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Cheltenham’s Eyota Bey is The Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Media 2022 Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year

Cheltenham's Eyota Bey, center, leads the field to win the 3A girls' 400 meters during the District 1 Track and Field Championships at Coatesville. (Austin Hertzog/MediaNews Group)

When speaking of his junior sprinter, Eyota Bey, Cheltenham coach Jerome Lowery said that “the passion and determination that she put forth is a spark that ignites the fire in others.”

And it burned bright the entire season.

Bey, selected as the Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Media 2022 Athlete of the Year for Girls Track and Field, had a season filled with individual success, while her perseverance and determination served as an inspiration to those around her.

“What has impressed the coaching staff this season is Eyota’s dedication and focus to the sport of track and field,” Lowery said. “Not just to her individual progress, but also to the progress of her teammates. She is an integral part of our team but her very presence and work ethic inspires her teammates to want to set and achieve higher goals.”

Bey led the Panthers to the Suburban One League Freedom Division title, a third-place finish in District 1-3A and a 12th-place finish at states.

Cheltenham’s Eyota Bey, right, and West Chester Rustin’s Ava Alexander, center, receive the baton for the final leg of the 3A girls 4×100 relay during the District 1 Track and Field Championships at Coatesville. Cheltenham won the event. (Austin Hertzog – MediaNews Group)

It was a season to remember, made possible by years of commitment.

“Eyota has evolved from her middle school years to being a top state competitor as a high school athlete,” Lowery said. “One thing that has truly allowed her to reach her greatest success is her parents, Zukhan and Lisa. They have been great supportive parents to her growth and focus on her academics and athletics. Throughout the trying months that COVID seemed to ravage our country, they remained dedicated to practices, long weekend travel to meets, and helping Eyota maintain a healthy balance with athletics and life. I truly am excited to see how she performs over her last two seasons.”

Bey overcame adversity to capture the gold medal in the 400-meter dash at districts, in 55.68 seconds. She also led the 4×100 relay to gold in 47.83 and surged to second in the 200 in 25.07.

“Districts was an interesting challenge for Eyota due to the fact that she did not compete or practice the week and a half before,” Lowery said. “However, she did not want to miss her opportunity to compete at states knowing that she missed competing at the Indoor State Championships because of a severe injury of shin splints. As a team, we wanted to make sure that Eyota was able to make it through all of her races.”

Cheltenham’s Eyota Bey races to third in the 400 at PIAA’s on Saturday, May 28, 2022. (Kev Hunter/MediaNews Group)

And she came through in stunning fashion.

“We even offered to sit her out of the trials in the 4×100 so that her legs would be fresh for her 400,” Lowery went on to say. “However, Eyota stated that this was her only way to contribute to the team and thus ran in the prelims and the finals for the 4×100. In her 400 race, we had been working on race strategy so that she could be efficient in the race. She truly handled the race plan with ease, considering she had not practiced in about a week and a half. In the 200, we really got to see her display how competitive she is when put to the test. She really gave it her all and ran a season’s best time to place into states.”

Bey capped her season in impressive fashion, earning a third-place medal in the 400 and anchoring the 4×1 to a state title.

She joined teammates Mariah Winfield, Kira Murray and Donya Baxter for a winning time of 48.03.

“It was truly great to see Eyota and her teammates win gold in the 4×100 at states,” Lowery said. “Cheltenham has had a great legacy in all of the sprint relays. The school currently holds the all-time record for both relays, the 4×100 outdoors and 4×200 indoors. The girls know this legacy and want to perform to the best of their ability to keep the tradition alive.”

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