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Track and field: Spartans show strength in numbers at Penn-Jersey championships


There is strength in numbers, or so they say.

Solebury School had nearly 40 student-athletes – including 14 girls – come out for track and field this spring. That benefited the Spartans greatly and they won both of their league meets this spring, culminating in the school’s third co-ed Penn-Jersey Athletic League championship May 8 on their home field.

Solebury also captured boys and girls Penn-Jersey titles in 2012 and 2015.

Spartans head coach Terri Miller says that Solebury benefited by the increased number of athletes.

“We’re a small school so being able to put bodies in races can be tough,” she said. “But we actually measured up pretty well this year; we had almost 40 kids.

“We had a meet the week before (the P-J championships) so I kind of saw how we were there.

“Having 38 this year really made a difference. We had enough people in all the events.”

The top team with 171 points, the girls topped second-place Cristo Rey as did the boys team with 176.5 points.

The girls were sparked by sophomore Kelly Hochenberger, who hit the tape first in the 100-meter hurdles (17.64), and also took first in the 300 hurdles (55.87) and long jump (15-0.25) and third in the 400-meter dash (1:06.15).

“She is just a sophomore and she’s broken four (school) records,” stated Miller. “She’s going to be one to watch in the next couple years.”

Hochenberger isn’t a full-time track star, playing soccer in the fall and basketball in the winter.

“If you asked her what her main sport was, I’d bet she’d say basketball or soccer,” explained Miller. “But I believe she has the potential to be a phenomenal runner and could do that in college.”

Hochenberger was one of dozen Solebury track athletes who qualified for states this spring. She set a new school record in the long jump in the PIAA meet with her leap of more than 15 feet, 6 inches May 24 at Shippensburg University.

In the league championship, the boys were also spurred by a sophomore in Tyler Scotti, who finished first in the 110 hurdles (17.51) and javelin (134-9) and second in the 300 hurdles (46.22) and long jump (18-5.75).

The Spartans did particularly well in the jumps, throws and hurdles.

For that, Miller was quick to credit her staff, which consists of Dave Camiolo, who guides the distance runners, Libby Fifer, who coaches throwers (shot put, discus, javelin), and Sarah Lanzetta, who advises the long- and triple-jumpers. Miller guides the hurdlers and the high-jumpers.

“Not a lot of teams have enough coaches to be able to specialize and work on everything, but we have four coaches,” she said.

That might have helped senior Luca Naughton finish first in the long jump. A 6-3 point guard for Cleve Christie’s basketball team at Solebury who plays AAU hoops for the Lehigh Valley Running Rebels, Naughton also took third in the high jump (5-0).

The Spartans named four MVPs in track this spring including Hochenberger, Scotti, senior Lucas Leguizamo and junior Arlene Ricks.

Leguizamo finished first in the 300 hurdles (44.92), second in the discus (90-7) and the triple jump (38-8) and third in the javelin (109-11).

Ricks placed first in the shot put (29-9.25) and discus (83-9) and second in the javelin (73-9).

Coaches’ Awards went to junior Erik Hallberg along with freshman Imojin Fury. Hallberg finished fourth in the 3,200 run (12:51.09) while the ninth-grader finished first in the triple jump (25-1.75) and fourth in long jump (12-11.25).

Another freshman took a Most Improved Award along with sophomores Victoria Garcia and Tim Carroll. The ninth-grader was Morgan Barnes, who finished fourth in the 300 hurdles (59.84) and 100-meter dash (14.13) and fifth in the 200 (29.84).

Freshman Javon Brewster finished first in the high jump (5-2) and tied for fifth in the 100-meter dash (12.7).

“He’s just a phenomenal athlete, anything that you give him,” said Miller, of Brewster. “I asked him to high jump, and he just went out and killed that.”

Additionally, freshman Charlie Franklin finished second in the high jump (5-0) while junior David Zaketa finished fourth (5-2). Senior Miles Smith finished third in the 400 (55.77) and also in the triple jump (34-6.75).

Smith graduated June 8 along with Debby Qu, Leguizamo and Naughton, who announced in April that he plans to continue his athletic career playing men’s basketball at Pace University.

Miller says the team has talent to replace those departing the ranks.

“We are losing some seniors but with our depth, we should cover it next year and going forward,” said Miller. “And we have a lot of talented freshman, and people who are willing to step up and try new things.

“It’s not that easy to step up and say oh yeah I want to run the two-mile.”

Solebury’s distance runners came a long way this year as junior Ben Bunting finished second in the 1,600 run (5:03.43) and Qu finished second in the 3,200 (16:44.42) and fifth in the 1,600 (7:11.53).

The sophomore class represented the school’s colors this season as Paola Naughton finished second in triple jump (23-9.75) and third in high jump. Classmate Elizabeth Agyei, another 10th-grader, finished third in shot put (24-5.5) and fifth in discus (62-4). Maddie O’Brian finished third in discus (69-7).

Meghan Fay – an eighth-grader – finished fourth in the javelin (55-6).

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