MARK C.PSORAS/THE REPORTER
MARK C.PSORAS/THE REPORTER (Mark C Psoras)

PHILADELPHIA — The North Penn boys were going for it all: a medal, a school record, and a performance that would add to their proud history at the Penn Relays.

The Knights went out and battled Friday night in the Distance Medley Championship of America, but their goals eluded them on this windy evening on the Franklin Field track.

"It was definitely within reach but we couldn't get it," said North Penn's Brian Piscitelli. "We just didn't do the little things that we practice."

The Knights finished last in the 14-team championship race, crossing in 10 minutes, 44.83 seconds. That capped off a bitter-sweet day for locals, a day that included a ninth-place finish by the Central Bucks West girls 4x8 and a qualifying run by the Pennridge boys 4x8 earlier in the morning.

In a DMR field that included some of the top teams in the nation, Pennsylvania squads took two of the top three spots, as West Chester Henderson crossed first in 10:03.77, followed by Northport (N.Y.) in 10:10.86 and Cardinal O'Hara in 10:11.17.

It wasn't the finish the Knights were hoping for, but Friday night's atmosphere provided just the type of tonic they were looking for as the postseason approaches.

"The crowd really did help," Piscitelli said with a smile, scanning the packed stands surrounding the Franklin Field track. "We're used to just our parents being in the stadium. Unlike today, 38,000 people..."

A total of 38,135 fans turned out for the Day Two festivities, which included a 4:09.99 anchor leg by Henderson's Tony Russell.


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"There was definitely a whole lot of athletic kids in there and we were excited to race against them," Piscitelli said.

Joe LeConey ran the 1,200 leadoff leg (3:15.90) for the Knights, followed by Tyler Johnston (50.34) in the 400, Piscitelli (2:04.02) in the 800 leg, and mile anchor Ryan Grace (4:34.58).

The Knights were chasing the school record of 10:17.47, set by the 2002 North Penn DMR team that captured the Penn Relays title.

"We have a lot of work to do," Piscitelli said. "Pennridge, our competition, ran a really fast 4x8 this morning. This tells us we have more work to do for the rest of the season."

The day began with that Pennridge squad qualifying for Saturday's 4x8 Championship of America at 4 p.m. The Rams' foursome of Alex Masgai (2:01.59), Dan Williams (1:57.63), Matt Schulberger (1:58.95) and Joey Logue (1:52.27) ran the fastest Pennsylvania time with a 7:50.43 and were fourth overall in their Large Schools heat behind New Jersey's South Brunswick (7:44.46), New York's Chaminade High (7:44.20) and first-place Calabar of Jamaica (7:42.94).

Logue's 1:52.27 anchor leg was the second fastest half-mile split of the day. Only Morgan Murray of South Brunswick (N.J.) was faster with a 1:51.70.

In the afternoon, Central Bucks West dropped more than four seconds off its qualifying time, placing ninth out of 12 in the 4x8 Championship of America.

The Bucks were hoping for a higher finish but they did go significantly faster than they did Thursday, including a three-second drop by anchor Meghan Iatarola.

"It's a great group of girls, all very talented," Iatarola said of the West foursome, which also included Olivia Berry, Maddie Villalba and Jamila Branch. "It was such a great honor to be a part of this team, to make it to the Championship of America because all of the teams here are so great. It's so competitive...I love Franklin Field, the energy. It's wonderful."

Columbia High School out of New Jersey took the 4x8 title, crossing in 8:45.37.

Also in the afternoon, the Pennridge boys 4x1 team of Luke Williams, Mick Koehler, Matt Firuta and Mike Class (43.40) came close to advancing to Saturday's action — Sayreville of New Jersey was the last team to make the cut, crossing in 42.82.

Follow Kev Hunter on Twitter @khunter10.