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Spring-Ford’s Mokonchu raises the bar with state-best jump at Perkiomen Valley invitational

Spring-Ford's Nene Mokonchu clears 5-8 in the girls' high jump at the Coach Ron Livers Viking Invitational Saturday at Perkiomen Valley. (Austin Hertzog - MediaNews Group)

Perkiomen Valley renamed its annual track and field invitational the Coach Ron Livers Viking Invitational in honor of the late jumps legend from Norristown and longtime PV assistant coach.

Fittingly, just like in Livers’ own career, the bar reached new heights Saturday at Perkiomen Valley.

Spring-Ford senior Nene Mokonchu achieved a personal-record 5-9 and improved on her current state-No. 1 mark while winning the girls’ high jump to highlight a full day of action at Perk Valley.

“It was such a good day,” Mokonchu said. “It was everything; I knew exactly what I was doing and it was effortless. I didn’t even feel like I had to sprint at the bar, as I was going I just popped up and felt like I had a lot of room.”

Mokonchu punctuated a dominant day in the field events by the Spring-Ford girls with other winners including her sisters, Ester Mokonchu (shot put, 34-10) and Vania Mokonchu (discus, 108-10), and Mary McNelly (triple jump, 31-11 1/2).

On the boys’ side, Owen J. Roberts’ Thomas Damiani was a three-event winner, taking the 1,600 meters (4:28.15) while also running on the Wildcats’ winning 4×400 and 4×800 relays. Pottstown junior Ethan Masewicz was a double winner, claiming firsts in the 200 and 400 meters.

Pottstown’s Ethan Masewicz, center, crosses the finish line to win the 200 meters at the Coach Ron Livers Viking Invitational Saturday at Perkiomen Valley. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

Mokonchu entered the outdoor season after winning the high jump (5-8) at the PTFCA Indoor Championships on Feb. 27 and is ready to stay on the rise after feeling like she’d plateaued since achieving 5-6 as a freshman.

“This year was when I finally found the confidence, that magic. My goal is to hit 6-0 before I get to college,” said Mokonchu, who will attend Brown University. “I know 5-10 is the next step which is why I was a little frustrated and starting to overthink (while attempting 5-10 Saturday), feeling the pain in my hip after a lot of reps. But I think that’s something I need to knock out of the way in the next week and then focus on reaching 6-0.”

After topping the 200 meters (22.94), Pottstown’s Masewicz came back in the 400 with a Pa. top 10 time of 49.87 in a tight battle with Penn Wood’s Kouto Anyika (50.0).

“I feel like I had a strong mental mindset,” said Masewicz. “You have to envision it before you do it. I envision myself in the 200 getting first. I envisioned myself in the 400 getting first. For our third meet this season, getting a 49.7 is pretty big.”

Masewicz seems to have found a sweet spot for himself after running more distance in earlier years.

“My goal this year is a 49.1 (in the 400) at least. In the 200, I’m doing it for fun, as a way to push myself for my 400,” he said. “I used to run cross country, but now in the offseason I do sprints and work on my explosiveness. In eighth grade I ran the mile, but then I ran the 400 and it was like distance and sprint at the same time.”

Pottsgrove’s Trevon Foster clears the final hurdle to win boys’ 110-meter hurdles at the Coach Ron Livers Viking Invitational Saturday at Perkiomen Valley. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

Pottstown teammate Rashean Bostic won the long jump (20-6). Other boys field event winners from the PAC were Spring-Ford’s Alex Teufel (pole vault, 13-6), Methacton’s SahBri Hill (triple jump 43-8 1/2), Upper Perkiomen’s Thomas Flud Jr. (javelin, 158-4) and Boyertown’s Jayden Miller (shot put, 47-5).

Pottsgrove scored a pair of boys wins with Trevon Foster winning the 110 hurdles in 16.37 and Demetrius Carter finishing first in the 100 meters (11.54).

Methacton’s Kate Thomas, center, leads Gwynedd Mercy’s Ellie Perry and Owen J. Roberts’ Claire Zubey to the finish in the girls’ 800 meters at the Coach Ron Livers Viking Invitational Saturday at Perkiomen Valley. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

Another Pa. top 10 time was turned in by sophomore Ashley Pickles of host Perkiomen Valley. The second-year track and field athlete won the 400 meters in 58.25, nearly three seconds better than runner-up.

Perkiomen Valley’s Ashley Pickles

“It was exciting,” said Pickles. “I was a little nervous. I like going against good competition but you still get nervous before every race. Once we went out and I got to the 100 mark I felt like ‘I’ve got this. Keep going.’

Not bad for her less-preferred event.

“I prefer the 200 over the 400, but I do like them both. Just the 200 a little better,” she said. “I didn’t start track until last year in the spring – I played soccer and I still do – so (the early success) is kind of shocking. But I’m really happy with how I’m improving. And I feel like I can improve a lot more so I’m excited.”

