Nora May McSorley wasn’t concerned about the Randolph 4×800 qualifying for Penn Relays. After all, Rams assistant coach Kevin Higgins had assured the quartet — McSorley and seniors Margaret Thomson, Carole Harsch and Liz Lansing — they had “locked in” a spot after running 9:27.05 despite little opposition at the Cougar Classic on Saturday.
But both Higgins and McSorley were thrilled to hear the invitation had been officially made on Monday night. The Morris Hills and Pope John boys will also run the 4×800. Seven Morris and Sussex County individual athletes received their invitations last week.
This will be Thomson and Harsch’s fourth trip to Penn Relays. Randolph was in the distance medley last year after several years of early morning 4x800s.
“It’s so crazy,” said McSorley, a slender junior who runs the Rams’ leadoff leg, a physically challenging spot at Penn Relays.
“There’s so many more people there than at any other meet. I know there’s college coaches there, so it’s a lot more pressure, but it’s my favorite meet. … I love the atmosphere. Everyone’s really nice, and so good, so it’s really cool.”
Penn Relays will be held April 23, 24 and 25 on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
For the ages I
Many festivities have been planned for the 50th annual Morris Hills Relays on Saturday. Founder Frank Fox, now 90 years old, will be recognized – and he’s scheduled to drive up from his home in Chincoteague, Va., for the occasion.
When veteran Dover coach Wayne Valentine called Fox and asked, “Did you know the Relays you created are 50 years old?” Fox was surprised the event was still being held.
The athletic director at both Morris Hills and Morris Knolls from 1950 to 1987, Fox created the event because Penn Relays had difficulty getting enough competitive times to seed teams.
“I thought it was needed in the county,” Fox said. “It was needed, and it became very popular, and it’s still going.”
The original Morris Hills Relays was boys only. However Fox’s daughters, Anne and Claire Fox, both ran and long jumped at Morris Hills. Both are also in the school’s Hall of Fame.
A 1948 All-American at Seton Hall University, Fox was part of 4×400 relays which won two IC4A and Millrose Games titles. He also competed in the 1948 Olympic Trials. He was inducted into Seton Hall’s Hall of Fame in 2000, and the Directors of Athletics Association of New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2009.
For the ages II
Dover freshmen Mackenzie and Connor Valentine have quite a tradition to uphold. They are the fourth generation of their family to be part of the Tigers track and field program.
Their grandfather, Wayne Valentine, is probably the best known. After all, he was a Dover miler in the mid-1950s and has been the varsity coach since 1964. But he wasn’t the first in the family to trod the finally replaced cinders at Hamilton Field.
Elva Harrison Valentine and Stella Harrison Mauro actually began the family tradition. Valentine, Wayne’s mother, was a Dover sprinter and a member of the class of 1936. Mauro, his aunt, was the school record holder in the broad jump for 40 years, and died this February at age 93.
“I quit track my freshman year,” Wayne Valentine recalled. “I ran two days, and on the third day I was supposed to run a lap as fast as I could. I quit after 200 meters. Three days later, my mother said, ‘You’re going to practice, or you’re taking your equipment back.’ … She never missed a meet that I competed in.”
Wayne and Sylvia Valentine’s three children were also involved with track and field. Daughter Toni Ann Valentine Darwin (Dover ’83) represented Randolph in the midget program, and was her father’s statistician for cross country and outdoor track. Randy Valentine (Dover ’85) ran the mile like his father. Calvin Valentine “was a thrower who wanted to be a sprinter,” according to proud dad Wayne Valentine, who admitted, “I never coached him, except for one meet.”
Mackenzie and Connor, Calvin Valentine’s sons, are trying to make a name for themselves. Mackenzie earned a varsity letter as a sprinter indoors. Connor is a thrower like his father.
Penn Relays Accepted Entries
4×800: Randolph girls; Morris Hills and Pope John boys
Shot put: Nickolette Dunbar, Whippany Park
Discus: Halia Rosemond, Morristown-Beard; Leah Wis, Montville
Javelin: Kathryn Campbell, Parsippany
Pole vault: Peter Chan, Delbarton; Katlyn Rymarzow, Pope John
Mile: Joe Dragon, High Point