LHS breaks 25-year-old running record


By: Tim Falls
   The Lawrence High School varsity boys track team has recorded record runs and big wins in the first few weeks of the Spring season.
   Ken Sherman, Pat McDowell, Andrew Santora and Chandell Fuqua broke a 25-year-old school record while competing in the 4×400 for the Lawrence High School varsity boys track team at the Penn Relays on Friday.
   That record comes a week after several Cardinals ran near-record races in the Mercer County Relays on April 21.
   Lawrence also came from behind against Allentown and Hamilton on Tuesday to win both meets. The Cardinals edged the Red Birds, 71-69 and defeated the Hornets, 74.5-65.5.
   At the Penn Relays, Sherman, McDowell, Santora and Fuqua finished the 4×400 in three minutes, 24.85 seconds to take fourth in their heat and broke the Cardinal record set in 1983.
   The time was fast enough to place third among Mercer County schools competing in the event. Only Trenton and Lawrenceville Prep had better times.
   Ben Quaye, McDowell, Sean Pearson and Ken Sherman finished sixth in their heat of the 4×100 at the Penn Relays in 45.46 seconds.
   Quaye, Pearson, McDowell and Dion Ross took third in the event at the Mercer County Relays and tied the school record of 44.7 that was set last year. Lawrence’s time at the Penn Relays was the fourth-fastest posted by a Cardinal squad under head coach Dave O’Neal.
   Fuqua, Santora and Justin Fein had Lawrence’s hightest finish at the Mercer County Relays. The three took second in the 3×400 intermediate hurdles in 3:01.1.
   Brendan O’Brien, Fein, Marcin Truszkowski and David Azer finished fifth in the Distance Medley event at the Mercer County Relays, but their 11:15 finsih broke the Cardinal record for the race.
   "David Azer is leading the distance runenrs as they are coming into peak condition," said O’Neal in an e-mail after a meet against Trenton last Tuesday. "As part of the distance medley releay, he ran a season best 4:41 mile, which is only three seconds off his career best of 4:38."
   Pat Beighley and Fuqua claimed third in the triple jump at the Mercer County Relays, going a combined distance of 77 feet, six inches.
   O’Neal said Beighley is approaching the form that helped the Cardinal triple jumper set the school record of 42-4 last season. Against Trenton, Beighley was within inches of his own record with a 42-0 jump for first place.
   Fuqua also had strong individual finishes in the 87-53 loss to Trenton.
   "Chandell Fuqua is our top performer in the hurdle events," said O’Neal. "He ran his best times (against Trenton), a 57.3 in the 400 intermediat hurdles and a 15.3 in the 110 high hurdles." Fuqua raced the third leg of the Lawrence’s third-place sprint medley relay at the Mercer County Relays with Santora, McDowell and Truszkowski. Lawrence claimed third in 3:46.4 and just missed the school record of 3:45.9.
   O’Neal credited Santora for adding depth for Lawrence in the 400 hurdles as well as his efforts in the 400 and 200 events. The Lawrence coach also sais Santora has been his most consistent runner in the relays.
   O’Neal also cited McDowell for his improvement.
   "Pat McDowell is improving each week," said O’Neal. "He was a part of the 4×200 team that missed a school record by less than one second (at the Mercer Relays) and against Trenton, he had career best performances in the long jump (19-11), 100 (11.3) and 400 relay (50.7 split). His relay split is the fastest for the team so far this year."
   Despite the loss to Trenton, O’Neal was pleased with his team’s performance.
   "It was a very good meet for us," said O’Neal. "The boys scored points in every event and held the meet close against one of the top two teams in the county."
   Lawrence dropped to 2-4 with the loss to Trenton, but improved to 4-4 with wins in a tri-meet against Hamilton and Allentown on Tuesday.
   Lawrence trailed Allentown, 65-62, and Hamilton, 62.5-57.5, with three events left in the meet.
   Brendan O’Brien won the 3,200, Sherman, McDowell, Santora and Fuqua won the 4×400 and Beighley, Fuqua and Brad Alexander swept the first through third, respectively in the triple jump to give Lawrence lead in both meets.
   The Cardinals are scheduled to compete against Steinert on Wednesday.