|115th Penn Relays|
Thu.-Sat., April 23-25, 2009
Franklin Field, Philadelphia PA
| Morris Hills leads 4 x 800 qualifiers for Saturday's Championship of America Final|
PHILADELLPHIA, April 24, 2009 –
It was a huge day for Metro Area 4x800-meter relay teams as five sqauds advanced to the Championship of America race at the 115th Penn Relays at Franklin Field.
New Jersey led the charge by grabbing the top four spots in Saturday’s 3:50 p.m. final.
Morris Hills nailed down the top spot by winning its heat in 7:47.13 while
Washington Township is the third seed in the 12-team final (7:49.67), Lawrenceville the fourth seed (7:49.70) and Msgr. Farrell NY was the last qualifier with a 7:55.38.
Lawrenceville, however, will scratch from the race because of lingering injuries to two runners.
Morris Hills will take on favored and nemesis Albemarle of Virginia, the second seed with a 7:49.39, for the third time since January.
Although the first two matchups fizzzled as Albemarle won going away, Morris Hills feels that things may be different to
Morris Hills has good reason to be optimstic after ripping a 7:47.13 to win its heat with the fastest time among the 66 teams in the trials at sun-drenched Franklin Field.
Morris Hills, which advanced to the 4x800 C of A for the fist time ever, will be the top seed in the race, set for 3:50 p.m today. Albemarle grabbed the second seed by winning its heat in 7:49.39.
Washington Township is the third seed in the 12-team final (7:49.67) and Lawrenceville is the fourth seed (7:49.70).
When they last met a month ago, Albemarle ran a national record 7:36.99 and Morris Hills was second in an NJ indoor record 7:43.91 at the Nike Indoor Nationals in Boston. Their other meeting was at the Millrose Games in January and Albemarle won in a rout.
``The last two times they’ve blown us out and made us look like fools,’’ said Morris Hills senior anchor Liam Tansey. ``We don’t plan on having that happen again.’’
Morris Hills ran very strong and under control yesterday as seniors Vinny Chiusano (1:57.4), Sean Pohorence (1:56.3), Tyler Hendrickson (1:59.7) and Tansey, who blasted a 1:53.7 anchor, the second fastest split of the meet among the 264 runners that ran, shared the baton.
Terrance Livingston of Great Neck in New York had the fastest split of 1:53.4.
Although Albemarle has owned Morris Hills and every other team in the nation in the 4x800 all year, it won’t be facing the same Morris Hills team.
Pohorence didn’t run on the 4x800 indoors and coach Sean Robinson has an ace up his sleeve for today.
Robinson will insert senior Lucas Clyne, who’ll replace Hendrickson.
``Having a fresh Clyne should make a huge diffference for us,’’ said Tansey. ``He has a history of running great when he’s fresh, like at indoor nationals when he ran 1:53 in the 800 in the DM for us. He should give us a boost.’’
Hendrickson fully understands the move.
``A percentage of me was being selfish and wanted to run, but a bigger percentage of me rationalized things and I realize that this is all about the team and doing whatever it takes to give us the best chance at winning,’’ said Hendrickson.
Clyne is choping at the bit to get the baton in his hands.
``It was strange not to be part of something that I’ll be involved in tomorrow,’’ said Clyne. ``But I’m jacked up hopefully I’ll be do my job.’’
Tansey said that while Morris Hills is confident, it also is well aware that Albemarle will run much faster in the final.
``They are obviously a great team and we have a lot respect for them,’’ said Tansey. ``We know they’ll be ready to run, but so will we.’’
Morris Hills is attempting to become the first N.J. team to win the 4x800 at Penn since Willingboro in 1983, and it’ll be chasing the N.J. state record, which is shared by Trenton (7:39.5 in 1978) and Colts Neck (7:39.54 in 2005).
``I can see the race going under 7:40,’’ said Tansey. ``I know Vin and Sean can shave a couple seconds off, I know I will run faster and Lucas will be ready to roll. We’re going to throw everything we have at them. I have been visualizing a great race with us side-by-side the whole time with a fantastic finish.’’
Robinson said the key is simple.
``It will come down to guts and who has a better day,’’ he said. ``I know my guys are ready.’’
This is the third straight year that a New Jersey team will head into the final with the top seed. Two years ago it was Jackson, and last year it was Hillsborough. Both wound up fifth in the C of A race.
