Upper Perk senior Robert Brett races in the hurdles event Friday afternoon at PAC-10 Track and Field Championships at Boyertown High School.
The Upper Perk track program deserved a couple of pleasant surprises and Coach Dean Wright and his squads got them at the PAC-10 Championships last weekend.
While the bigger schools dominated, with Spring-Ford and Methacton romping home to championships in the boys’ and girls’ competitions, respectively, Upper Perk was happy to see its revamped boys 4x100 relay finish third and qualify for districts. Junior Travis Kline will go to districts in long jump, and Danni Moser will be representing the girls in the 100 and 300 hurdles.
“We got some good performances. We got a surprise with the four-by-one getting third,” said Wright.
The relay team, comprising Cory Gibson, Ben Hamill, Kyle Kater and Robbie Hinson, ran its best time of the year at 43.68 to qualify for this weekend’s districts at Coatesville.
The relay has been hampered all year by injuries and the team had to overcome handoff difficulties as the members struggled to mesh. The first time Gibson led off the relay a couple of weeks ago at Pottstown, a dropped baton cost them big time.
“We’ve been working,” Gibson said.
“I’d say we’ve improved as a team,” added Kater.
Gibson got the team off to a good start, and Kater passed a couple of teams on his lap, handing off to Hinson in third place. The senior anchor maintained the Tribe’s swift pace, finishing behind Pottsgrove (42.63) and Methacton (42.71).
Kline posted a 19’8.75 long jump at Boyertown. He also finished seventh in the triple jump (42’1) and javelin (140’7).
On the girls' side, Danni Moser had to overcome weather related problems with last Saturday’s storms.
She was fourth in the 300 hurdles in 46.7, which was slightly off her personal record.
“I actually got off to a really slow start, and then I feel like I just had a burst of energy at the end, and I passed a lot of people,” Moser said.
The 100 hurdles was a different story.
“They moved the races around (because of weather), and we had to run back to back,” the senior explained. “I had just run the 300s and then I had a 20-minute break and I had to go run the 100 finals, and my time (16.33) was just really bad. I felt really slow and all my steps were off.”
At districts, Moser is looking forward to “trying to make up for my bad times in the 100s,” and taking a shot at her aunt’s school record. Sue Moser recorded a time of 14.84 in the late 1980s.
Moser was also the veteran presence on the 4x400 relay, running with sophomores Rachel Landis, Shae Duka and Aubrey Gibbs.
“She’s been the extreme role model for the girls, here at every practice, being a good teammate, no too worried about individual stuff. That’s all we can ask,” Wright noted.
Moser is proud of the effort put forth by her younger teammates. “We just worked hard at practice, got better as a team. We fixed our handoffs because they were slow before.”
Gibbs recorded a personal best in the triple jump (30’3) even though it was only the second time she competed in the event because of problems with shin splints.
“Mr. (Byron) Hecker and the coaches kind of talked me into it for PAC-10s.”
Wright and his girls’ team were also proud of the fact that the team managed a seventh in team points. It has been a tough year depth-wise and injury-wise, and while it may not seem like a lot to outsiders, the finish was an accomplishment.
“I think the people who were on the team worked hard, and we worked with what we were given, because we didn’t have a lot of people on the team, and everyone tried their hardest. We did the best we could,” Moser said.