The Methacton girls had a pair of winners in Analiesa Geiling (100 hurdles, 16.81) and Kate Thomas in a fast 800-meter race where her 2:22.07 edged Gwynedd Mercy’s Ellie Perry and OJR’s Claire Zubey, all three turning in Pa. top 25 times.

Ava Taylor and Caleigh Bold were track top finishers for Owen J. Roberts. Taylor won the 3,200 meters in 11:35.33 and Bold the 200 in 26.44. Pope John Paul II’s Gianna Cagliola was the champion in the mile (1,600 meters) in 5:15.82.

Outside the Pioneer Athletic Conference schools, Southern Lehigh’s Madison Trout excelled while winning the 100 meters (12.46) and the 4×100 relay. Mount St. Joseph’s dominated the relays, winning the 4×400, 4×800 and distance medley relay. Katie Bakley, Maggie Murphy, Olivia Forti, Ella Woehicke each ran on two relays.

Owen J. Roberts’ Thomas Damiani, front, receives the baton from a teammate during OJR’s first-place finish in the 4×400 relay at the Coach Ron Livers Viking Invitational Saturday at Perkiomen Valley. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

A ceremony was held in the morning to officially rename the event in honor of Livers, who died in Decemeber 2020 after a year-long bout with brain cancer.

Nicknamed ‘Legs’ for his jumping prowess, Livers was a two-time PIAA triple jump champion at Norristown (1972-73), a three-time NCAA Division I triple jump champion at San Jose State in 1975 and was top 10 in the world in the event from 1977-80. 

Livers’ widow Adriane received a medal of recognition from PV track and field head coach Joe Petsko during the dedication ceremony. She was also joined by Livers’ twin brother, Don.

Coach Ron Livers Viking Invitational

Complete Results

Girls

3200 – Ava Taylor, Owen J. Roberts, 11:35.33
100H – Analiesa Geiling, Methacton, 16.81
100 – Madison Trout, Southern Lehigh, 12.46
200 – Caleigh Bold, Owen J. Roberts, 26.44
4×800 – Mount St. Joseph (Bakley, Murphy, Forti, Woehicke) 9:58.46
400 – Ashley Pickles, Perkiomen Valley, 58.25
800 – Kate Thomas, Methacton, 2:22.07
1,600 – Gianna Cagliola, Pope John Paul II, 5:15.82
4×100 – Southern Lehigh (Lea, Trout, Graver, Chase) 49.92
300H – Esabella Mendola, Wilkes-Barre, 46.73
DMR – Mount St. Joseph (Murphy, Donahue, Arnold, Forti) 13:32.46
4×400 – Mount St. Joseph (Woehicke, Downs, Bakley, Bradfield) 4:11.58
High jump – Nene Mokonchu, Spring-Ford, 5-9
Pole vault – Julia McBride, Springfield Twp., 10-6
Long jump – Madison Trout, Southern Lehigh, 16-11
Triple jump – Mary McNelly, Spring-Ford, 31-11 1/2
Discus – Vania Mokonchu, Spring-Ford, 108-10
Javelin – Jordan Bond, Dallas, 96-2
Shot put – Ester Mokonchu, Spring-Ford, 34-10

Boys

3,200 – Anthony Gargani, Lansdale Catholic, 9:34.25
110H – Trevon Foster, Pottsgrove, 16-37
100 – Demetrius Carter, Pottsgrove, 11.54
200 – Ethan Masewicz, Pottstown, 22.94
4×800 – Owen J. Roberts (Hayes, Damiani, Kwiatkowski, McGonigle) 8:19.05
400 – Ethan Masewicz, Pottstown, 49.87 
800 – Chase Hensinger, Southern Lehigh, 1:59.94
1,600 – Thomas Damiani, Owen J. Roberts, 4:28. 15
4×100 – Spring-Ford 44.09
300H – Peter Federici, Dallas, 40.48
DMR – Lansdale Catholic 11:28.90
4×400 – Owen J. Roberts (Damiani, Holloday, Purtle, Hayes) 3:33.05
High jump – Robert Allen, Southern Lehigh, 6-0
Pole vault – Alex Teufel, Spring-Ford, 13-6
Long jump – Rashean Bostic, Pottstown, 20-6
Triple jump – SahBri Hill, Methacton, 43-8 1/2
Discus – John Cummings, Dallas, 122-11
Javelin – Thomas Flud Jr., Upper Perkiomen, 158-4
Shot put- Jayden Miller, Boyertown, 47-5

Spring-Ford’s Alex Teufel competes in the boys’ pole vault at the Coach Ron Livers Viking Invitational Saturday at Perkiomen Valley. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

Pope John Paul II’s Gianna Cagliola races to victory in the girls’ 1,600 meters at the Coach Ron Livers Viking Invitational Saturday at Perkiomen Valley. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

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