By Aaron Rich
In the boys 100m dash Demetrius Lanier (East Stroudsburg), 10.54h, and Christian Brissett (Cheltenham), 10.62, are virtually equal in terms of time and both have had solid seasons. This should be an exciting race to watch. But the race doesn’t stop there as Xavier Smith (Daniel Boone), 10.73, has been upping his game all year and looks really fresh at the District 3 meet. Also challenging for podium spots are Walt Pegues (Central), 10.77, Denzel Pierre (Cedar Crest), 10.79, and Troy Apke (Mount Lebanon), 10.81.
The boys 200m dash could go several different ways. Malik Jones (Ridley) 21.44, was the 200m champ last year, though he has the 400m final to get through first. Demetrius Lanier (East Stroudsburg), 21.34h, could pull off the sweep as could Christian Brissett (Cheltenham), 21.46. But hold up, Xavier Smith (Daniel Boone), 21.50 is also a dark horse to take both races. Others challenging for top spots include Daniel Meyer (Somerset Area), 21.66, Ronald George (Pittsburgh Central Catholic), 21.83, and Kareem Payne (Delaware Valley), 21.90.
The boys 400m dash will prove to a very quick affair with the talented Malik Jones (Ridley), 47.06, coming into the meet just a shade over the 47s barrier. Suffice to say he looks quite unbeatable if all goes according to plan and he was also 3rd last year. That being said John Lewis (Cheltenham), 47.69, and Dave Stellato (Wissahickon), 47.89, are both under 48s and look poised for good results. Others in the podium hunt include Charles Snorweah (Pennsbury), 48.48, Mackensey Thomas (Phoenixville Area), 48.62, and Donovan St. Louis (Upper Darby), 48.65.
The hurdle races feature a comeback performance from a very determined athlete. When we last talked to Chance his confidence was high but very realistic to take at least one gold home if not two. In the boys 110m Hurdles Matthew Bernadowski (Elizabeth Forward), 14.00, and Chance Post (Conestoga Valley), 14.02, are virtually even as this will prove to be quite the epic race where one slip could be the difference. But wouldn’t it be great to see a clean race where both these talented hurdlers crack the 14s mark. But that isn’t all, as Montae Nicholson (Gateway), 14.08, sits only fractions of a second back and could be right in the thick of this race as well. Remember, he finished 2nd to Zaza last year. Others with podium shots include Mitch Valko (South Fayette), 14.20, and Kornelius Klah (Pennsbury), 14.36.
It would seem that the boys 300m Hurdles would be the lock for Chance as he sits first by a long shot with a time of 37.43. But David Marrington (Neshaminy), 38.06, could go under 38s as well, though he might have to hope for an off race by Chance. Other podium contenders include Brandon Mitchell (Fox Chapel Area), 38.14, and John Lewis (Cheltenham), 38.36.
When it comes to the boys 800m run hold on to your hats boys because this is going to be a real barn-burner!! Kyle Francis (Bensalem), 1:54.71, Jeff Wiseman (Council Rock South), 1:51.91, and Joseph Logue (Pennridge), 1:52.04, went 1-2-3 in one of the most epic races in PA history during the indoor state champs. All three are back again to battle for the ultimate prize in the outdoor state title. One important thing to remember is that Francis and Logue will have 4x800 trials and finals under their belts while Wiseman will be fresh for the race. Wiseman certainly looks incredibly fit and capable of a sub-1:50 clocking, especially with the competition that will be pushing the pace in this one. Get your bathroom break in because this will be a special show. Others poised for a podium run include James Smith (Upper Saint Clair), 1:53.23, Austin Cooper (Upper Merion), 1:53.94, Zach Brehm (Carlisle), 1:53.96, and Elias Graca (Fox Chapel Area), 1:53.97. Brehm is the returning state champion, so he knows how to come on strong when it counts.
If the morning goes according to plan the boys 1600m run will be an attempt at a rare double by Tony Russell (West Chester Henderson), 4:09.53. Russell was 6th last year. He will have a 3200m race under his belt but 3 hours of recovery and he is clearly the class of the field based on his current season. But don’t be misled as Carlisle prepares its runners well and Zach Brehm (Carlisle), 4:16.40, is coming into form nicely and was a 4:09 miler last year. Also not to be forgotten is Jim Belfatto (Cardinal O’Hara), 4:17.92, who split 4:11 to give his team a national DMR title indoors. Reiny Barchet (West Chester Henderson), 4:16.04, will also have a nice shot at the podium.
Will the boys 3200m run freaking finally get under 9:00?! It will be cool, calm and clear, and the runners will be fresh. No excuses this year gentlemen… Tony Russell (West Chester Henderson), 8:57.21c, is the favorite, not only with the fastest time but with the fierce kick and confidence in how he is currently running. So much so that he felt pretty fresh after his 9:00.34 2 mile at the Henderson Invite. It is hard to do alone, but that will hardly be an issue as Ross Wilson, runner-up last year, (Council Rock North), 9:01.61c, Reiny Barchet (West Chester Henderson), 9:03.27c, and Dominic Deluca (Dallas), 9:03.54, are certainly up to the task as well. Four under 9?! Make it happen guys! Other guys who could step up and be in the mix include Colin Martin (Fox Chapel Area), 9:10.74, Sam Webb (Pennsbury), 9:11.91, and Jeff Groh (Lower Dauphin), 9:13.81.
