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Perkiomen Valley athletes rule on Day 1 of PAC Track & Field Championships

WEST NORRITON >> Cole Peterlin epitomized the Perkiomen Valley program’s approach to the Pioneer Athletic Conference Track and Field Championships this weekend.

Peterlin won the boys’ high jump on the first day of competition Friday at Norristown. He was among the Vikings’ five early champions, clearing the bar at 6-3 to come out on top.

And while it wasn’t near his personal best of 6-8, the main thing was it got the job done.

“I would like to go higher,” he said, “but a win is a win, so I’m happy. I came in shooting for my best, and in the end I came in first.”

Peterlin, who will compete in the long jump and the 110 high hurdle finals Saturday, noted the Vikings are focused on being conference champions at the end of the weekend.

“We came out looking to win the PAC as a team,” he said. “Everyone is trying to give it their all.”

Christina Warren got her final scholastic post-season off to a flying start. The PV senior and two-time defending state champion covered a meet-record 40 feet in the triple jump in addition to winning her heat of the 100 low hurdles (14,75) and going fourth in the 200 prelims (26.04).

The seeded competitors in the girls’ 3,200 meters start the race Friday at the PAC Track & Field Championships. Perkiomen Valley’s Delaney O’Sullivan, right, won the race with Pottsgrove’s Naomi Hillen, second from right, in second. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

Delaney O’Sullivan started the Vikings’ gold-medal rush in the 3,200. O’Sullivan emerged from the race’s starting pack with one lap to go, outrunning Pottsgrove’s Naomi Hillen to win in a time of 11:56.22 ahead of Hillin’s 11:57.17.

“The race went out slower than I thought,” O’Sullivan said. “I just stuck with the main group, then with a few laps in, I knocked off time. The last 200, I tried to give it all for the team.”

Hillen, also in the middle of the lead pack at the start, was running fourth on the fourth and fifth laps. She got into the lead by Lap Six but was back in second one lap later.

“I raced her before,” O’Sullivan said of Hillen, the PAC girls cross country champion during the fall. “We have similar styles, knocking off time. I trusted my workouts.”

Perkiomen Valley’s Tyler Clifford runs the final lap during his win in the boys’ 3,200 meters Friday at the PAC Track & Field Championships at Norristown. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

Tyler Clifford completed Perk Valley’s first-day domination of the distance competition by winning the boys’ 3,200. Clifford ran a 9:42.45 to head a race that saw Boyertown’s Christian McComb, the PAC’s 2018 boys cross country champion, lead the first two laps before dealing with a flare-up of tendinitis in his knees that kept him from finishing.

“I got up to third place early and stayed around there,” Clifford recalled. “The last two laps, I picked it up and led on the seventh lap.”

Clifford admitted his time wasn’t near the 9:26 he ran the previous week. But it was good enough to lead the race — Owen J. Roberts’ Linus Blatz was a distant second at 9:53.56 — which fit in with his goal.

“I was running for place rather than time,” Clifford said. He will be looking to add to his medal count Saturday by competing in the 1,600 and 4×800 relay, running the anchor leg.

In the field, Dorian Philpot won the discus with a throw of 111-11. In an event where the PV girls have not had one consistent first-place finisher all season — it’s been a win-by-committee trio that included Philpot — this ended up being her day in the limelight.

“I didn’t know I would get first,” she said. “Today, I figured it out.”

Philpot will be looking for a repeat high finish Saturday when she competes in the shot put.

“I’m very confident I can win,” she said.

Perkiomen Valley’s Dorian Philpot releases the winning throw in the girls’ discus Friday at the PAC Track & Field Championships. Philpot won the event with a 109-10. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

In the field, Owen J. Roberts’ Aidan Hayward reached a personal best in the discus with a first-place throw of 166-3, breaking a 52-year-old OJR record in the process. He noted a chance in technique contributed to the performance.

“I’m working on a quicker spin,” he said. “That helps get a bigger throw.

“I just gave it my all. I’ve been getting stronger in the weight room, too.”

On the girls’ side, Methacton’s Juliana Keenan came close to her personal best (46.46) in the 300 intermediate hurdles. She ran a 46.56 to close out the day’s activities on the track, putting her ahead of Pottsgrove runner-up Hailey Strain (47.61).

“I ran strong today, once I smoothed things out,” she said. “I’m trying to get to 45 this season.”

Methacton’s Juliana Keenan, center, clears the final hurdle to win the girls’ 300-meter hurdles Friday at the PAC Track & Field Championships at Norristown. Pottsgrove’s Hailey Strain, left of center, placed second. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

The boys’ 300 hurdles was won by Norristown’s Ramir Wiggins, who ran a 38.81. OJR’s Josh Jackson was second in 40.62. Spring-Ford’s Nene Mokonchu took the high jump in 5-6, the Ram sophomore going three inches higher than Methacton’s Madi Eastmure (5-3); and Pottstown’s Jahzeel Watson headed the triple jump with a 42-5 leap outdistancing the 42-2½ showing of PV’s Randy Washington.

Norristown’s Ramir Wiggins, center, clears the final hurdle to win the 300 meter hurdles as Owen J. Roberts’ Scott Honicker hits the hurdle and falls, settling for fourth Friday at the PAC Track & Field Championships at Norristown. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

NOTES >> McComb, who noted he has been bothered with the tendinitis all season, is hoping to run with Boyertown’s 4×800 relay Saturday. … Spring-Ford’s Mikayla Beideman was second to Philpot in the girls discus at 110 even. … Boyertown’s Jacob Eddinger was second to Hayward in the discus with a 159-5 throw.

Spring-Ford’s Nene Mokonchu is congratulated by teammates after winning the girls’ high jump Friday at the PAC Track & Field Championships at Norristown. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

Boyertown’s Jamie Moccia, center, wins his heat in boys’ 100 meter qualifying Friday at the PAC Track & Field Championships at Norristown. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

Pottstown’s Jahzeel Watson jumps his winning mark of 42-5 in the boys’ triple jump Friday at the PAC Track & Field Championships at Norristown. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

Pottstown’s Jahzeel Watson, facing, is congratulated by his coaches after jumping 42-5 to win the boys’ triple jump Friday at the PAC Track & Field Championships at Norristown. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

Spring-Ford’s Devin Rawley reacts after clearing the district-qualifying height of 5-1 on her final attempt during the girls’ high jump Friday at the PAC Track & Field Championships. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

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