PHILADELPHIA >> Cardinal O’Hara coach Tom Kennedy gave Ryan James a big hug underneath the south stands at Franklin Field Friday. Rob Morro flashed a huge smile when he found out what O’Hara’s time was in the high school boys distance medley relay Championship of America race.
O’Hara’s goal going into the race was to run under 10 minutes, 20 seconds.
Morro, Ryan and Tamir and Justin Jones, who are not related, finished ninth in 10 minutes, 19.69 seconds. Like their female counterparts in the 4 x 800, the place did not matter as much as the time. It was the best in the county in the DMR this season by more than 32 seconds.
“That’s what we wanted to do,” Morro said. “We’re real happy with that. That’s a good five seconds faster than we ran to win the indoor state title.”
While the Lions were happy with their time, they certainly weren’t satisfied with the result.
“I think we can run better,” said Justin Jones, who ran the 800-meter leg of the relay. “I know I can. I thought I ran a good first lap, but I kind of died on the second lap. I have to improve on that. I just have to keep grinding and get better.”
Kennedy was happy the way James ran the 1,600-meter anchor leg. He had no chance of catching Andrew Hunter of eventual winner Loudoun Valley or Jack Salisbury from La Salle Academy in Providence, who put on quite a show for the fans on the second day of the 122nd Penn Relays.
Hunter ran a blistering 4:00.73 anchor split, the second fastest in Penn Relays history. Hunter’s split gave Loudoun Valley the win by one one-thousandth of a second. Salisbury was solid, too. He was clocked in 4:09.76.
“I saw Hunter go out and I knew I wasn’t going to catch him,” said James, the 2015 Daily Times Runner of the Year in cross country. “If I did I would die, so I decided to run the best race that I could.”
“That was a very courageous race by Ryan,” Kennedy said. “He ran hard and that’s all you can ask.”
Kennedy was especially happy with the split times of his runners. Morro turned in a 3:08.07 in the 1,200. Tamir Jones ran the 400 in 50.52. Justin Jones covered the 800 in 1:59.76 and James brought home the baton in 4:21.37.
“They ran their hearts out,” Kennedy said.
The DMR was the second race of the day for Tamir Jones. He led off O’Hara’s 4 x 100-meter relay that finished with a time of 44.05 seconds. That relay squad included Alvin Eburouh, Obinna Ihejirika and Josh McAlister.
In other action, Penn Wood’s Dennis Manyeah, Ndiaga Seck, Todd Jackson and Jahi Smith were eighth in their heat of the small schools 4 x 800 with a time of 8:03.27. It was the second best time in the county this season.
Sean Sullivan, Michael Mercanti, David Whitfield and Anthony Harper of Bonner & Prendergast finished 14th in their heat of the boys small schools 4 x 800-meter relay with a time of 8:17.53.
Marques Gibbs, Mason Weh, Jalen Camille and Gianni Lawrence of Upper Darby recorded the best time of any county team in the 4 x 100, large or small school division (43.61). The Royals go after their third straight title in the Central League 4 x 400-meter relay
Alvin Hudson, Sam Linder, Solomon Dorsey and Carrell Walker of The Haverford School turned in the best time of any county team in the small schools 4 x 100-meter relay (43.98 seconds).