By: Joe Cicchino - Sports Information Assistant
FORT WASHINGTON -- Just a few days stand between the student athletes of Germantown Academy and the first day of The Penn Relays on April 25. With four relay teams and five individuals competing, the Patriots will be in nine total events, up from the seven they were in just a year ago.
GA has groups in the boys 4x100 relay (Donovan Ganges '19, Daelyn Nwaobasi '21, Trae Vance '20, Kevin Lamb '19, Christian Combs '22) as well as in the 4x400 Inter-Ac relay (Nwaobasi, Owen Fitz '20, Robert DiDonato '21, Lamb, Patrick Tronoski '22). For the girls, GA will run in the 4x100 (Cobree Hooper '19, Destiny Mayfield '20, Alex Goodridge '22, Fore Abinusawa '22, and Sydney Cameron '22) and the 4x400 Philadelphia Academic relay (Bri O’Hara '22, Abinusawa, Perry Irons '21, Molly Oeth '20, and Juli Gonzalez '22).
“We have some great athletes who have had some really strong performances,” said GA Head Track and Field Coach Dion Lehman. “Getting relays into The Penn Relays is always fun, but it takes that extra step to get those individual events entered in because you’ve got to have top marks.”
The Patriots will have two students representing the school in the pole vault in Lily Cohen '20 and Caleb Johnson '19. Cohen is seeded third in the girls pole vault championship, while Johnson is fifth for the boys. The senior took third in the event just a year ago after clearing 15’ 9” and will once again be looking for a good showing. Cohen also placed highly last year, finishing fourth for Benjamin N. Cardozo High School with a 12’ 3.5” jump.
GA also has two athletes—Meaghan Toscano ’20 and Ola Abinusawa '19—in the shot put events. Toscano returns to the relays after placing 15th a year ago while Abinusawa will be competing in the event at Penn for the first time.
Issy Goldstein '20 rounds out those that are competing as individuals, and she will be running in the girls mile run. The junior is seeded fourth in the event.
“It’s really exciting to have all those individuals competing in what has historically been a relay meet,” Lehman said. “I think they’re all going with the mental focus of ‘lets go and have a great day and see if we can win.’ They’re all competitors and I’m sure they’re ready to mix it up.”
Lehman added that so much of The Penn Relays is about the experience and that he is looking forward to sharing that with the student-athletes that are attending. Having gone to and competed in the historic meet in high school and in college, Lehman knows how special the moment really is.
“I get jitters going and coaching just like I did when I was an athlete,” Lehman said. “I get excited for the kids because I know it’s such a special weekend for them. I think we’re really fortunate that it’s in our backyard. In some ways, we don’t realize how special it is to be able to hop on a train and be at one of the best meets in the world.”
However, before they go into the city for the competitions, the Patriots host Episcopal Academy on April 23. Lehman said that they will using the meet as a tune up of sorts, especially for those that are competing at Franklin Field.