Local boys made good

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The champs.

We have ourselves a Championship of America-winning team from right here in Philadelphia.

Germantown Friends stormed to victory in the high school boys' Distance Medley Relay, beating La Salle College High -- who got some hype for this event coming into the meet -- by exactly five seconds.

The GFS team of Isaac Ortiz (1200m), Tom Waterman (800m), Jake McKenzie (400m) and Max Kaulbach (1600m/anchor) crossed the line in 10:11.54. La Salle's Pat Donnelly, Anthony Kent, Brian Ledder and Dan Lowry made it in 10:16.54.

To say that Germantown Friends coach Rob Hewitt was utterly floored might be an understatement.

"You can't describe it -- this is the best meet," he said.

Kaulbach won the national scholastic indoor 2-mile race earlier this season, but Hewitt said this victory was "100 times sweeter, because you've got four guys."

And this from a guy who never ran here, even though he's a 2003 St. Joe's grad.

"My coach is up there [in the stands], so I'm sure he's a proud man," Hewitt said.

Kaulbach, who lives at 25th and Pine, also talked about how special a win it was.

"I can hear the Relays from my house," he said. 

Hewitt also praised his team for running "the smartest race." That may sound innocuous enough, but the team's three seniors -- Ortiz, McKenzie and Kaulbach -- are headed to Penn, Yale and Princeton, respectively.

Penn track coach Charlie Powell happened to be standing nearby, so and I couldn't help asking him what it was like to watch a Championship of America-winning team with three Ivy Leaguers-to-be on it.

Powell wasn't all that surprised that GFS won the race.

"Once they got that stick up front [for the last leg], we knew they had a chance to put it away," he said.

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