off the time she recorded in last year’s BAL race.

While suffering from an acute case of radial anterior tendonitis in her right ankle after this event, Mycek says she’ll be ready to go nine days from now at districts.

NOTES: Bristol had just four runners in the race including senior Ryder Rigby, who finished in the 53rd spot in the boys race with a time of 21:29. Bristol juniors Natalie Walker, Hailey Bigelow and Tiara Jones competed in the girls varsity race.

Bicentennial Athletic League championships

(Oct. 21 at Tyler State Park)

  1. Callahan Lennon (HGP) 16:45
  2. Patrick Donohue (HGP) 16:56
  3. Christian Geer (Jenkintown) 17:22
  4. Kevin Sheppard (HGP) 17:29
  5. Kevin Dineen (HGP) 17:29
  6. Michael Grunden (CD) 17:30
  7. Jamal Aw Yoonis (CFS) 17:34
  8. Sean Dixon (HGP) 17:42
  9. Eric Cammarata (NHS) 17:44
  10. Jack Miller (J) 17:46
  11. Liam Flood (HGP) 18:03
  12. Josh House (NHS) 18:13
  13. Mark Featherstone (HGP) 18:17
  14. Brad Neumann 18:27 (NHS) 18:27


  1. Holy Ghost Prep 20
  2. New Hope-Solebury 87
  3. Lower Moreland 119


  1. Kerry Kovacs (LM) 19:56
  2. Maddison Landis (CD) 20:16
  3. Lael Flores (CD) 20:19
  4. Julia Mycek (NHS) 20:40
  5. Lindsey Berra (CD) 20:45
  6. Camryn McCloskey (CD) 20:48
  7. Tabitha Liucci (NHS) 20:53
  8. Erica Gunden (CD) 21:30
  9. Mary Kate Barton (LM) 21:32
  10. Jules Rotelle (CD) 21:37
  11. Savannah Herring (NHS) 21:45
  12. Makena Kramli (NHS) 21:48
  13. Amelia Wurster (NHS) 22:49
  14. Claudia Kolinchak (NHS) 23:19


  1. Christopher Dock 24
  2. New Hope-Solebury 49
  3. Lower Moreland 62
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