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Ches-Mont track athletes set fast pace at Rustin Invitational

Westtown >> With a record 23 schools participating at the annual Rustin Track Invitational on a balmy Wednesday afternoon, many new meet records were set by Ches-Mont League athletes.
“We’ve had this meet every year since 2007, except for the COVID year, and this was our biggest meet ever, the best weather we’ve had, and we didn’t even have to turn on the lights,” said West Chester Rustin girls head coach Jim Collins.
One of the most exciting events of the day was the girls 4×400 relay, where host Rustin went from fifth place to first on the final leg, thanks to a big effort down the stretch by anchor Ava Alexander.
Earlier in the afternoon, the Rustin junior won the girls 400 meter run with a meet record 56.60 and finished first in the triple jump (38-8), breaking the meet record with only two throws. In the girls’ 4×400, when Alexander took the baton, the Golden Knights were in fifth place. With a great burst of speed down the stretch, Alexander crossed the finish line first.
“I was in second place with 200 [meters] to go, and I knew I had to go for it,” said a happy Alexander. “I love our team – we’re always supporting each other, we’re like the best family.”
The Rustin quartet of Maddie Miller, Ellie Keefer, Lelia Duffie and Alexander posted a time of 4:05.15, which qualified them for Districts and was only two seconds off the school record. Alexander’s split was 56.48.
In the final event of the day, the boys’ 4×400 relay, Coatesville won with a meet record 3:23.49, featuring a quartet of Josh Miller, Jabari Stocker, Dave Kelly and Lebron Bessick (47.7 split). Miller and Kelly had finished running the 3200 meter race just before the 4×400 relay races began.
Here’s a look at how the Chester County schools fared at the Rustin Invitational:
Great Valley did very well in the relays, winning the boys’ 4×800 (Matt Paolella, Ryan Pepperman, Charlie Sita and Joe Benson, 8:51.90), the girls 4×800 (Aimee Dill, Natalie Dill, Julie Cristinzio and Kate Bevec, 10:17.79) and the girls 4×100 (Rachel Hubley, Stephanie Cristinzio, Gillian Yonce and Briella Gorman, 48.61). The girls 4×100 time of 48.61 is also the top-ranked high school girls time in the state so far this season (per www.athletic.net).
Also for Great Valley, Jake Zielinski won the boys’ 800 meter run (1:57.67); Hudson Ayre won the boys’ discus throw (134-5); Kate Beven won the girls 3200 meter run (11:50.80); and Kelli McKeown won the girls high jump (5-2).
Downingtown West won the boys’ 4×100 relay in a meet record time of 42.39, just ahead of Coatesville (42.43), with a quartet of Kelly Bell, Elijah Ford, Jacob Dixon and Deonsae Dorsey. That clocking of 42.39 is also the top-ranked high school boys time in the state so far this season (per www.athletic.net).
“This is the first time this [quartet] has run the 4×100 this season,” noted Downingtown West sprint coach Tracy Robinson.
Ford later won the boys 200 meter run with a meet record time of 22.42.
West Chester East senior Chinonye Moneme won two events Wednesday, the girls 100 meter run (12.27) and the girls 200 meter run (25.66), and both times were personal bests. Her 12.27 clocking was a meet record – Moneme finished ninth in the girls 100 meter run at States last spring.
“I like the Rustin Invitational, you’re going against [almost] all of the top Ches-Mont runners,” said Moneme.
West Chester Rustin was led by Ava Alexander, who won the 400 meter run, the triple jump (38-8) and anchored the winning 4×400 relay team on the final girls’ event of the day. Golden Knight junior Keturah Darwon finished first in the girls 100 hurdles (16.20).
Avon Grove senior Noah Lennon won both boys hurdling events, posting a district-qualifying time of 40.64 in the 300 hurdles and clocking 16.51 in the 110 hurdles. Also for the Red Devils, Ramsey Hartz won the boys’ shot put (45-1 ½) and Olivia Heckman won the girls’ javelin (113-4).
Unionville was led by Alex Pancoast, who won the girls discus event with a meet record of 126-0 and the girls’ shot put with a mark of 40-8. She finished second in the girls javelin, four inches shy of the first place finisher, Avon Grove’s Olivia Heckman.
Coatesville’s Lebron Bessick won the boys 100 meter dash with a meet record 10.84.
“I slipped a little on the starting block, but I recovered,” noted Bessick, who was pointing toward the 4×400 later in the afternoon, which the Red Raiders won.
Jabari Stocker, who was also a part of the Red Raiders’ victorious 4×400 team, finished first in the boys 400 meter run (50.82). Red Raider Drew Domurat won the boys high jump (6-2).
Oxford did well in the jumping events. Zander Quinn won the boys’ long jump with a mark of 20-11.75, and Eric Marshall won the triple jump (41-6).
West Chester Henderson’s Logan Krapf won the boys’ javelin with a throw of 149-2.
Kennett’s Kristin Hoffman won the girls pole vault with a mark of 12-7.
Westtown School runner William Nagy won the boys 1600 meter race with a time of 4:24.89, finishing ahead of runnerup Connor Britton of Avon Grove (4:30.95).
NOTES: Several Delaware County athletes won events at the Rustin Invitational, including Haverford’s Patrick Lawson (boys 3200 meter run, 9:30.61); Penncrest’s Daniel Munro (boys pole vault, 14-0), Kelsie Robinson (girls 1600 meter run, 5:29.17) and Hannah Puckett (girls 800 me-ter run, 2:17.27); Chester’s Alina LaForest (girls 300 hurdles, 45.41); and Delco Christian’s Sahdahya Addy (girls long jump, 16-4).

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