By Peter Jennings
Germantown Academy hosted the Philadelphia Area Invitational at its lightening fast brand new track facility in Fort Washington today. In its first year, the invitational focused on gathering elite high school milers from the area to compete together in one race. Going into the event, there were six boys who had broken 4:20, nine under 4:25.
Pictured, from left to right: Sam Ritz, GA; Lyle Wistar, GFS; Dustin Wilson, CHA; Ben Ritz, GA; Quinn Davis, Hill School.
In future years, we will hold an entire meet with the goal of showcasing the talent in this area and giving athletes one more chance to set personal bests, tune up for nationals, and/or hit a qualifying time.
This year’s seeded 1600M race featured:
Sam Hibbs from Hatboro Horsham, fresh off his PIAA States victory in the 3200
Dustin Wilson from Chestnut Hill Academy, winner of the 1600 and 3200 at the Inter-Ac Championships, and 1600 champion at PAISAA States
Quinn Davis, Hill School, 1600 champion at PAISAA States
Sami Aziz, Germantown Friends, 1600 champion at the Friends Schools League Championship, runner-up at PAISAA States
Lyle Wistar, Germantown Friends, runner-up in 1600 at Friends Schools League Championship
Ben Ritz, Germantown Academy, runner-up 1600 at Inter-Acs and 3200 at PAISAA States
Sam Ritz, Germantown Academy, top freshman miler in PA this year, 21st in the nation in this category coming into the meet
Sam Hibbs took the race out hard, bringing the packed field through 400M in 61 seconds. Hibbs continued to lead at the 800M mark in 2:05-2:06, but Wilson and Davis moved up on him on the backstretch of lap number three and with Ritz moving up as well, there was a four-man group coming into the bell lap.
With a surge at the 1200M mark, Ritz took the lead into the first turn of the final lap with Wilson right on his shoulder. The two separated from the field as they pushed against the wind on the backstretch and battled around the final turn. Wilson pulled even with 80M to go, but Ritz summoned one more push to hold on to the victory.
Ben Ritz’s PA#5 time of 4:12.76 shatters his old personal best and GA school record time of 4:19.66, and places him 25th in the nation for 11th grade Milers (66th overall). Sam Ritz also lowered his best time of the season, moving him up the national rankings to the 13th fastest freshman miler in the US this year. Wilson's 13.99 is PA#6.