Peddie places second at Prep A meet

GIRLS TRACK AND FIELD: The Falcons’ 80 points were good enough to earn them second place and make their coach look like a prophet at Wednesday’s Prep A Championship meet.

By: Neil Hay
   Remember Karnack, the old Johnny Carson character who could predict what was written on a piece of paper inside a sealed envelop?
   That’s who Mark Gartner is.
   Driving up to Pingry Wednesday for the State Prep A track and field championships, Karnack – I mean Gartner – wrote down on an index card that the Peddie girls team would score 80 points. Know what? That is exactly what the Falcons rang up in the 10-team meet.
   Now if he can only predict this week’s lottery numbers.
   Peddie’s 80 points were good for second place.
   "I was very pleased," said Gartner of his team’s performance at states. "If we have a really good day, I said we’ll score 80. That is what happened."
   Courtney Jackson (98-feet-6) and Abby Temeng (96-feet-11) gave the locals a one-two in the javelin. Temeng added seconds in the discus (103-feet-8) and long jump (15-feet-2.5).
   Melanie Nicholas had a first place when she high-jumped 5-feet-2. She added a second place with her 15.2 in the 100 high hurdles.
   Titi Wilson was another first place winner when she ran a 12.8 in the 100. Scoring third place points was Nitika Dabas, who finished in 12:41.5 in the 3200.
   With 88 total points, the girls placed fourth in the six-team Mid-Atlantic Prep League championships Sunday at Hill. Lawrenceville captured the team title with 139 points, followed by Hill (129) and Mercersburg Academy (91).
   "I thought we performed very well," said Gartner, who chose not to overextend his athletes by having them compete in too many events. Instead, he opted to limit them to those events in which they could succeed, and thereby keep them ready for the state prep meet.
   "In the events we had kids, we scored a lot of points. I was trying to keep the kids healthy, recognizing we have states (three days later). Rather than stretch the kids thin with four events to maximize points, I ran them in less events. I was very pleased." In all, Peddie skipped six events at MAPL.
   Not that the Peddie girls were without their moments. Temeng doubled, winning the discus at 107-feet-.5 and the javelin at 108-feet-6.5, both close to new personal bests. Also taking two first places was Nicholas, who high-jumped 5-feet-4 and ran a 15.4 in the 100 high hurdles.
   In the 100 Wilson won in 12.6, while the 4X100 relay went to the Falcon foursome of Sajdah Bilal, Temeng, Christina Rodriguez and Wilson in 51.0, just .4 seconds off the school record.
   In other results, Rodriguez, Chakira Chew, Lauren Young and Bilal were third in the 4X400 (4:28.7), Chew’s 5-foot-6 was second in the high jump, and Bilal placed second in the 100 (13.2).
   "I knew going in that our (roster) numbers were less than the other teams. We did really well in the events in which we competed. The kids had a good time, they were excited to be there. We wanted them to have a good experience and they did," said Gartner.
   The team took a 5-2 record into this week’s championship meets, having defeated Pennington Prep, Stuart, Germantown Academy, Blair, and Philmont Christian. The Falcons’ losses were to Hill and Lawrenceville.
   Among the top performances posted so far was Nicholas’ 5-foot-6 high jump against Germantown Academy, the area’s best effort this spring. Nicholas’ 14.9 100 hurdles against Lawrenceville is the second best showing in the area this season, as is Temeng’s 110-foot-11 discus throw, also against Lawrenceville.