CALN - In the beginning of the spring track & field season, the Owen J. Roberts coaches were careful in how much they used multi-purpose junior star Holly Sullivan.
It figured to be long and grinding season for Sullivan, one that would last well into the postseason, and now that degree of high-level achievement is here on the calendar.
On Friday afternoon, during the first day of the District 1-AAA Championships at Coatesville High School, Sullivan captured a first-place gold medal in the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, 10 1/4 inches, which represents a personal best.
Her previous top performance was 18-8.
“I did 18-8 at a dual meet once,” said Sullivan. “My last jump was the best, and my first jump was my second best. On the last one, I just went for it. I moved up a little bit to go for the extra distance.”
Sullivan’s gold medal highlighted showings by local girls on opening day. Competition continues at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Perkiomen Valley junior thrower Macey Tanseco followed closely with a second-place silver medal in the shot put with a heave of 40 feet, 1 inch, also a personal best.
Both girls automatically qualified for next weekend’s PIAA State Championships at Shippensburg University.
Methacton sophomore Aghina Marshall also ranked high in the long jump by taking third place at 18-1 1/4.
Methacton sophomore Jenny Martin came through with a third-place bronze medal in the javelin with a throw of 125-1. She is also headed to states along with fifth-place finisher Marley Golato, a senior from Pope John Paul II who turned in a throw of 122-2. PJP teammate Devon Player, a junior, came in sixth in the event at 117-3.
In the pole vault, Methacton senior Kristin Beatty finished in a tie for fourth place at 11 feet.
In the high jump, Spring-Ford’s Natalie Thomas and Ram teammate Nicole Cornell were part of a four-way tie for sixth place at 5-1. Thomas is a junior and Cornell is a senior. The winner was Upper Darby’s Claudine Andre, a junior who cleared 5-5.
Numerous other girls advanced in running events by hitting qualifying times and places during the preliminaries that featured multiple heats.
Sullivan also advanced in the 800-meter run by running the third-fastest time in the prelims at 2:14.17. Spring-Ford’s Haley Preschutti, another junior, also advanced in the 800 with the 10th-best time of 2:16.23.
“It’s been a long season with all the events this year,” said Sullivan. “That is why they started off the season slower with me. They knew it would go a little longer so now I’m right at the point where I need to be.”
Sullivan noted that the competition was stiff in the long jump right up until the latter stages of the event.
“In the third flight of preliminaries, four girls were at 18 feet,” said Sullivan. “The two, three and four girls all jumped 18-1. But once it got to the finals, I was the only one with a better jump. You have people pushing you here. That is expected.”
Tanseco was elated at reaching 40-1 in the shot put since her previous best was 39-7.
“It’s the first time I’ve been to the finals for shot,” said Tanseco. “So I am happy. It was my first year throwing 39, too, so I am pretty happy.”
Tanseco also threw the javelin Friday and will throw the discus today.
“The shot and disc are my main ones,” said Tanseco. “I just started throwing the javelin last year.”
Central Bucks South junior Taylor Hoinacki outdistanced Tanseco in the shot put at 40-6 1/2 in a rematch of winter track season.
“In the finals we were close,” said Tanseco. “The other girls I had seen in spring.
“It was really hot but really a good day. In the morning it was really cold, but during the javelin it was so hot.”
Tanseco performed a lot of weightlifting to increase her strength for all of the throws.
“I lifted Monday harder than usual,” said Tanseco. “I really wanted to make it to states this year. That has been my goal. The weightlifting helps my legs. That is the main part of throwing.”
Methacton sophomore Tejerra Ellis notched eighth place in the shot put at 37-2 1/4.
In the 100-meter hurdles, three local girls advanced to the second day of competition. Methacton’s Martin was fourth at 15.10, Boyertown junior Alexandra Heuer fifth at 15.28 and Methacton sophomore Nicolette Serratore eighth at 15.85.
Owen J. Roberts junior Maddie Cobb and Boyertown junior Jillian Bertino advanced in the 100-meter dash with times of 12.44 and 12.58, respectively. Cobb and Bertino also advanced to the Saturday morning semifinals in the 200 with times of 25.13 and 25.54, respectively.
Bertino also moved on in the 400 with a time of 57.42, the fifth-best clocking so far.
In the 300 intermediate hurdles, Boyertown’s Heuer and Owen J. Roberts junior Jill Weston continued on to Saturday. Heuer posted a 45.59 for fifth best and Weston was right behind at sixth with a 45.95.
In the 4x800 relay, Owen J. Roberts had the fourth-best time at 9:27.42 while Methacton owned the 11th-best at 9:33.30.