COATESVILLE >> The starting gun on the final of the boys’ 100-meter hurdles went off Saturday morning and a Pottsgrove-Pottstown dual meet broke out.
The crosstown rivals were better together on Day 2 of the District 1 Track and Field Championships at Coatesville.
Pottsgrove sophomore Trevon Foster narrowly edged Pottstown junior Tyrese Washington in the fastest race of both their careers and Pottsgrove’s Tre Cook and Pottstown’s Adam Green helped capture four of the top five places on the podium in a PAC-strong high hurdles event that headlined Pioneer Athletic Conference performers.
Foster wasn’t alone atop the podium for competitors from the PAC: Owen J. Roberts senior Claire Zubey won her first district title in track in the 3,200 meters (10:40.17), the Spring-Ford boys’ 4×100 relay of Andre Jackson-Littlejohn, Mason Scott, Travell Wellons and Chris Brittingham topped the 3A field and Upper Perkiomen senior Thomas Flud Jr. dominated the boys’ javelin, his final-throw 195-10 going 17 feet better than runner-up.
Falcons sophomore Foster put down a career-best 14.28, just ahead of Washington’s 14.29 that set Pottstown’s school record previously held by head coach Justin Gibbs, who won district gold and state bronze in 2003. Cook ran a 14.94 for fourth place and Green, a senior, ran a 15.06 for fifth place, all four qualifying for next weekend’s PIAA Championships at Shippensburg University.
“I’m ecstatic,” Foster said. “I had a lot of motivation coming into this meet today. I had a recent passing in my family, my cousin Nicole. That race was for her.”
Foster backed up his PAC championship a week ago, bettering his previous-best 14.53. He was a Pa. indoor state medalist in the 60-meter hurdles and has continued his elevation.
“Putting a number down like that gives me confidence going into my next race that I can do this,” he said. “But I have to continue to work because anything can happen. I have to continue to execute and run my race.”
From Coatesville for the District 1 track and field championships
The boys 110 hurdles, Trevon Foster of Pottsgrove wins it, just ahead of Tyrese Washington of Pottstown. 4 of 5 top finishes were Pottstown and Pottsgrove pic.twitter.com/K3uJbcj26v
— Austin Hertzog (@AustinHertzog) May 20, 2023
Washington missed the win by .01, but had everything else to be pleased with, especially after being disqualified from the 300-hurdle prelims due to a hit hurdle affecting a neighboring lane.
“I’m feeling good. It was a big PR for me, major PR,” Washington, whose previous best was his 14.52 last week at PACs, said. “I always felt I could run a 14.2 in that area. It felt good. I have to work on my block start though. I felt like I was playing catch up the whole way.
“To have a major PR and have the school record is good, but I’m looking for more.”
Washington credits head coach Gibbs with reaching his current levels that have overtaken his mentor’s 20-year-old record on back-to-back weekends.
“He has a lot of experience, has been here, won districts, PACs,” Washington said. “He’s taught me a lot that I never knew before. Basically he showed me how to do hurdles and got me to where I am now.”
Green, the lone senior of the bunch, qualified for states for the first time after narrowly missing out last year when he placed seventh in districts.
“It was so nice. This is going to be my first time going to states,” Green said. “When I came out here yesterday I was focusing on qualifying for states. I didn’t care where I placed or even if I made finals. Senior year, I have to come out and do something.”
He got some pep in his step with a bit of hot peppers: green Tabasco sauce to be exact.
“I brought a bottle of hot sauce with me,” Green said with a laugh. “Before the race I popped a few drops in my mouth hoping it would give me something. Maybe gave me a little extra kick.”
Green entered seeded eighth, qualified in seventh in prelims, then went up further for fifth in the finals, a feel-good moment for a highly regarded student-athlete who took his lumps as the multi-year starting goalkeeper of the hard-luck Pottstown boys’ soccer team and has been on the cusp in track and field. The emergence of Foster and Washington last year knocked him down a peg in the local standings, but helped elevate him Saturday, a week after finishing top five in three events at PACs (3rd in 110 hurdles, 2nd in high jump, 4th in long jump).
“Placing third last year (at PACs), it was rough, but I needed that to push me to get to states this year,” Green said.
The PAC dominance extended to the boys’ 3A javelin. Flud was joined on the podium by Perkiomen Valley’s Douglas Ledger (3rd, 169-3), Methacton’s Jack Alpher (5th, 161-11), Perkiomen Valley’s Darren Woo (7th, 156-9) and Owen J. Roberts’ Shane Towler (8th, 154-9).
Flud has stood alone in District 1 this spring, taking a step-by-step approach at districts.
“Obviously you always want to go out and PR, beat what you did the last time, but I threw a good throw and I won the district which has been a goal of mine since I started,” Flud said. “Sophomore year I took third, last year I took second (181-2) so winning this was pretty big.”
