South’s Toto soars to a Penn Relays crown

first_img BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer BY TIM MORRISStaff Writer TIM MORRIS Colts Neck’s Ryan Jagielski (l) and CBA’s Peter Glackin run side-by-side during the Distance Medley Relay at the Penn Relays on Friday. Julianne Toto did more than just win the Penn Relays pole vault title Thursday, she endured. Before the Middletown South vaulter could earn her Penn Relays gold watch, she had to overcome a strong field that included many of the best scholastic vaulters in the country. Then there were the elements in Philadephia’s Franklin Field — first the wind, and then a downpour. As if that weren’t enough, the Eagle had to come back from a mishap that bruised her ribs and tested her psyche. On her first attempt at 12-0, Toto missed the plant box with her pole and it slid under the mat. Suddenly the pole came to an abrupt stop while Toto’s momentum continued. The result of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object was the pole jamming into Toto’s ribs. “It really gave me a scare,” said Toto. Packing it in never crossed Toto’s mind, and she promptly scaled 12-0 on her next attempt. The bar then went to 12-4 where Toto, on her third and final attempt, was up and over. Caitlin Hewitt from Greater Latrobe (Pa) also did 12-4, but she had missed at a lower height, while Toto had been perfect up to 12-0. That was all that was needed to give the championship to Toto. “The Penn Relays are really a great meet,” said Toto. For the pole vaulter, the relays are very challenging because of the weather, and Toto got a little bit of everything Thursday afternoon. First, it was the swirling winds, which can wreak havoc with a vaulter’s run-up steps. Then, as the bar was raised to 12-0, came a downpour and the vaulters rushed to wrap their poles in a towel or T-shirt to keep them dry. By the end of the competition, the conditions changed again and the sun was out. What made Toto, who has made a verbal commitment to the University of Georgia, so happy about her performance at Penn was that despite not having technically perfect jumps, she was able to will herself over the ball at 12-0 and 12-4 — a good sign that with better weather this spring, she can top her indoor personal best of 12-6. Christian Brothers Academy’s Distance Medley Relay team went to Penn thinking it had a good chance to claim a win. They had finished second at the indoor national championship behind Shore Conference rival Colts Neck and were looking forward to another battle with the Cougars. But Newton North of Massachusetts, with Millrose Games high school mile winner Chris Barnicle running the anchor, stole the show, winning in the fastest time in the country this year, 10:04.15, while CBA finished sixth (10:21.07). Newton North controlled the race from the start with Davie Polgar running an opening leg 1,200-meter split of 3:06.4, which put his team in the lead. It was catch-up for everyone else and when Barnicle turned in a 4:10.6 anchor 1,600, it was a race for second place. CBA’s race got of to a rocky start when Chris Horel was tripped and fell to the track during his 1,200 leg. He still turned in a respectable 3:15.2. Brandon Leniart posted a 50.3 400 leg and Pete Glackin ran the 800 in 1:57.3. Greg Leach anchored CBA up to sixth place with his 4:18.3. CBA Distance Medley team takes sixth last_img

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