CALN >> Coming down to the final event of the PIAA District 1 3A Track & Field Championships Saturday, the 4×400 relay, host Coatesville had already wrapped up its fourth AAA boys’ team district championship in the past five years.
But the AAA girls’ district team title was still up for grabs – defending champ West Chester Rustin trailed Haverford by a single point. On the final girls’ event of the day, the Golden Knights’ 4×400 quartet of junior Julia Snelling, junior Maddie Miller, senior Keturah Darwon and senior Ava Alexander came thundering down the stretch to victory with a PR time of 3:50.93, clinching the district team title for the Rustin girls.
This was a repeat scenario of last year’s Districts, in which Alexander anchored Rustin’s first-place 4×400 relay, allowing the Golden Knight girls to win their first-ever district title.
Alexander, who earlier in the day set a meet record in the girls triple jump (41 feet, 10 inches), said, “We knew we were down by a point, and for Keturah and I, it’s our senior year and we wanted to go out with a bang. It was the fourth event of the day for both Keturah and me, and we were really tired but we gave it our all. Julia, Maddie and Keturah set me up for the last lap, and I just had to hold our (first-place) position.
“This has been our 4×400 (lineup) throughout winter and spring, so seeing the time we dropped is really incredible. I can’t wait to see what we do at States.”
Darwon, who earlier in the day won the girls 300 meter hurdles, said, “I feel like we built (a lead) off each other. I knew when I got the baton I had to put it all on the track. Coming down that last stretch, I wasn’t hearing anyone around me, so I thought, ‘This is it.’”
Miller, who had the lead when she passed the baton to Darwon, smiled and said, “I was trying to focus on my arms more (during the race) because I usually forget to do that (laughs).”
Snelling said, “I definitely felt the pressure to win, but I’m glad this was my only race of the day – I could lay everything out on the table.”
Rustin girls head coach Jim Collins said, “Once again, our girls exceeded expectations – they’re making me at a loss for words. Last year, we did the same thing in the 4×400 to win. Ava was great, Keturah got a surprise win in the 300 hurdles, and we had four second-place finishes. I think we have 12 girls in 10 events going to States. It’s unbelievable.”
Coatesville won the AAA boys team competition, its fourth title in five years of competition (they also won in 2018, 2019 and 2022 – there was no district meet in 2020 due to COVID). While the Raiders had no individual winners, they are heading to States in seven events (4×100, 4×800, 300 hurdles, shot put, discus, high jump and 800 meter run).
Coatseville boys head coach Damien Henry said, “I’m fortunate to work with such a talented group of student-athletes and coaches. We all share the same vision, and that’s why our program has been successful over the past several years. I’m proud of them for their performance today, this was a team effort.”
For the Coatesville boys, here is who is headed to States — the 4×800 relay quartet of Tommy Wayne, Tommy Silvester, Marcus Evans and Josh Miller (fourth place, 7:55.73); senior Drew Domurat in the high jump (second, 6-3) as well as junior Maximus Stukes (fourth, 6-3) and junior Albert Morton (fifth, 6-1); junior Takiyah Lynch in the shot put (fourth, 50-5.5); the 4×100 relay quartet of senior Isaiah Brightman, junior Damon Watson, junior Donte London and junior Robert Turner (fourth, 42.68); Miller in discus (third, 147-9); Brightman in the 300 hurdles (third, 39.92); and Silvester in the 800 meter run (third, 1:54.74).
The Rustin girls finished with 79 team points, followed by Haverford (76). The Golden Knight girls were led by Alexander, the University of Kentucky-bound senior who set a meet record in the triple jump (41-10), finished second in the 100 meter dash (12.19), placed second in the 400 meter run (55.27), and anchored the first-place 4×400 relay.
“I’ve been trying some new (triple jump) technique in training, and I was hoping to take only two jumps today because I knew I had four events today, and I didn’t want to be too tired so on my first jump I popped out a big PR,” said Alexander. “My second jump was (approximately) my second-best ever for this jump. I wanted that district record because this is my senior year, and I wanted to go out with everything that I have.”
Darwon won the girls 300 meter hurdles with what she called “a massive PR” of 43.27.
“My key was really using my competition to push me ahead; having someone next to me (Haverford’s Aubrey Leneweaver, 43.34) really helped me to push,” said Darwon, who will compete in the hurdles for Florida Atlantic University. “It means so much to win this – I just started running the 300 hurdles this year.”
Darwon also finished fourth in the girls 100 meter hurdles (14.69) and is headed to States in that event. Senior Ellie Keefer finished second in the girls 3200 meter run (10:47.14) and fifth in the 1600 meter run (4:56.55) and is headed to States in both events. Senior Jaylen Williams finished second in the girls long jump (19-4.75) and is headed to States. The quartet of Williams, senior Joss Barkman, Darwon and junior Brooke Kruger finished fifth in the girls 4×100 (48.62) is and is headed to States.
