2024 PTFCA Preview: Distance



800m Run Previews

The Boys

A year ago, 15 of the 19 who contested the boys' 800 were seniors, with then junior Michael Woolery of Episcopal Academy coming out on top in 1:52.83. The only other non-senior receiving a medal last year was Archbishop Carroll's Gabriel Cuffey in eighth. 

Those two point scorers from 2023 will be joined by junior Kayden Lightner of North Hills as the lone returnees to this year's field of 20. Lightner was ninth a year ago.

Cuffey is PA#1 heading to PSU at 1:54.70 from earlier this month at Ocean Breeze, with Coatesville's Tommy Silvester (1:55.20) second in that race and on the yearly list. Woolery was third at Staten Island but went faster last week while winning by almost 3 seconds at The Armory.

Only one athlete in the year's top 10 thus far is not scheduled to compete Sunday as he is focusing his attention to another mid-distance final. It should be a great, wide-open competition.

@oldschooltrack Picks: As I've said many, many times, the 800 is my favorite event on the track. Experience is huge in this event, and running fast on this track is something that favors the defending champion. Also, Woolery might be looking to impress his future PSU coaches with a win on his home indoor track for the next four years.

The Girls

In the girls' 800 meters in 2023, seniors were less than half the field as three underclassmen led the youth movement with a sweep at the top. Now a junior, Alli DeLisi of Penn Charter was inches ahead of Olivia Cieslak of Haverford Township at the finish as both ran in the 2:11s.

DeLisi returns to defend her title, with current state and national leader Cieslak choosing the mile amongst the individual events. Also returning from last year's top 8 are sophomore Gwen Hamilton (3rd) of Archbishop Wood, Pennridge's Ashley Landis (7th) and West Chester Rustin's Maddie Miller (8th), along with five of the six other competitors from the 2023 final.

Both DeLisi and Hamilton have gone under 2:10 this year and have a several second gap on the rest of the field. DeLisi also leads the state at 600 and 1,000.

@oldschooltrack Picks: Not only are DeLisi and Hamilton Nos. 2 and 3 in Pennsylvania, but they are also Nos. 2 and 3 in the country. You really can't want more from your leaders. Hamilton has the edge in fastest times (twice under 2:10), but DeLisi's season best is slightly faster. Everybody knows "You have to get out" in the 800, but will the leader at 400 be the '24 champion? I will go with the defending champion again in this as the junior DeLisi takes a serious run at the US#1 time in 2024.