Great Valley's Claffey triumphs at Track Classic

Blustery winds and a driving rain set a scene far different from the cozy amenities inside the New York City Armory, where Elise Claffey had run as part of Great Valley's 4x800-meter relay team two weeks earlier in the New Balance indoor national championships.

The testy weather conditions at the 30th annual Pennsylvania Track Classic at Plymouth Whitemarsh on Saturday were a less-than-kind greeting to the outdoor season for the junior, but she made the best of it with a victory in her spring debut.

Claffey paced the 1,600-meter field with a mark of 5 minutes, 18.71 seconds en route to the gold medal.

"Mentally, I just think that everybody's running in the same conditions, too," Claffey said. "Everyone has to get past it, not just me, and that's how I think of it when I'm out there in weather like this."

Despite the conditions, Claffey said she still had a plan entering the race, and stuck to it.

"Normally, my strategy is to use the first 150-ish meters to get out and get a lead, and after 200, I settle," Claffey said. "Usually, I can tell how I feel after the first 150 and I felt pretty good [Saturday].

"I wanted to make sure I could settle in for the first two laps so I could pick it up for the last two, and I did that."

Even in an invitational hampered by a steady March rain, the win still felt really good for Claffey.

"It's the best feeling ever to win no matter what race it is," Claffey said.

In other girls' action, Neshaminy sophomore Dasia Pressley blew away the field in the 200 final, taking the gold in 25.79. Garnet Valley senior Liz McGroarty won the 800 in 2:24.66, and freshman Dawson Tate triumphed in the 3,200 in her spring debut, crossing in 11:48.16.

Pennridge junior Ariana Przybylowski took the long jump with a leap of 17 feet, 63/4 inches, and Hatboro-Horsham senior Victoria Waddington recorded a 108-2 to win the javelin.

On the boys' side, Spring-Ford's Dave O'Such took home the 400 gold medal, clocking in at 50.36 seconds.

Entering the race in the rainy conditions, O'Such knew his race time wouldn't be that relevant.

"I knew it wasn't going to be the fastest day ever because of the conditions, but I felt pretty good," O'Such said. "I really just tried to execute my race today. I knew the time wasn't going to be there because of the weather, but I tried to get out fast and take the win."

While the senior acknowledged that it was not the fastest time he could hit, O'Such was satisfied with the mark in his first spring race.

"I felt pretty good hitting that time today," O'Such said. "Hopefully as the year progresses, I can get faster and faster."

Also in boys' events, two Cheltenham juniors donned gold medals as the festivities drew to a close. Christian Brisset won the 100 in 11.36, and John Lewis was timed in 1:59.81 in winning the 800.

North Penn senior Ryan Grace ran a 4:25.68 to take the 1,600, and Cardinal O'Hara senior Nick Belfatto captured the 3,200 in 9:37.38.

The results

BOYS

100 meters: 1. Christian Brissett, Cheltenham, 11.36; 2. Gift Omo-Ekpadi, North Penn, 11.44; 3. Nick Shaffer, Methacton, 11.54.

200: 1. Ade Roundtree, Imhotep, 25.29; 2. Oliver Liburd, Cheltenham, 26.85.

400: 1. David O'Such, Spring-Ford, 50.36; 2. Dave Stellato, Wissahickon, 51.17; 3. Joshua Oliver, Imhotep, 51.95.

800: 1. John Lewis, Cheltenham, 1:59.81; 2. Jon Carroll, Carlisle, 2:01.40; 3. Charlie Hoyt, Penn Charter, 2:01.89.

1,600: 1. Ryan Grace, North Penn, 4:25.68; 2. Dan Shalala, Plymouth Whitemarsh, 4:30.00; 3. Eric Diestelow, West Chester East, 4:32.35.

3,200: 1. Jim Belfatto, Cardinal O'Hara, 9:37.38; 2. Chris Kazanjian, Penncrest, 9:43.11; 3. Dominic Hockenbury, Lake Lehman, 9:43.70.

110 hurdles: 1. Donaldo Benjamin, Del-Val Charter, 15.78; 2. Tito Orijy, Ridley, 16.00; 3. Ryan Connelly, Spring-Ford, 16.54.

300 hurdles: 1. Chance Post, Conestoga Valley, 38.28; 2. Donaldo Benjamin, Del-Val Charter, 40.05; 3. Stephen Fiorentino, Methacton, 41.39.

4x100: 1. North Penn, 44.30; 2. Wissahickon, 44.32; 3. Cheltenham, 44.95.

4x400: 1. Penn Wood, 3:38.52; 2. Cardinal O'Hara, 3:42.32; 3. Holy Ghost Prep, 3:42.73.

4x800: 1. Malvern Prep, 8:06.08; 2. Carlisle, 8:06.70; 3. North Penn, 8:11.50.

Distance medley: 1. Radnor, 10:45.59; 2. Spring-Ford, 10:46.79; 3. St. Joseph's Prep, 10:49.78.

