GLENOLDEN — Reggie Harris of The Haverford School and Episcopal Academy's Sam Pope put their spirited, yet friendly, rivalry in the triple jump on display for all to see during the first day of the Delaware County boys track and field championships Thursday.
This round went to Harris, who topped Pope by 10 inches to win the overall and American Conference title with a leap of 45 feet, 9½ inches. It was his personal best in the outdoor season by nearly three feet, the second-best effort in the county, and gave the junior his second county championship of the year.
Harris also was the Delco indoor champ in the triple jump, which he won with a personal indoor best of 45-1.
As for Pope, who is also a junior, he turned in his best outdoor effort, too, with a jump of 44-11½. They'll see each other again in the long jump.
"It's gotten a little more intense because I jumped indoors this year," Harris said. "It's good. We see each other so much (in the Inter-Ac League) that we make each other better."
The win by Harris, Alex Kim's victory in the 3,200 along with medals from Avery Callahan (third in the high jump) and Micah Sims (fifth in the triple jump) helped the Fords tie Marple Newtown for the team points lead in the American Conference after the first day. The Fords surprised everyone and won the team title a year about, but won't be sneaking up on anyone this time around.
"We have a strong team," Harris said. "We're here to show everyone that we're here for the long run.''
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Dan Doherty had a huge smile on his face as he walked to the press box at Interboro's South Avenue Athletic Complex after winning the American Conference high jump to put Marple Newtown in a tie for first place with The Haverford School with 28 points.
The grin wasn't for his win. It was relief for a breakthrough performance. The senior has been trying to break the 6-0 barrier since he met that mark for the first time at last year's Central League championships.
Doherty broke through Thursday with a career-best jump of 6-2.
"It's like a weight lifted from my shoulders," Doherty said.
Doherty had to sweat for a second as he watched the bar shake, but stay on the standards.
"I knew I hit it," Doherty said. "I just laid there on the mat and thought, 'It better not fall.'"
Doherty's victory capped a good day for the Tigers. Ron Feinberg and Kyle Kelly took second and fourth, respectively, in the American Conference discus. James Hare was fifth in the American Conference 3,200 and Nick Akaranis was fourth in the American Conference javelin.
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Cardinal O'Hara's Kevin James was on a pace to challenge Rob Speare's county record in the 3,200, but the warm weather got to him in the second part of the race.
James' effort was still good enough to beat Penncrest's Chris Kazanjian by eight seconds to win the National Conference and overall title with a time of 9:28.52.
"Coming in I wanted to take it out fast," James said. "I was going to go for (the record), but after a while I wasn't feeling good so I decided to shut it down. When it gets warm it takes me a while to get used to it. Plus, I have two races to run Saturday and I wanted to save some energy for that."
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It's one and one for Upper Darby's Cecil Simpson. Yet that one event was a winner.
The Penn-bound senior set a personal best with a leap of 6-5 to win the National Conference and overall high jump. He just missed going 6-7.
"I was so close," Simpson said. "I just nicked (the bar on his last attempt). I have to get used to the height. That's the first time I attempted that height. I hope to get it next time."
Marple Newtown coach Vince Clark is sure Simpson will get over 6-7.
"Oh yeah," said Clark, who officiated the high jump. "He'll get it. He was just a little off."
Simpson's win wasn't the only gold medal effort by the Royals. Tyreek Green took the National Conference and overall title in the discus (137-6). That victory, coupled with third-place finishes by David Onaderu (triple jump) and Shua McLean (javelin), and fourth-place medals from Marcques Gibbs (triple jump) and Donovan St. Louis (high jump) put Upper Darby in first place after Day 1 with 40 points.
Green's winning throw was a personal best.
"I just wanted to come out and throw strong," Green said.
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The guys from Penncrest have one goal: To win the National Conference team title. The Lions got off to a good start thanks to a win by Evan Sing in the javelin, a big effort from Chris and Matt Kazanjian in the 3,200 and a pair of medals from William Moat.
Sing got off a solid throw of 173-6 despite an elbow injury that has been nagging him for a while.
"I wanted to come in, win it and get out," Sing said. "That way I can rest up for districts in two weeks."
Chris Kazanjian, who is headed to Duquesne, finished second to James in the 3,200 with a time of 9:36.59. His twin brother Matt, who will attend Pittsburgh, was fifth in 10:08.14. Joe Angelina was sixth in the National Conference 3,200.
Moat was fourth in the discus and fifth in the javelin.
"I was happy with the javelin,' said Moat, whose throw of 143-3 was sixth best overall when you include the American Conference throwers. "That's my best by 10 feet. I was a little disappointed in the discus (118-5). My best is 127 and I've been throwing 138 consistently in practice. I just have to put it all together in a meet."
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Penn Wood's Amani Kudera, Radnor's Eric Von Hertsenberg and Strath Haven's Bailey Williamson put it all together to claim gold.
Kudera won the National Conference triple jump with a personal-best performance of 43-¼. Von Hertsenberg won the American Conference discus (127-4), while Williamson won the American Conference javelin (145-10).
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The championships conclude Saturday evening starting with the shot, put, long jump, pole vault and 4 x 800 relay. All of those events start at 5:30. All other finals begin at 6:30.