Friendly rivals tie in high jump

Posted: April 21, 2014

The wind was manageable, the weather was favorable, and Megan McCloskey kept landing her high jumps according to plan, and then some.

The Germantown Academy senior went toe to toe Saturday at the R. Joseph Kellerman Great Valley Relays with fellow 2014 New Balance Indoor Nationals participant Claudine Andre, and finished in a first-place tie with the Upper Darby senior at 5 feet, 7 inches.

McCloskey set her personal best for the season with the jump, and Andre made the best leap of her outdoor career.

Clearing 5-7 also qualified the two for the New Balance Outdoor National Championships in June.

"That was a good jump for me today because I haven't had any big meets yet this season," McCloskey said. "To have good competition like [Andre] really helps me because I like to compete and it really helps me try to get the next height like it did today.

"I jumped in the indoor nationals, but never in outdoor," Andre said. "Usually I get to states in outdoor and then my season's over. I feel great right now."

Because the two were without partners in a high-jump relay that mostly consisted of two jumpers teaming for a combined height total, McCloskey and Andre did not receive medals for the competition.

Still, topping the field comfortably five days before competing in the Penn Relays benefited the friendly rivals.

"If you can have one big meet like this one before Penn Relays, you feel confident going into it," McCloskey said. "Even with nationals coming up, the biggest meet I'm looking forward to right now is Penn Relays."

In other girls' action, Cardinal O'Hara's winning 4x1,600-meter relay of Amy Kelly, Grace Mancini, Marissa Cicioni, and Erin Dolan shattered meet and school records, checking in at 21 minutes, 2.68 seconds.

Downingtown West won the 4x800 relay in 9:47.80. The Whippets also took the high-jump relay in 10-4 with Stacey Wolverton (5-4) and Francesca Coyne (5-0), and Great Valley captured the distance medley relay in 12:27.99.

Just after the O'Hara girls won their relay, the Lions boys sent out a quartet in the 4x1,600 that included three key pieces of its national championship-winning distance medley relay team: junior Kevin James and seniors Nick Smart and Jim Belfatto.

Yet, it was sophomore Rob Morro who came up with arguably the biggest race of the lot, turning in a personal-record time of 4:27.77 as the leadoff runner and giving O'Hara a slim lead with three of Pennsylvania's premier distance runners still to run.

The Lions held off second-place Radnor and won the relay in 17:32.06.

In other boys' action, Holy Ghost Prep captured the DMR in 10:48.46, roughly 10 seconds ahead of runner-up St. Joseph's Prep; Central took the 4x200 in 1:30.20; and Blair Williams (22-43/4) and James Holt (21-21/2) won the long-jump relay for Downingtown West.

Wissahickon Relays. The home team broke two meet records on the girls' side. The Trojans' 4x800 team of Jenna Feltes, Liz Carney, Anna Chiodo Ortiz, and Lotte Black cruised to victory in 9:41.16, which was 41 seconds ahead of the second-place finishers. Wissahickon's 4x400 team of Mel Fry, Carney, Chiodo Ortiz, and Black took first in 4:00.49.

Upper Merion's Anecia Alexaki cleared a meet-best 10-6 in the pole vault and combined with Rose Sedgwick to take first place in the relay (19-0).

The Wissahickon boys' 4x200 team of Dave Stellato, Rashawn Crawford, Mike Harris, and Darien Williams established a meet record, 1:27.53.

Two high jumpers met the height requirement for the District 1 Class AAAA meet: Chris Stone of Springfield Township (6-6) and Wissahickon's Matt Knittel (6-2).

Stone also qualified in the pole vault, by clearing 13-0. Despite not having a partner, Stone finished in fourth place in the relay, just one and a half feet behind the third-place team from Cheltenham.

Central Bucks West Relays. Central Bucks South's Taylor Hojnacki set a stadium record by throwing the shot put 130-8, but Central Bucks East took home the relay title thanks to the combined efforts of Laura Jackson (102-10) and Kristina Valko (79-9).

Pennridge's Ariana Przybylowski (17-83/4) and Katrina Przybylowski (14-91/4) took gold in the long jump.

On the boys' side, Julien Freeman of Truman won the triple jump (44-01/4) and teamed with Eric Parson (41-51/4) to win the relay.

aparent@phillynews.com

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