Saturday morning was electric for Oxford High School junior Macaela Walker, who finished first in two events – 30 minutes part — both the girls 100 meter hurdles (PR 14.16) and 100 meter dash (11.90) at the PIAA District 1 Track & Field Championships at Coatesville High School.
Walker, whose prior best in the 100 hurdles was 14.21, said, “The key for me (in the hurdles) was to stay focused on my lane and my hurdles, and not focus on any other lane.
“In the 100 meter dash, I was just looking to the finish line and constantly praying to God to help me finish my race strong.”
Walker will run both events at States. It will be her first time at States in the 100 meter dash, and she ran the 100 hurdles at States last spring, finishing seventh.
“I was in first place until the last hurdle, then I fell (and finished seventh),” said Walker. “My goal at States in the hurdles is to finish strong and keep it clean – this will be my redemption year (smiles).”
Here’s a look at how the other Chester County schools performed at Districts:
Downingtown East: The Cougars finished tied for seventh in the boys team standings and one reason was junior Luis Colemenares-Bittar, who won the boys 300 meter hurdles (38.46).
“I needed this win so bad – this is my first win at Districts,” said Colemenares-Bittar, who also will be headed to States in the 110 meter hurdles (placed third, 14.90) and the 4×100 relay. “I really went all-out; I didn’t want to hold anything back or save any energy. I was tired of not finishing first (at Districts); I really needed this win. When I hit the last hurdle, it was a little shaky; I dove past the finish line and thought, ‘If I fall, it’s going to be on the other side of the finish line (smiles).”
Cougar junior Nick Steinfeldt placed fourth in the boys 1600 meter run (4:20.46) and is headed to States. The boys 4×100 relay quartet of Colemenares-Bittar, senior Damon Alston, senior Ryan Reece and senior Sean Kopanski finished seventh (42.90) and is headed to States.
For the D-East girls, senior Keerthana Sujesh finished sixth in the 100 meter hurdles (15.16) and seventh in the 300 meter hurdles (46.25) and is headed to States in both events. The quartet of senior Katie Riley, junior Nia Massey, junior Faith Fuqua and Giovanna Jennings-Scott finished seventh in the girls 4×100 (48.92) and is headed to States. Fuqua placed third in the 200 meter run (25.12) and is headed to States.
Downingtown West: Whippet senior Kelly Bell finished fifth in the boys 400 meter dash (48.59) and is headed to States. The boys 4×100 relay quartet of sophomore Spencer Dunn, Bell, senior Matthew Woodward and senior Eddie Moore finished second (42.10) and is headed to States. For the Whippet girls, senior Ryleigh Hearn was fourth in the 400 meter run (57.74) and is headed to States. The girls 4×400 relay quartet of freshman Hailey Sward, freshman Molly Weitzman, freshman Gabriella Miller and Hearn finished sixth (3:56.97) and is headed to States.
West Chester Henderson: Warrior senior Preston Lubeski finished sixth in both the boys 400 meter run (48.82) and 200 meter run (22.09) and is headed to States in both events. Senior Ramsey Tarazi finished fifth in the boys’ discus throw (146-1) and is headed to States.
Villa Maria Academy: The Hurricanes finished 12th in the girls team standings. VMA junior Maddy Kelley finished third in the girls pole vault (12-0) and senior Mary Cate Doughty placed fourth (12-0), and both girls are headed to States. Senior Marin Rosser placed fourth in the girls’ javelin throw (120-10) and is headed to States.
Kennett: Blue Demon senior Kristin Hoffman finished second in the girls pole vault (12-6) and is headed to States. Sophomore Xavier McGreal placed second in the boys’ high jump (6-3) and is headed to States.
Great Valley: Patriot senior Charlotte Powell finished fifth in the girls discus (115-2) and is headed to States. Senior Rachel Hubley placed fifth in the 200 meter run (25.40) and is headed to States.
Oxford: Hornet junior CJ Boyer finished fifth in the boys long jump (21-6) and is headed to States.
Bishop Shanahan: Eagle senior Jameson Todd finished second in the boys 800 meter run (1:54.26) and is headed to States. The 4×400 quartet of Todd, senior Will Kolimago, sophomore Jack Polizzi and junior Chijioke Okafor finished sixth (3:20.80) and is headed to States.
Avon Grove: Red Devil junior Elias Chase finished second in the boys javelin throw (178-5) and is headed to States.
Conestoga: Pioneer sophomore Patrick Barausky finished second in the boys pole vault (13-0) and is headed to States.
Unionville: Longhorn senior Aryan Abbaraju finished seventh in the boys 3200 meter run (9:22.07) and is headed to States. Another Longhorn senior, Alex Hall, finished fourth in the boys’ javelin throw (165-5) and is headed to States. On Friday, the girls’ 4×800 relay quartet of sophomore Erin Rapin, senior Nicky Diver, senior Molly Main and senior Becca Harkness finished seventh (9:28.17) and is headed to States.
