SPRINGFIELD — Chester came to the girls Delco Track and Field Championships with one collective goal – winning the team title.
The Clippers came up a little bit short in that quest Saturday, as Haverford used its depth to win the crown for the second year in a row with 135 points at the county championship meet at Springfield High School
Nonetheless, Chester showed it will be a force to reckon with in the future.
Led by a scintillating performance by a dynamic group of underclassmen, the Clippers piled up 94 points and gave the Fords all they could handle. No one shined brighter for Chester than freshman Damira Allen, who came away with three gold medals, a bronze and a meet record.
Allen won both hurdles, including a sizzling 14.42 performance in the 100 hurdles that broke the 32-year-old mark of 14.44 set by Penn Wood great Dawn Burrell in 1991. She was also on the 4 x 100 squad that took first and the 4 x 400 that was third.
“It means a lot,” Allen said of breaking the meet record, “but I think I can run faster.”
She had to beat two-time defending champ Aubrey Leneweaver to win both hurdles events. She edged Leneweaver in the last 10 meters to win in a personal best time of 43.57 seconds.
“I just had to make sure I had a clean race, didn’t stutter or anything,” Allen said. “Thursday (in the preliminary round) my race wasn’t that clean but today my race was clean.”
Sophomore JaNaisa Dearry also turned in an impressive performance for the Clippers. She won the 400, finished second in the 100 and 200, and teamed with Allen, Kelly Naylor and Alaisa Mosely for gold in the 4 x 100.
The 4 x 100 and 400 were back-to-back. Dearry ran the second leg of the relay and was in the second heat in the 400, which gave her little time to recover.
“I really don’t know how I did it,” Dearry said. “I just went out there in the relay and then tried to prepare myself for the 400. I just wanted to do it for my team.”
Freshman Niya capped a good day with a victory in the high jump for the Clippers. She leaped a personal best 5-4 and won the event on fewer misses. Earlier in the day she took second in the triple jump with a personal best leap of 35-2½. She was on the 4 x 400 that placed third and took sixth in the long jump Thursday.
“I was really proud of myself and my teammates,” Jeffers said. “We all came out her to do our best.”
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It wasn’t a surprise that Haverford came away with the team title. The Fords were the heavy favorite going into the meet and lived up to those expectations, scoring in 13 of the 18 events with five individual victories and one relay triumph.
Sophomore Olivia Cieslak turned in an impressive performance for the Fords, winning the 800 and 1,600, and joined Morgan Elliott, Leneweaver and Riona O’Neill to claim gold in the 4 x 400, the final event of the day.
Cieslak won the 800 in 2:11.92 and topped two-time defending champ Therese Trainer to claim the 1,600-meter crown in 4:51.06. Cieslak took the lead from the start and slowly pulled away.
“I wanted to go through the first 800 in 2:20,” Cieslak said. “I was a little off (2:23.29) but the weather was great. It wasn’t a PR but I got one for the team.”
That was the goal all day for the Fords. Mollie Carpenter picked up 10 big points with a victory in the discus to go with the silver medal she claimed in the shot put Wednesday. Carpenter dominated the competition and won the discus with a personal best throw of 125-8. All six of her throws would have been good enough to win the event.
“It’s very rewarding,” said Carpenter, who will play basketball at Catholic University. “I practiced (Friday) and finished very strong. I was hitting those numbers then and it was good to come out and do it today.”
Camryn McGeehan pulled away to set the meet record in the 3,200-meter run with a personal best time of 10:46.58. That broke the mark of 10:49.67 set by Notre Dame’s Maria Seykora in 2011. won the 3,200-meter run for the Fords. McGeehan topped her previous best by 36 seconds. Lenewaver won silver medals in the 100 and 300 hurdles and a bronze in the 200. Morgan Elliott took second in the 400.
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Academy Park junior Fatumata Kaba wasted no time taking control of the triple jump. She unleashed a personal best leap of 36-6¾ on her first attempt and that stood up as with winning effort. Her next two attempts (35-3½ and 35-10) would have been good enough to win, too.
Kaba topped her previous best by nearly 18 inches.
“This is my first year triple jumping,” Kaba said. “I decided to get into it because I wasn’t very good at the long jump. I’m glad I did because I’m pretty good at it.”
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NOTES >> Allen wasn’t the only athlete to break a meet record. Radnor All-Delco Sophia Hill topped her county meet mark in the pole vault with an effort of 12-0 to win the event for the third year in a row. The previous record was 11-0, which Hill set last year. … Episcopal Academy’s Saige Forbes picked up two more gold medals in the championships with a victory in the 100-meter dash in 12.09 and the 200 in a PR of 24.79. She won the long jump Thursday with a meet-record leap of 19-4½. … Penncrest took the 4 x 800 thanks to a sizzling anchor leg by Hannah Puckett. She made up more than 30 meters to claim the gold medal.