Sixteen South Jersey high school athletes have been accepted into the individual events at the 127th running of the Penn Relays later this month at Franklin Field.
Eight boys and eight girls are among the leading performers among all entrants at the cutoff on Sunday. The relay fields will be announced next week.
Athletes must qualify this year indoors or outdoors except in events that aren’t contested indoors – the javelin and the discus. Marks from last spring can be used for those throws.
And, sadly, for the second straight year there are no 400-meter hurdles for high school athletes.
Five South Jersey athletes – all girls – will be competing at Penn for a second straight year: Williamstown’s Ciara Demarest, Northern Burlington’s Liliah Gordon, Millville’s Leah Howard, Hammonton’s Emma Peretti and Clayton’s Alanna Woolfolk,
The Penn Relays is always held the final Saturday of April and the two days preceding it. That’s April 27-29 this year.
The boys discus, shot put, long jump, high jump and javelin are scheduled for Thursday morning, the boys pole vault and triple jump Thursday afternoon, with the girls discus, shot put, high jump, pole vault, long jump, triple jump and javelin Friday morning.
Here’s a look at South Jersey’s 16 individuals:
Devon Brooks, Senior, Rancocas Valley, Discus: Brooks PR’d with a school-record 167-11 at the Spartan Relays at Deptford Saturday after surpassing 160 feet for the first time a few days earlier at CBA with a 163-5.
Isaiah Davenport, Senior, Pleasantville, High Jump: Davenport cleared 6-6 twice indoors, both times at the Bubble. He cleared 6-4 in poor conditions Saturday at Deptford in his outdoor opener.
Malicah Etienne, Senior, Cinnaminson, Discus: Etienne bombed a 174-5 at his season-opener in Lincroft, the No. 2 throw in Burlington County history behind another Cinnaminson thrower, Kamron Kobolak, who threw 185-6 when he won the 2018 Meet of Champions at Northern Burlington.
Jashad Kersey, Senior, Eastern, Triple Jump: Kersey hit 45-11 twice indoors – at the Bubble in February and then when he won Easterns in March at the Armory. That’s No. 10 in South Jersey indoor history.
Greg Masso, Junior, Delsea, Shot Put: Masso PR’d with a 54-8 at Cherokee back in January, and he threw an outdoor PR of 53-10 ½ this past Saturday at Deptford.
Ryan Merlino, Junior, Oakcrest, Pole Vault: Merlino PR’d with a 14-9 at Boston Nationals indoors. That broke a 32-year-old Atlantic County record and moved him up to No. 11 in South Jersey history.
Derrick Robinson, Junior, Cinnaminson, High Jump: The versatile Robinson cleared a PR 6-6 at one of the SJTCA meets at the Bubble over the winter.
Peyton Shute, Junior, Woodbury, 3,000: Shute qualified with a solo 9:14.51 at the state Group 1 meet, No. 3 in Gloucester County history and No. 16 on the all-time South Jersey list.
Sophia Curtis, Junior, Ocean City, Triple Jump: In her first season after transferring from Padua Academy in Wilmington, Del., Curtis set Atlantic County indoor records in the 400 (57.99), 55 hurdles (8.33) and triple jump (41-3 ¼). That 41-3 ¼ is a South Jersey record and No. 2 in state history.
Ciara Demarest, Senior, Williamstown, Discus: Demarest threw 42-11 ¼ in the shot indoors, but elected to throw the discus at Penn after a 138-3 last May in a meet at Delsea. That’s No. 8 in Gloucester County history. Demarest qualified for the shot last year and placed 16th with a 34-8.
Zoe Goldberg, Junior, Eastern, Javelin: Goldberg bombed a 136-7 at last year’s West Deptford Relays, No. 3 in Camden County history.
Liliah Gordon, Sophomore, Northern Burlington, 3,000: Gordon ran 10:38.20 for 5th at the indoor Meet of Champions, No. 6 in South Jersey history indoors (and No. 18 in state history). She went on to run 17:26.55 for 5,000 meters at New York Nationals, 14th-fastest in state history.
Leah Howard, Senior, Millville, Javelin: Howard threw 148-2 to win states last year – that’s No. 15 in state history and No. 6 in South Jersey history – and opened this season with a 146-2 at Deptford. Howard was 8th at Penn last year with a 126-7.
Emma Peretti, Senior, Hammonton, Discus: Peretti returns to Franklin Field – or more accurately the fields across the railroad tracks – where she had the meet of her life last year. Peretti placed 8th at Penn last year. She had throws of 122-6, 123-11, 124-3 and 128-11, moving into the No. 5 spot on the all-time Atlantic County list.
Chanel Swain, sophomore, Willingboro, Shot Put: Swain was the No. 2 sophomore in the state indoors with her 40-2 at the Bubble in February. That made her Willingboro’s first 40-footer in 26 years, since Nicole Scott threw 41-0 in 1997.
Alanna Woolfolk, Junior, Clayton, High Jump: Woolfolk cleared 5-8 to win Easterns at the Armory in March, equalling the No. 2 mark in South Jersey history. This will be Woolfolk’s second straight trip to Penn. She placed 4th last year with a 5-3 ¼ clearance.