Mansaray, Turner putting Penn Wood on the map

BETHLEHEM >> From Agnes Mansaray’s point of view, something was different with this particular girls PIAA District One Class AAA championship race.

By the time the Penn Wood senior and Sierra Leone native hit the first mile marker Friday along Lehigh’s 5-kilometer course, she was at the race’s forefront instead of viewing it from afar.

Sure, she felt tired. But Mansaray didn’t let that keep her from running the 5k of her life en route to some school history, as she was the race’s 11th runner to cross after completing the trek in a blistering 18 minutes, 36 seconds.
A far cry from her 71st-place time of 20:02 a year ago, no?

“When I ran the first mile, my legs felt weak and I was tired. Some people passed me,” she said with a smile.
Of course, she couldn’t stop smiling after passing her latest test.

Mansaray became Delaware County’s highest Class AAA girls finisher at the district meet since Haverford’s Tess Meehan took ninth in 2012, and she did it while shattering her prior personal record by 23 seconds. According to, her new personal mark is also a Penn Wood girls 5k record. She did all of it while trying to just keep up with District One’s cross country elite.

She can now count herself among them, but don’t look for Mansaray to rest on those mere laurels.

“I’ll be trying to train hard next week to run my best time again,” she said. “This is the last week, so I need to train hard.”

As Mansaray has followed up an All-Delco track season with an impressive fall showing, teammate Terri Turner often hasn’t been far behind. With Mansaray, the junior and Springside-Chestnut Hill transfer did her part to put Penn Wood back on the District One map, as she took a state-qualifying 26th in 19:03.

“I’m real proud of them,” Patriots coach Lenny Jordan said of his top duo. “We hear a lot of people always criticizing that we’re not a cross country school and we don’t do the right workouts. Both of them PR’d today.”

Bill Coren was another proud county coach by day’s end, but his moment followed an anxious waiting period.

“Here come the results. Uh-oh,” the Strath Haven girls coach said as meet officials delivered freshly printed Class AAA results to a PIAA tent shortly after the proceedings.

The Panthers had to sweat it out, but they ended up nabbing fifth overall, the final state-qualifying team spot. After failing to qualify a year ago, senior Maia Mesyngier paced Strath Haven in 18:45, good for 15th.

In Class A girls action, Country Day of the Sacred Heart sophomore Emma Seifried went about business as usual, clearing the field by a mere minute and 19 seconds to take her second district title in 18:46. Twin sister Hannah, whose lingering issues with a stress fracture in her leg kept her from competing this season until Friday, followed up by finishing in a state-qualifying fifth at a 20:49 clip.

Emma Seifried’s first move as repeat district champion was to run to her sister’s aid after finishing. After helping move a temporarily incapacitated Hannah away from the finish line, Emma fetched sweats, water and whatever else she could find from Sacred Heart’s camp.

“Seeing her like that’s crazy,” Emma Seifried said, “but I wanted her to feel better.”

As the pair also compete on the school field hockey and swimming teams, they’re used to helping each other out when needed.

As Hannah Seifried also qualified in last year’s district meet, they’re pretty used to this states thing by now, too. But for the twin who spent much of the fall in a boot, qualifying still made for a pleasant surprise.

“I was just really hoping (to qualify),” Hannah Seifried said. “I wasn’t sure since I didn’t really have training time, but I’m glad I did.”

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