There is so much about this 4x800m relay that is unknown, but it will still be very exciting. State College Area, 7:45.12, looks to be resting Cather for the anchor leg so we know they are gunning for the title. Pennridge, 7:45.28, certainly has an edge with Joey Logue on anchor, but he also has the 800 trials to get through as well. They have a shot at the title and a sub-7:40 clocking so it is pretty certain he will run. Central Bucks East, 7:48.21, is also in the hunt with a time just better than West Chester Henderson, 7:49.84. But yet another question, does Russell add to his plate by running the 4x800 trials and finals, or just focus on the 3200/1600 double? Even without Russell a podium spot seems likely for this talented squad. North Penn, 7:51.81, Pennsbury, 7:53.10, Bensalem, 7:53.20, and Altoona, 7:54.40, are also all in the running to make the podium. Bensalem was the champ last year.
In the boys 4x400m relay Cheltenham, 3:16.99, seems like the team to beat with a very fast clocking from the Penn Relays. Of course their legs have other work to do first in individual events, but this race comes down to pride and Cheltenham has loads of it. Spring-Ford, 3:19.40, and Pennsbury, 3:19.76, are the other teams under 3:20 with a chance for the win. Other challengers include State College, 3:20.09, Central Bucks South, 3:20.10, Pennridge, 3:20.62, Penn Wood, 3:21.11, and CD East, 3:21.70.
The boys 4x100m relay looks like a two horse race between Cheltenham, 41.66, and Gateway, 41.79, with both squads looking great with their stick work. Gateway was the 2012 champ. Of course those sticks need to get around the track and a few squads look good behind these two including Coatesville, 42.42, Academy Park, 42.43, and Cedar Crest, 42.88.
In the boys Long Jump Montae Nicholson (Gateway), 3rd last year, 24-3.5, is the clear favorite and looks like a lock if he gets a clean jump in. There are a few close competitors however, including Bobby Hill (Harry S. Truman), 23-8, and Jordan Bryan (St. Joes Prep), 23-6.5. Others with podium hopes include Isaiah Brooks (Woodland Hills), 23-00.5, Justus Norman (Conestoga Valley), 23-00, and Bryce Williams (State College), 22-10.
The boys Triple Jump is certainly a surprise this year with two Carlisle kids leading the entire state. Isa Paschall (Carlisle), 49-10, popped a big one at his home meet and if he can get that type of jump back then he will earn gold. Isa was 9th last year. Frosh teammate Deshawn Millington (Carlisle), 49-6.25, has gone over 49-4 twice in a row and has even mentioned the 50’ barrier come state. Others in the podium hunt include Bryce Williams (State College), 48-7.5, and AJ Stevens (Pottsville Area), 48-4.5.
In the boys High Jump it looks like a very close affair that will come down to misses. Tra-c Davis (Coatesville), 6-8, leads the field but there are several others just one inch below including Scott Schlegel (Emmaus), 6-7, Randall Johnson (Central Bucks South), 6-7, Andrew Diehl (Conestoga), 6-7, and Dondre Pittman (Coatesville), 6-7.
The boys Pole Vault could be just as close with two competitors nearly tied at the top with George Donahey (Mifflin County), 15-00.5, and Ryan Wilkes (Valley View), 5th last year, 15-0. But anything can happen on competition day and other podium contenders that could earn more include Stephen Minto (Hershey), 14-8, Brandon Raguz (Central Bucks South), 14-6, and Kareem Mohamed (Stroudsburg), 14-4.
In the boys Shot Put Max Adams (Hempfield), 61-1, comes in ranked second but if he has a big throw he can walk away with two titles as he is also the favorite in the Discus. Freshman Jordan Geist (Knoch), 61-4, comes in as the top-ranked putter but will have to battle with Adams to earn the win. Other throwers with a chance at the podium include Samuel Reid (Central), 60-4 (9th last year), Lawson Monta (Greensburg Salem), 59-7.5, Morgan Shigo (Fleetwood Area), 58-9.75, and Alec Rideout (Canon-McMillan), 57-11.75.
In the boys Discus Max Adams, (Hempfield), 4th last year, 192-0, has 6 feet on the field and that should be enough to secure the title. If anyone has a say in changing this outcome it is Alec Rideout (Canon-McMillan) with a throw of 185-11. Battling for the podium are David Lucas (Warwick), 180-6, and Jacob Shaffer (Midd-West), 169-0. Darrik Muroski (Coatesville) is also one to watch for as he was 3rd last year.
In the boys Javelin competition there are several throwers over 200’ led by Nick Solfanelli (Scranton Prep), 207-7. But the other competitors are very close and a big throw will change up these results. The challengers include Brandon Palaia (Spring Ford), 202-8, Matt Nawrocki (North Pocono), 201-4, Luke Smorey (Baldwin), 3rd last year, 201-0, Joshua Brown (Milton Area), 200-2, and Jhet Janis (Cocalico), 199-7.