Friday evening’s Penn Relays boys 3,000-meter run wasn’t a fast race, nor did it produce any wild fireworks late, but Jack Boyle will take the result all the same.
The Christian Brothers Academy senior was part of a large lead pack that didn’t decide to press the issue until there were about 300 meters to go. The end result was Pennsylvania state indoor 3,200-meter champion Max Norris of Harriton High School outkicking Boyle, New York’s Stephen Shine and Connecticut’s Christian Alvarado for the win in 8:25.62 in front of 39,103 fans at Franklin Field on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania.
In his final appearance at Penn, Boyle was fourth in 8:26.74, a time he will take given the plodding, tactical pace that ensued from the opening gun.
“I knew going in that it would probably be tactical early on, but I expected there to be some movement a little earlier,” Boyle said. “It wasn’t going to be me, so I figured I would just try to hang on. With 300 to go, I felt really good, they just passed me. Hey, four guys beat me in a close race.”
That slow pace saw Middletown North senior and top seed Tom O’Neill move to the front about 1,000 meters in. The NJSIAA Meet of Champions winner in cross country and the indoor 3,200 led the field through 1,500 meters at 4:15.
O’Neill took the field through at 6:12 with two laps to go and led at the bell before Norris took control. A 61-second final 400 meters was enough to hold off Shine, who went 8:25.87 after throwing down one last surge over the final 100 meters in an effort to steal the race. O’Neill settled for fifth in 8:27.66.
“Considering the pace, I’m very pleased with that time,” Boyle said. “This isn’t my first time running here, I knew what to expect and I’m just happy with what I was able to do.”
Twenty minutes before Boyle toed the line, the Colts’ DMR squad of Aaron Liberatore, Zack McDermott, Mike McClemens and Tom Rooney took third in 10:05.75 in a race that came down to the end.
Rooney took the baton with approximately a 5-meter lead over a lead pack that included Tom Coyle of La Salle College High School of Philadelphia, Mike Brannigan of Northport, Long Island and Dan Savage of Pennsylvania’s Cardinal O’Hara.
Rooney officially went 2:11.1 for the first 800 meters and 3:17.7 for 1,200 meters to slip back to fourth at the bell. Coyle took off with about 250 meters left and a late surge from Rooney with about 100 meters left was not going to be enough. Rooney’s 1,600-meter split came in officially at 4:17.9
A mainstay at the Penn DMR, the Colts have now finished first, second and third the last three years. They were aiming for win No. 4 on Friday evening.
A mere 27 hours after it survived its large school heat to advance to Friday’s Championship of America, the Freehold Township girls 4×800 squad of Adrian Vitello, Caitlyn Poss, Abilgail Faith and Emily Bracher dropped over 10 seconds from their Thursday time to finish third in 9:06.12. That mark is the 14th fastest all-time in New Jersey and the No. 2 mark in the state this spring.
Poss’ 2:15.2 second leg left the Patriots in second at the midway point, while Bracher’s 2:14.2 anchor leg helped the Patriots stay up for third in front of Mamaroneck (N.Y), which was fourth in 9:07.91.