Cheltenham breaks record at Penn Relays

The Cheltenham boys' 4x400-meter relay team left Franklin Field unsatisfied Saturday despite setting a Penn Relays record. The La Salle boys' 4x800 finished sixth and was ecstatic.

The teams' reactions differed after their Championship of America relays because Cheltenham had entered the 4x400 as the favorite but failed to save its best race for last.

The Panthers' time of 3 minutes, 13.6 seconds in the early-afternoon Suburban American heat broke their own record of 3:19.5 from one year ago. It also was faster than the 3:14.59 that Wolmer's Boys of Kingston, Jamaica, ran to win Saturday's final.

But Cheltenham ran a 3:17.25 in the championship, and took fifth.

"We're satisfied with the 3:13, but our ultimate goal was to win the Championship of America, so we're not satisfied," said senior Bernard Bennett-Green, who anchored the Panthers' preliminary run and went second in the final.

"No, we're not satisfied," echoed his twin, Brandon, and junior Matt Gilmore, shaking their heads even though their final run was still faster than any other school in the state this season.

On the record-setting run, Gilmore led off with a split of 48.1 seconds and was followed by Brandon Bennett-Green (47.5), senior Harold Alfred (50.4), and Bernard Bennett-Green (47.6).

All except Brandon Bennett-Green were on last year's team that had set the Penn Relays record.

The Panthers rearranged the order in the final to brothers Brandon and Bernard, then Alfred and Gilmore.

In the 4x800, La Salle senior anchor Tom O'Kane said the Explorers were "flying under the radar" en route to a sixth-place finish in 7:47.19.

"We made the finals, and that's the biggest recognition you can ever have," O'Kane said. "I was in the Penn Relays finals. That's pretty sick. So we made the finals, but to do well? That's just the cherry on top right there."

In Friday's qualifier, freshman Andrew Stone, junior Chris Muggler, senior Nick Molloy, and O'Kane ran a 7:51.39 to blow away their indoor state time of 7:58.08.

Then in Saturday's championship, Stone raced out to sixth place for the underdog Explorers, and La Salle held seventh and fifth place on their second and third handoffs before closing.

"I felt more relaxed than other days just because of all the atmosphere," Muggler said. "It gets my adrenaline pumping."

Warwick Valley of Warwick, N.Y., won the 4x800 in 7:41.77.

Abington came in seventh with seniors Eleazar Cardoso (2:02.7) and Charles Ross (1:55.2) and juniors Tevin Smith (1:57.6) and Kyle Moran (1:53.4), the anchor.

In the boys' 4x400 Philadelphia Area relay, Abington won in 3:17.69 and came close to breaking Chester's Penn Relays record of 3:17.32 set in 1996. Armonjot Singh, Macey Watson, William Taylor, and Charles Ross ran for the Ghosts.

The West Catholic girls beat out Abington for the 4x400 Philadelphia Area relay with a time of 3:48.48. The Burrs' runners were junior Chante Moore, freshman Caela Williams, sophomore Jada Steward, and junior Michelle Davis.

In the boys' 4x100 large-schools relay, Central Bucks South won with seniors Robert Knuckles, Yacine Zerdoum, Tyler Dougherty and Jon Eisemann recording a 42.22-second time. Conestoga finished fourth in 42.71, behind seniors Kurt Whiteman, Mariel Nzouenkeu, Will Betts and Curtis Baylis.