Event record denies defending champ Penn Wood in 4 x 400

PHILADELPHIA >> The look on Terri Turner’s face as she walked off the track at Franklin Field Saturday afternoon said it all.

The senior from Penn Wood was not happy after the Patriots finished second to Neumann-Goretti in the girls Philadelphia area 4 x 400-meter relay championship at the 123rd Penn Relays Carnival.

Penn Wood was the defending champion in the event and the Patriots wanted desperately to make it two in a row.

Penn Wood’s Janae Pitt, shown competing in Thursday’s victory in the 4 x 800-meter relay, helped the Patriots run a county-best 3 minutes, 45.57 seconds as the runner-up in the 4 x 400 Saturday at the Penn Relays. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

“We’re definitely disappointed that we did not win,” Turner said. “We can run faster.”

That’s the competitive fire that burns inside of Turner and her relay teammates, Janae Pitt, Elicia Moore and Kyra Carroll. They’re out to win every time they step on the track.

While the Patriots did not win, they did run a county-best 3 minutes, 45.57 seconds, which was three seconds faster than they ran in the Suburban A race Thursday to qualify for the area final, and more than a second ahead of their winning time from a year ago so the day was not a total loss.

“There’s a lot of pressure on us because we’re expected to win, but it’s tough to run the 4 x 8 and come back and run the 4 x 4 like we did (with the same group),” Penn Wood coach Len Jordan said. “We ran two 800s and two 400s over a three-day period. That’s a lot of running, but we lowered our times each time. We ran 9:05 and then 9:01 in the 4 x 8 and 3:48 and 3:45 in the 4 x 4. It takes some teams a whole season to run those kind of times and we did it in three days so I’m very proud of what they did.”

It took an event record by Neumann-Goretti, with two Delco girls on the relay, to beat the Patriots. Brookhaven native Eliza Brooks, Mykayla Perry, Ariana Ruffin and Collingdale resident Sydni Townsend ran a blistering 3:43.61 to break the mark of 3:44.45 set by William Penn in 1995 and give the Saints their second title in the event in the last three years. That winning time also was the fastest in the state and a school record.

“The girls were outstanding,” Neumann-Goretti coach Lincoln Townsend said. “I’m very proud of these young ladies. With Penn Wood being so strong and North Penn being so strong we had to run 3:44 to win and we just happened to run 3:43.”

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