``Hopefully we can pull it off,’’ said Tansey.
Matt Gonzalez of Lawrenceville split 1:54.4, the . and Xavier Fraction of Washington (1:54.5).
The four fastest splits of the meet were run by Metro runners. Terrance Livingston of Great Neck NY ran 1:53.4, Liam Tansey of Morris Hills 1:535.7, Matt Gonzalez of Lawrenceville 1:54.4. and Xavier Fraction of Washington (1:54.5).
Dan Zaccariello of St. Joseph By The Sea NY split 1:54.6, No. 6 on the day, Sean Halpin of Iona Prep NY 1:55.3, No. 9.
Lawrenceville qualifies for COA 4 x 800 for the first time
PHILADELPHIA, April 24, 2009 -- Two runners had been shelved from competition since the indoor season due to injuries. Another has been battling an injury this spring, and yet another lost his shoe 500 meters before reaching the exchange zone.
It doesn’t sound like a very promising relay lineup, but the foursome of Nehemiah Paramore, Rob Harwood, Tim Hillas and Matt Gonzalez somehow made it work.
Fueled by their determination, Lawrenceville NJ qualified for its first ever Championship of America event yesterday before 39,501 at the 115th Penn Relays at Franklin Field.
In the first of four 4x800-meter relay heats, Paramore (1:58.2), Harwood (1:58.4) and Hillas (1:58.7) paved the way for Gonzalez, a senior who split 1:54.4, third-fastest of the meet, and crossed first in 7:49.7, the fourth-fastest time among 66 teams.
The 4x800 C of A race will go off Saturday at 3:50 p.m.
``We actually didn’t think we would do anything like that,’’ Gonzalez said. ``Rob and Tim ran their first race of the season, I haven’t been healthy all season and Nehemiah actually lost his left shoe during the race. It’s incredible that we ever got across the line.’’
Until yesterday, Harwood has been out of action since the Nike Indoor Nationals last month with an ailing IT band. Hillas, fighting an Achilles strain, has not competed since the Easterns indoor meet in February.
Both boys blasted around the final turn on their respective legs, keeping their team near the lead and thereby giving Gonzalez a chance to win the heat. And don’t forget Paramore, who lost his left shoe on his second turn around the oval.
Paramour handed off to Harwood in fifth place, Harwood handed off to Hillas in second, and Hillas sent Gonzalez off in third place. Gonzalez made his move to the front with about 410 meters left in the race.
``When I saw 7:20 with 200 to go, I knew I had a chance to get a fast time,’’ Gonzalez said. ``I still can’t believe it. We were only hoping for a 7:55.’’
Ironically, Lawrenceville ran one-tenth of a second faster than Trenton NJ did when it won the 1978 4x800 Championship of America title.
New Jersey teams accounted for three of the top four slots for today’s big race. Morris Hills NJ, the 4x800 national runner-up at the Nike Indoor Nationals last month, won its heat in 7:47.13. Albemarle VA, which beat Morris Hills to win the national title at the Nike meet, won its heat in 7:49.39. Fourth-seeded Washington Township NJ won the fourth and final heat in 7:49.67. Washington was anchored by indoor Meet of Champions 800 winner Xavier Fraction, whose 1:54.5 split was fourth fastest of the meet.
The only boys who turned in faster splits was Terrance Livingston of Great Neck South NY, who opened his team’s race with a 1:53.4, and Liam Tansey of top-seeded Morris Hills, who anchored in 1:53.7.
What track fans may find more incredible than the way Lawrenceville found its way to the 4x800 championship race is that this foursome has chosen not to run in the final. Gonzalez said Harwood and Hillas do not feel like they are ready for a second hard race in as many days since they are coming off injuries.
Instead, Lawrenceville will focus on the prep school 4x400 relay and the prep meet record of 3:19.3, set in 1939 by LaSalle Military Academy of Oakdale NY. Gonzalez will lead off, and he’ll be followed by Paramore, Lamar Hayes and his elder brother Leonard.
Hunterdon Central NJ finished eighth in the girls’ 4x800 Championship of America in 9:22.56. UConn-bound senior Brigitte Mania, who posted the fastest American split during Thursday’s preliminaries (2:14.9), ran a team-best 2:18 leading off the relay.
The Trenton boys ran the 11th fastest 4x100 relay (43.60) among New Jersey teams. Trenton ranked 39th among large school teams and 60th overall among 520 relay teams.