AA Boys Preview: The 300H, 1600 and Pole Vault may be the best in the state






By Don Rich



In the 100 Meter Dash, Engineering & Science senior Ramaan Ansley is the top seed, running a hand-timed, wind-aided 10.64 at the District 12 meet. Defending runner-up Chris Houston of Bishop McDevitt (3) is in the same heat with Ansley, but he ran a 10.72 at the Pan-Ram Invitational. Jeffrey Robinson of the Freire Charter School in Philadelphia is the 2nd seed.

In the 200 Meter Dash, Monessen senior Terrelle Irwin is the defending runner-up, with Houston as the only other returner from the finals, where he was 4th. Houston has the top AA time in the state this season, a 21.85 run at Pan-Ram. Ansley and Robinson are joined by Engineering & Science senior Dwayne Hyman as the top three seeds in AA.

In the 400 Meter Dash, defending state champ Anthony Davidson of Wilson Area (11) has moved to AAA. Runner-up Austin Cseh of Palmerton is back though, but he'll have formidable competition from frosh Almamy Bangura of Milton Hershey, who went 48.66 at his district meet, the best AA time this season. The other returning medalist is Evan McCready, a Wyomissing senior.

The top returners in the 110 Meter Hurdles also happen to be the top two seeds. Christian Kuntz of Trinity (3) and Robert Gawlas of Holy Redeemer, were 2nd and 4th, respectively, in 2008. New Brighton junior Josh Mcfrazier currently has the PA#2 time of 14.64h.

Last year's 300 Meter Hurdles final was an all-senior affair. Waiting for their chance to fill those eight vacant podium spot are Kuntz, the top seed who posted the best time in the state this season of 38.68 at the District 3 Champs. Five other guys are under 40 seconds, including the #2 seed, Marcus Line of Wyomissing, who was the runner-up at D3; Jared Long, a junior from United; Trevor Foley of Titusville; Sean Ciboroskie of Shamokin; and Tyler Lelis of Springdale. All set their season bests in Districts.


In the 800 Meter Run, Adam Shrawder of West Middlesex is the only returning medalist. He's currently ranked #2 AA in PA with his District 10 time of 1:56.41. But one of the most improved mid-distance guys of the year has to be Fairview senior Sam Havko, whose 1:53.46 at the D10 meet demonstrated that his 1:54.88 split at the Baldwin Invitational was quite real. Havko was 11th in 2008.

Havko is the defending state runner-up in the 1600 Meter Run and his 4:16.09 is PA#4 by less than a second. He'll fact two other medalists, Bishop McCort senior Jim Spisak, 4th in 2008; and Tyrone senior Ben Ingle, 6th. Last year's 8th place finisher, senior Matt Finn of Springfield Delco, is opting for the 800 this year.  Bishop McDevitt (3) senior Joe Beveridge has the PA#2 AA time of 4:17.66, and in the 1600 final, will be coming off defending his 3200 Meter Run 2008 championship. Beveridge has a 9:21.09c to his credit this season. 2008 runner-up Spisak is going for the 1600. But four other medalists return in the event, including Riverside (7) senior Jon McElwain, Tulpehocken junior Tyler Riegel, Sewickely Academy senior Nick Blodis, and Penns Valley senior Matthew Brooker.


Last year's runner-up in the 4x100 Meter Relay, Bishop McDevitt (3), is 2nd seed to Milton Hershey, whose 42.82 leads PA in AA. Bethlehem Catholic is the 3rd seed.

In the 4x400 Meter Relay, Wyomissing comes in with the top seed at 3:22.60 (they ran .4 better earlier, which is PA#2 AA). The state's top time this year was posted by Engineering & Science at 3:19.43, but that was at the Penn Relays. Defending champ Milton Hershey is lurking, having run their season best of 3:23.35 at their District 3 meet.

In the 4x800 Meter Relay, Trinity (3) is the top seed, and 2008 runner-up. Their  8:02.47 is just over a second behind 2nd seed Quaker Valley's PA#1 AA 8:01.11, run earlier this month. Defending champ North East is also in the race.


Jonathan Heberling of Northern Lehigh is the only returning High Jump medalist, finishing in a three-way tie for 7th last year. His 6-6 is tied for 1st in AA in PA with Heberling and Aliquippa senior Jordan Lawson.

There are no returning medalists in the Long Jump. The top seed is Imhotep Charter senior Samuel Prescott, who leads the state in AA as well with his 23-1. Eleven other guys are over 22 feet in the state, with only Montrose senior Cody Deboer joining Prescott in the 23 club. Summit Academy's Johnny Jenkins is the 2nd seed.

The top seed in the Triple Jump is Athens Area sophomore Jarred Gambrell after his state AA-leading 47-10 at the District 4 meet. Holy Name senior Dan Ciabattoni is the third seed, but has a PA#2 AA 45-10.50 to his credit. The 2nd seed is Church Farm School senior Nana Atakora-Bediako, who went 46-05.50 at the District 1 meet.

Ranking PA#1 in AA (tied for PA#1 overall) in the Pole Vault is West Middlesex senior Mark Saylor. He has cleared 15-3 this year and seeded 2nd to Kane senior Austin Anderson, who has gone over at 15-1. Both athletes no-heighted in 2008, and clearly have made this meet their focus.


Wilmington senior Josh Falvo (5th in 2008), and Hickory senior Bob Saltsgiver, did a rehearsal for the state meet at their District 10 competition, racking up the AA PA#1 and #2 Shot Put marks at 55-8 and 55-1, respectively. Massimo Caloiero of Schuylkill Valley is also a returning medalist, having finished 6th. Jake Brenza, Trinity (3), and Chuck Thurner-Diaz, Camp Hill, are the other two competitors who have thrown over 54 feet. The top ten AA guys in the state have thrown farther this season than the state-winning mark in 2008... but Falvo wouldn't mind extending the Wilmington HS win streak one more year.

Middletown senior Collin Ray is the defending state Discus champion and has a best of 167 this season. But there are three others within eight inches ahead of him, including top seed Vince Tuzze, a Lakeland senior, who was 9th last year; Falvo, who was 7th; and Saltgiver, who was 5th. Also returning is 2008 4th place finisher Jared Brandon, a Riverside (7) senior.

Lancaster Catholic junior Kyle Smith is the top seed in the Javelin, and also has the only AA throw over 200 this year, at 201-2. United always has some throwers, and 2nd seed Tyler Capitosti, a senior, has thrown 194-2. Four other athletes are over 190 this season.