Church Farm boys win District 1 AA team title
The Church Farm School won the District 1 AA boys team title, with 122 points, ahead of second-place finisher Delco Christian (79).
The boys 4×100 relay quartet of Jaden Roberson, Andre Anyimah, Kwadwo Onyinah and Neiman Smith finished first (43.27) and is headed to States.
The Church Farm boys 4×400 relay team of Anyimah, Dylan Jones, Jilord Baah and Rasheed Barkare finished first (3:37.68), barely edging New Hope Solebury, and is headed to States.
Roberson finished first in the boys 100 meter run (11.07) and Anyimah was first in the boys 200 meter run (22.55). Both runners are headed to States in those respective events.
“This was a total team effort,” said Church Farm head coach Tom DeSante. “So many of our athletes took on the challenge of stepping out of their comfort zone and learning different events. Coaches Gabe Logan, John Garges, and Mark Behr did an amazing job coaching our scholar-athletes and pushing them to many personal records this season.”
NOTES: In only its second year of competing in interscholastic track & field, Regina Luminis Academy produced two champions at the PIAA District 1 2A championships at Coatesville. Gianna Scoville becames the first RLA track athlete to advance to the state track and field championships, winnning the girls 1600 meter run with a PR and new school record of 5:38. Scoville also finished third in the girls 3200 meter run with a school record 12:25. Martin O’Rourke was champion in the boys 3200 meter race in a time of 9:55. O’Rourke also was part of the boys’ 4 x 800 meter relay team of O’Rourke, John Finley, Micah Volpe and Luke Kozak, which finished in second place. O’Rourke and Scoville will be heading to the PIAA 2A state championships in Shippensburg May 26-27.
Boys team standings (Class AAA)
Coatesville 49.5, Central Bucks West 39, Pottsgrove 31, Hatboro Horsham 29, Spring-Ford 29, Bensalem 27, Strath Haven 25, Downingtown East 25, Cheltenham 23, Pottstown 22, Norristown 20, Perkiomen Valley 20.
Girls team standings (Class AAA)
West Chester Rustin (79), Haverford (76), North Penn (62), Chester (40.5), Cheltenham (32), Pennridge (29), Mount St. Joseph (28.5), Owen J Roberts (24), Strath Haven (23), Central Bucks West (23), Oxford (22), Villa Maria Academy (18).
Boys’ event winners (Class AAA)
110 meter hurdles – Trevor Foster, Pottsgrove (14.28); 100 meter run – Lavar Jackson, Upper Darby (10.77); 200 meter run – Connor McFadden, Central Bucks West (21.47); 4×800 relay – Penncrest (7:50.82); 1600 meter run – Brian DiCola, Hatboro Horsham (4:14.78); 4×100 relay – Spring Ford (42.10); 400 meter run – Zyan Greene, Bensalem (47.88); 300 meter hurdles – Luis Colmenares-Bittar, Downingtown East (38.46); 800 meter run – Robert Walton, Bensalem (1:53.78); 3200 meter run – Brian DiCola, Hatboro Horsham (9:09.03); 4×400 relay – Abington (3:14.62); high jump – Colin Graham, Upper Moreland (6-5); pole vault – Lucas Knappenberger, Central Bucks South (13-6); long jump – Terryece Phillips, Pottstown (22-3.5); triple jump – Jared Hess, Pennridge (46.2.5); shot put – Tyler Klambara, Springfield (Delco) (54-6); discus – Jacob Tannenbaum, Central Bucks East (158-9); javelin – Thomas Flud Jr., Upper Perkiomen (195-10).
Girls’ event winners (Class AAA)
100 meter hurdles – Macaela Walker, Oxford (14.16); 100 meter run – Macaela Walker, Oxford (11.90); 200 meter run – JaNaisa Dearry, Chester (24.70); 4×800 relay – Upper Dublin (9:17.26); 1600 meter run – Olivia Cieslak, Haverford (4:51.55); 4×100 relay – North Penn (47.48); 400 meter run – Mimi Duffy, Central Bucks West (55.23); 300 meter hurdles – Keturah Darwon, West Chester Rustin (43.27); 800 meter run – Olivia Cieslak, Haverford (2:08.38); 3200 meter run – Claire Zubey, Owen J Roberts (10:40.17); 4×400 relay – West Chester Rustin (3:50.93); high jump – Sydney Jones, Haverford (5-5); pole vault – Veronica Vacca, Mount St. Joseph (13-0); long jump – Summer Mellow, Methacton (19-5.5); triple jump – Ava Alexander, West Chester Rustin (41-10); shot put – Alexa Brown, Strath Haven (43-9.25); discus – Mollie Carpenter, Haverford (123-1); javelin – Mia Rivera, Central Bucks East (128-7)
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