‘Tough love’ helps Penn Wood’s Manyeah to have big first day

CALN >> Dennis Manyeah barely had time to check in for his first two events at the District 1 Track & Field Championships Friday, let alone get warmed up.
A couple of his Penn Wood teammates … (he wouldn’t say who) … had overslept, which meant the team bus did not arrive at Coatesville Area High School until 9 a.m, which is what time the meet was scheduled to begin. Since there was no trial in the girls Class 2A 4 x 800-meter relay, Manyeah had to get right on the track because his two events, the Class 3A high jump and 4 x 800, were being held concurrently.
It wasn’t a problem, just a bit tiring.
Manyeah won the high jump with a personal-best leap of 6 feet, 8 inches and ran a 1 minute, 58 second leadoff leg to help the Patriots qualify for the final in the 4 x 800-meter relay.
“I was just glad we were able to come through and get to the final,” Manyeah said.
At the end of the meet Manyeah helped the Patriots qualify for the 4 x 400-meter final, too. That effort capped a pretty good day for Delaware County athletes.
Chester’s Braheem Bishop finished second to Manyeah in the high jump. Strath Haven’s Dayo Abeeb was fourth in the triple jump, while D’Avonte Bell of Glen Mills had his best day to finish seventh in the Class 3A discus. Manyeah, Bishop and Abeeb all qualified for the PIAA Championships.
Springfield’s Liam Galligan had the top qualifying time in the Class 3A 1,600. Teammate Joseph Cardi also made it back for Saturday’s 1,600-meter final. Rami Marsh from Glen Mills had the second-best qualifying time in the 110-meter high hurdles. Teammate Keon Rantin posted the second-best qualifying time in the 200.
Manyeah’s win came after he received an earful from Penn Wood coach Lenny Jordan for Manyeah’s conduct on the bus.
“Being a senior, he should have made sure his teammates were there at the proper time,” Jordan said. “He was laughing and joking and he said, ‘If we don’t run the 4 x 8, I’ll just high jump.’ I said, ‘If we don’t run the 4 x 8, you’re going to be scratched, because you’re on the 4 x 8 and this is a no scratch meet and your season is over!’
“Tough love worked.”
And so did a change in strategy. Manyeah was involved in both events last year, but chose to run the relay first and then go over and compete in the high jump. Because of that, he was not able to get his steps down and failed to make a height.
“This time, I checked into the high jump, got my steps down and then went over to the relay,” Manyeah said. “I got a (warmup) lap on the infield just before we had to line up for the race.”
Manyeah cleared 6-5, the state qualifying standard, on his first attempt. He got 6-8, his personal best, on his second try and bowed out with the bar at 6-9. He cleared 6-8 easily.
“I wish I had that jump on 6-9,” Manyeah said. “It was really smooth, but winning this is something I’ve wanted for a long time. It didn’t happen last year and I corrected my mistakes. I’m proud that it happened.”
Bishop was fatigued, too, but for an entirely different reason. He had his senior prom Thursday night at Drexelbrook.
“I got home about 4 in the morning and got up at 6,” Bishop said. “I slept a little more on the way here.”
The late night didn’t really bother him. Bishop cleared 5-11, 6-1, 6-3 and 6-5 on his first attempts before exiting with the bar at 6-7. The 6-5 was a personal outdoor best. He jumped 6-6 during the indoor season.
“I was hyped,” Bishop said. “I did my drills and I was ready to go.”
Despite a bothersome hamstring, Abeeb qualified for the state meet with a jump of 46-3¼. He hit that mark on his third attempt.
“I hurt it at Centrals,” Abeeb said. “I couldn’t run more than 40 meters.”
That posed a bit of a problem for the young man who uses a 121-yard run-up.
“It wasn’t a total pull, just a strain,” Abeeb said. “I was able to work through it and I’ll be good for next week.”
Bell did not qualify for the PIAA Championships because he did not finish in the top five or meet the state qualifying standard of 153 feet, but that could not erase the smile from his face after he finished in seventh place in the discus.
His medal-winning throw of 147-9 was a personal best by more than seven feet.
“I’ve only been throwing the discus for three or four months,” Bell said. “It’s a hard event, but today wasn’t about placing. It was about throwing my best and I was able to do that.”

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