PHILADELPHIA — The weather was awful by the time Haverford’s Camryn McGeehan, Aubrey Leneweaver, Morgan Elliott and Olivia Cieslak took the track for the high school girls distance medley relay Championship of America Friday at the Penn Relays.
A steady rain made the track slick and constant breeze had the temperature in the high 50s, not ideal running conditions.
Yet that didn’t stop McGeehan, Leneweaver, Elliott and Cieslak from etching their names in the school record book with a third-place finish. The quartet finished in 12:08.53 to shatter the school record by nearly 20 seconds. The previous mark was 12:27.27 set in 2012 at the Delco Relays, according to the team’s website.
“These were hard conditions to deal with but I thought we did a great job,” said Leneweaver, who ran the 400-meter leg. I’m proud of us.”
The Fords had to put in some work to get that third-place finish. Elliott was in 10th place when she got the baton from Leneweaver for the 800-meter leg. She moved up to third before she handed the stick off to Cieslak for the 1,600-meter anchor leg.
Only Saratoga Springs from New York (11:43.42) and West Springfield in Virginia (12:07.48) posted better times than the Fords.
“It means a lot,” Elliott said. “This is the last high school Penn Relays for Aubrey and me, so we really wanted to do something good with it. Despite the conditions we had each other’s backs and it’s really special.”
The group is accustomed to running on a big stage. The Fords foursome finished fourth in the DMR at the New Balance Indoor Nationals. They set a school record that day, too, with a time of 11:53.19.
“Running at nationals prepared us really well,” Leneweaver said. “Saratoga Springs ran at a different nationals, but a lot of the teams that were here today were at New Balance, so knowing that we were able to compete there, we weren’t scared. We knew what we had to do.”
Leneweaver, Elliott and Cieslak will be back at Franklin Field on Saturday to take part in the Central League 4 x 400. Then it’s the start of the championship season, beginning with the Delco Championships meet next week at Springfield High. But they’re already looking forward to running the DMR again.
“We’ll run it at outdoor nationals,” McGeehan said.
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The goal for the Chester girls 4 x 100-meter relay team was to break 48 seconds. Kelly Naylor, Damira Allen, Janaisa Dearry and A’Lasia Mosley didn’t quite get there, finishing in 48.82. It wasn’t a season best but it was good enough to earn the Clippers a spot in Saturday’s Northeast final.
“We definitely can run 47-low,” Dearry said.
Garnet Valley’s Felicia Grimmelbein, Avery McCrimon, Anna Saboja and Anna Archer turned in the second best time in the event by a Delco team. That quartet won its heat in 49.97.
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NOTES >> Radnor All-Delco Sophia Hill finished in a two-way tie for fourth place in the pole vault at 12-3¼, just shy of equaling her county record of 12-4 and nearly a foot better than her performance last year at Penn. … Strath Haven All-Delco Alexa Brown placed sixth in the shot put. Her best effort was 41-7. … Strath Haven’s Chloe Browne, Nora Chen, Audrey Stevens and Hannah Prokup turned in the best time by a Delco team in the 4 x 800, finishing in 9:44.91. Notre Dame (Therese Trainer, Mara Brady, Kara Sweeney, Ava DelVescovo) finished in 9:49.05. Penn Wood (Iesha Mcfarline, Kelisha Beckett, Lumeshia Mcfarline, Rihanna Davis) ran 9:56.43 and Springfield (Sophie Kurtis, Marin Fallon, Sarah Emch, Marin Hay) crossed the finish line in 10:04.59.