Flud, who will compete in college at Hillsdale College in Michigan, has ratcheted up his training by working with some past local greats in the event, Anthony O’Hara, a 1995 PIAA champion for Upper Perkiomen, and Elijah Shalaway, a Boyertown grad and 2016 District 1 champ who went on to Wake Forest and is currently a Boyertown assistant.
He’s reached 200 feet on three occasions this spring and will be positioned for a medal finish next weekend.
So will Owen J. Roberts’ Zubey, who added to her stacked resume with her first district gold medal on the track. She won the District 1 title in cross country as a junior and now adds a two-time title on the track with her 10:40.17 finish, comfortably ahead of Rustin’s Ellie Keefer (10:47.14) after making her move earlier than anticipated.
“I had a plan that I was going to try to push it the last 400 meters, but I was feeling so good I went for it in the last 800 meters. I ended up going a little earlier than I expected but it worked out in my favor,” Zubey said.
“Getting that district title is definitely a great way to close out a good four years. I’m really excited about it.”
What a way to start Day 2! Claire Zubey is the 2023 District One 3200m Champion! She runs 10:40.17 and Ava Taylor runs a huge PR of 11:11.38 to finish 13th! pic.twitter.com/LO7BS7ffMl
— OJR XC/Track (@OJR_XC) May 20, 2023
The four-time Mercury Cross Country Runner of the Year and future Penn State student-athlete will race in the 1,600 and 3,200 at states looking to add to the 10 state medals (cross country, indoor and outdoor track) she’s already earned.
“I’d like to see what I can do in both events, go for a medal again. It’ll definitely be good competition,” Zubey said.
The Spring-Ford boys’ 4×100 relay had the same drive to improve on last year’s finish when it placed fifth in the district and fifth at the PIAA Championships.
“Improving from last year when we got fifth, we used that knowing we could win it all, it drove us to win,” Wellons said. “Each meet we want to get better and better.”
It’s been their collective focus for the full year, specifically Scott, Wellons and Brittingham, while Jackson-Littlejohn joined the group after missing out with injury in 2022.
Jackson-Littlejohn built the Rams an early lead and Brittingham won by a fingertip over Downingtown West (42.091 vs. 42.095) on the anchor leg. Norristown, which edged Spring-Ford in the event at PACs, placed third (42.36).
“It was personal – I didn’t want to lose – and for the team because I didn’t want to get clowned for selling the team because we were in first and then all of a sudden I lose the race; I was not doing that,” said Brittingham.
Scott had a strong day individually as well, placing second in the 100 meters (10.87) and fourth in the 200 meters (21.71). Norristown’s Daunte Bell took third in the 200 (21.68).
“I’m feeling pretty good. I got the PR and made states, so I can’t complain,” Scott said of his 100 performance. “I wanted to PR – I ran 10.89 yesterday and 10.87 today – and stay disciplined to my race model because I know over time I’ll run it even faster.”
Scott has been on the area’s big movers in his junior year, notably dropping time and entering into the elite group after taking the titles in the 100, 200 and 400 last week at PACs. He’s surprised himself along the way.
“I ran 11.19 for outdoor last year, so (this season) I was just trying to break 11 hopefully,” Scott said. “I’m definitely shocked because I’m getting faster than what I expected. It’s just making me happy and wanting to push harder.”
Also for Spring-Ford, the boys’ 4×400 relay captured third place (3:18.01) and freshman Madison Johnson placed seventh in the 400 meters (58.39) to qualify for states.
Methacton’s Summer Mellow backed up her long jump gold Friday by placing third in the girls’ 100 meters. In the boys’ 100 meters, Wesley Conover took fifth (11.06) while teammate Zach Willen, the Columbia University-bound sprinter, pulled up with a calf injury late in the race and finished eighth to miss states.
Perkiomen Valley had a pair of runners advance in two events. Mackenzie Owens advanced in both hurdle events (7th in 100 hurdles, 15.46; 5th in 300 hurdles, 45.00) while distance runner Ian Johnson advanced in the 1,600 meters on Friday and took third in the 3,200 meters Saturday morning (9:19.05).
Also qualifying for states from the PAC were: Boyertown’s Harper Glennon (7th in the 200 meters, 25.60); Owen J. Roberts’ Jane Kratz (8th in 800 meters, 2:12.54) and Andrew McGonigle (8th in 3,200 meters, 9:25.12); Phoenixville’s Rylee Watson (5th in triple jump, 36-8).
Earning a district medal but not advancing from the PAC were: Boyertown’s Tyler Adamski in the triple jump (8th), Anthony Panarello (6th) and Nathan Deming (8th) in the discus; Methacton’s SahBri Hill in the triple jump (43-11 ½); Perkiomen Valley’s Audrey Ramsey in the javelin (118-5); Pottsgrove’s Cory Jubilee-Scott (4th in discus, 146-7). Jubilee-Scott did qualify in the shot put on Friday when he placed second.