PHILADELPHIA — By winning the Inter-Ac League 4 x 400 Thursday at the Penn Relays, Episcopal Academy’s boys qualified for the Philadelphia area championship race Friday.
That presented a bit of a conundrum for the Churchmen, or so it seemed.
Freshman Abaas Hunter and junior Michael Woolery were part of that 4 x 400 squad and also on EA’s distance medley relay team that was entered in the Championship of America. The 4 x 400 was scheduled to start at 4:15 and the DMR was set to go off at 5:05. That’s not exactly enough time to recover. So the Churchmen had a decision to make.
As it turned out, though, EA coach Zach Richards already had a plan in place. In the event EA’s 4 x 400 advanced freshman Jahmir Brown and junior Brendan Schlitt would join Anik Vossschulte and Connor Hanrahan so Hunter and Woolery would be well-rested for the DMR.
“We wanted to win our league in the 4 x 4,” Woolery said. “That was important. That was our first goal. But today was all about the DMR and we went out and tried to do the best we could.”
The Churchmen did not get the result they wanted in either race. Hunter, Woolery, Aidan McHugh and Dakin Ebmyer placed 12th in the DMR (10:33.44), while the 4 x 400 was 11th (3:37.49). However, the time in the DMR was the fifth best in the state according to pa.milesplit.com, thus the day wasn’t a total loss.
“We thought we would be competitive in this race,” McHugh said. “It’s doesn’t feel good but we have to move on. We still have a lot to do to end the season. We just have to move forward.”
“All four of us are going to use this as motivation,” Embyer added. “We want to go to Delcos and absolutely rip it up.”
Haverford (Patrick Lawson, Collin Nilmi, Gabe Zwilling, Quentin Ryan) also turned in a top time in the DMR. The Fords placed 14th in 10:35.64, which ranks seventh statewide.
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Penncrest had to switch things up for its appearance in the Championship of America 4 x 800. Kadin Salaria, who anchored the relay in the qualifying round Thursday was sick and unable to perform in Friday’s final.
In stepped All-Delco Gavin Mogck to fill Salria’s place.
“I’d do anything for this team,” Mogck said. “All these guys, they made their mark yesterday and deserved to be here. Anything I can do to help to pick up for arguably one of our best legs, I’d do anything for these guys.”
That wasn’t the only change the Lions made. Shane Hall led off, followed by Brendan Hefferan, Ben Holst-Rightley and Mogck. Hefferan ran the leadoff leg in Thursday’s qualifier and Hall was second.
“I don’t think the order matters,” Holst-Rightley said. “I think anyone on this team is as good as anyone else. We all push each other. We all work together. We’re just a family. That’s the way it is.”
The race did not go quite the way Penncrest wanted. The Lions finished 10th in 8:03.56 after running 7:57.83 on Thursday.
“This is just a warmup for districts and states,” Holst-Rightley said. “That’s what we have our sights set on.”
“We’re going to learn from this,” Hefferan added. “We have a good training group and a lot of hard workers on the team so we know we’re going to get over this and be stronger for states.”