High jump: 1. Matt Knittle, Wissahickon, 6-0.00; 2. Ryan Johnson, Wilson, 5-10.0; 3. Brooks Inciardi, Christopher Dock, 5-10.0.

Long jump: 1. Jordan Bryan, St. Joseph's Prep, 21-6.50; 2. Kevin Capizzi, Methacton, 21-3.00; 3. Saahir Bethea, Cheltenham, 21-1.00.

Triple jump: 1. Isa Paschall, Carlisle, 44-4.00; 2. Sam Pope, Episcopal Academy, 43-11.00; 3. Julien Freeman, Truman, 43-7.50.

Shot put: 1. Morgan Shigo, Fleetwood, 49-4.00; 2. Eric Von Hertsenberg, Radnor, 44-10.00; 3. Josh Ward, Boyertown, 44-4.50.

Discus: 1. Morgan Shigo, Fleetwood, 156-02; 2. Michael Cassidy, Methacton, 127-05; 3. Jake Lindauer, West Chester Rustin, 115-05.

Javelin: 1. Brandon Palaia, Spring-Ford, 162-08; 2. Brandon Leacraft, Spring-Ford, 160-03; 3. Christian Pavlovich, Carlisle, 147-06.

GIRLS

100: 1. Dasia Pressley, Neshaminy, 12.52; 2. Alyson Hall, West Chester East, 13.06; 3. Jessica Brenfleck, North Penn, 13.24.

200: 1. Dasia Pressley, Neshaminy, 25.79; 2. Taylor Chapman, Pennridge, 27.02; 3. Cheyenne Oswald, Neshaminy, 27.47.

400: 1. Crosby Spiess, Great Valley, 1:00.61; 2. Melanie Caine, Central Bucks East, 1:00.93; 3. Taylor Kennedy, Central Bucks East, 1:01.19.

800: 1. Liz McGroarty, Garnet Valley, 2:24.66; 2. Haley Preschutti, Spring-Ford, 2:26.73; 3. Madeline Kole, Carlisle, 2:30.48.

1,600: 1. Elise Claffey, Great Valley, 5:18.71; 2. Skyler Berardi, Garnet Valley, 5:23.50; 3. Meaghan Willcoxen, Central Bucks East, 5:24.12.

3,200: 1. Tate Dawson, Central Bucks East, 11:48.16; 2. Jackie Kinkead, Central Bucks East, 11:49.83; 3. Caitlyn Padgett, Carlisle, 11:50.81.

100 hurdles: 1. Emily Miller, Wilson, 16.15; 2. Alyssa Zukowski, Neshaminy, 16.48; 3. Leah Kendrick, Central Bucks East, 17.73.

300 hurdles: 1. Caroline Duffy, Methacton, 47.54; 2. Grace Becker, Central Bucks East, 48.61; 3. Jada Wilson, Upper Merion, 48.91.

4x100: 1. Great Valley, 51.45; 2. Neshaminy, 51.77; 3. Truman, 52.13.

4x400: 1. Central Bucks East, 4:20.05; 2. Wilson, 4:21.92; 3. Penn Wood, 4:22.44.

4x800: 1. Downingtown East, 9:53.37; 2. North Penn, 10:03.47; 3. Garnet Valley, 10:14.33.

Distance medley: 1. Garnet Valley, 12:28.52; 2. Central Bucks East, 12:35.15; 3. North Penn, 12:38.06.

High jump: 1. Cyre Virgo, Fleetwood, 5-8.00; 2. Emily Miller, Wilson, 5-3.00; 3. Grace Becker, Central Bucks East, 5-3.00.

Pole vault: 1. Erin Miller, Wilson, 9-0.00; 2. Monica Sauer, Methacton, 9-0.00; 3. Lizzy Kapralick, Methacton, 8-6.00.

Long jump: 1. Ariana Przybylowski, Pennridge, 17-6.75; 2. Bailey Kratz, Christopher Dock, 16-11.00; 3. Jen Maurer, Perkiomen Valley, 16-7.00.

Triple jump: 1. Kennedi Van Eyken, Downingtown East, 34-8.00; 2. Ken Maurer, Perkiomen Valley, 34-2.00; 3. Eyitope, Wilson, 33-11.50.

Shot put: 1. Macey Tanseco, Perkiomen Valley, 38-4.75; 2. Victoria Waddington, Hatboro-Horsham, 37-5.75; 3. Jessie, Wilson, 35-3.00.

Discus: 1. Jessie Wallace, Wilson, 108-04; 2. Tajera Campbell, Norristown, 103-01; 3. Alex Zimmerman, Manheim Township, 102-06.

Javelin: 1. Victoria Waddington, Hatboro-Horsham, 108-02; 2. Nicolette Serratore, Methacton, 100-02; 3. Emily Johns, Lake Lehman, 99-00.

aparent@philly.com