Champs: Warriors’ 4×100 relay wins Northeast final at Penn Relays

By on May 1, 2019
Warwick’s girls 4x100 relay team, including (left to right) Meghan Quinn, Emily Williamson, Leah Graybill and Lily Palacio-Lewis, is shown atop the medal podium at the Penn Relays last Friday after winning the Northeast final in a school and L-L record time of 47.25 seconds.

Warwick’s girls 4×100 relay team, including (left to right) Meghan Quinn, Emily Williamson, Leah Graybill and Lily Palacio-Lewis, is shown atop the medal podium at the Penn Relays last Friday after winning the Northeast final in a school and L-L record time of 47.25 seconds.

The competition for the Warwick girls 4×100 relay last Thursday included — among others — a team from Jamaica.

Nope, this wasn’t your typical dual meet.

“It’s kinda like, ‘OK, we’re going to have to run really fast today,’” Warrior senior Leah Graybill smiled.

Which is exactly what the Warwick girls did at the 125th Penn Relays at historic Franklin Field in Philadelphia.

Graybill, Meghan Quinn, Lily Palacio-Lewis, and Emily Williamson not only won their heat, beating runner-up Ramapo (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) by more than a second, but their time of 47.78 seconds shattered the school record and gave them the fastest time in L-L League history.

“Before the race even started,” Williamson smiled, “I was looking over and thinking, ‘I don’t even know where half of these teams are from.’ But it was all good.”

“Being at such a huge meet like this, seeing teams from around the world, it gives us a little bit more confidence going into meets like Districts,” Quinn said. “We ran great and we handled the pressure well, I thought.”

“I was really excited with the time,” Graybill said. “Our goal for today was to go under 48, so I think we’re really happy with it.”

You can imagine their emotions then on Friday when they went even faster, clocking in with a time of 47.25 seconds to claim top honors in the Northeast final.

“What an awesome couple of days,” Warrior sprints coach Bobby Rhoads said. “Relay success is always special, as it shows the strength and character of a team instead of just the individual. All of these girls are exceptionally talented on their own, but they have worked hard to make that talent fit together as a team. Taking down a 27-year-old L-L record while winning the Penn Relay Northeast final is an incredible accomplishment and I couldn’t be more proud of how they ran.”

Aiding their cause was three flawless hand-offs around the track.

“I think that’s mostly where we wanted to improve this year,” Palacio-Lewis said, “because we all know we have the speed and it’s just that we need to make sure the hand-offs are perfect. That’s mostly where we need to drop our time.”

It wasn’t just the 4×100 relay which dropped its time. The Warrior girls 4×400, consisting of Graybill, Quinn and Emily and Jessica Williamson, finished in 3:55.73, improving their season PR by eight seconds. It was also an eyelash ahead of Conestoga Valley’s time of 3:55.88.

“I thought they did a fantastic job,” Rhoads said. “In the order we went with, they executed really well. Leah did a nice job on the first leg. It’s tough when you do a waterfall start, they’re not used to running that and (Penn Relays) is the only place that does it. But she was aggressive and did a really nice job. Meghan ran an awesome second leg and then the two Williamsons finished it off really well. We were in a really fast heat with some incredible times in front of us, but I think we still posted the best L-L time of the day, so the girls were really excited about it.”

In the wake of an injury to junior Cassidy Kline, Jessica Williamson stepped up and ran anchor.

“When I was moving up getting ready for the hand-off, I definitely was more comfortable on the track,” Williamson said. “I think was more nervous waiting and watching everyone else run, but once I got out there, I was pretty good.”

Kate Dickow was also pretty good in the girls 3,000-meter run later on Thursday. The Warrior senior held her ground in the lead pack for most of the race before finishing in seventh place in 9:41.91.

It marked a 15-second improvement from her time of 9:56.44 at the State Indoor Championships in February, when she won the gold medal.

“Her improvement from the winter is just really encouraging,” Warrior distance coach Matt Bomberger said. “Her 9:41 for a 3K would translate somewhere around a 10:25 for a 3,200, which is awesome. That’s a huge PR.”

Brooke Rauber, of Tully, N.Y., took the gold medal in 9:34.21, holding off Friends’ Central’s Lydia Russell (9:37.65).

Through the first mile, the runners turned in a quick split of 5:10.

“That’s the fastest (Kate)’s ever gone through the mile point,” Bomberger said, “and she was just in a great spot the entire time.”

With the PIAA State Championships slated for May 24-25, Bomberger is encouraged with how Dickow is running at this time.

“There’s still things she can improve on, which is pretty scary already that she can improve on where she’s at right now,” Bomberger said. “It’s awesome.”

The Warrior boys 4×800 (Jeremy Bell, Noah Martin, Jacob Smith, Connor Shields) was awesome in its own right, placing third in their Small School heat in 7:58.80 during Friday’s events.

“They ran very well,” Bomberger said. “Penn Relays is an atmosphere that hypes you up, but it’s also a little out of their element too, as far as warming up in the city and things like that. It put them out of their comfort zone a little bit, but they still had a very good mentality.”

Warwick beat out L-L teams Manheim Township (8:06.19) and Cedar Crest (8:08.94) and finished third among Pennsylvania teams, behind only C.B. West (7:49.72) and Haveford (7:58.67).

In their heat, the Warriors were edged out by less than a second by Haddonfield Memorial (N.J.) in 7:58.38 and Century (Md.) in 758.65.

“Connor actually pulled us just about into the lead with about 150 to go,” Bomberger said. “He laid it all out on the line and ran out of gas a little bit. But he still ran an all-time best 800 leg (1:54.84) and so did Jacob (2:00.04), so that was extremely encouraging.”

 

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