Padua Academy had winners in seven events, including a state-record performance from standout Lydia Olivere, as the Pandas captured their sixth straight indoor track and field state championship Feb. 3 at the Prince Georges Sports and Learning Center in Landover, Md. Salesianum used a strong performance in the field events to take home the boys’ crown it narrowly missed last season.
Padua finished with 140 points, comfortably ahead of second-place Smyrna, who had 110.5. For the Pandas, it was their 14th championship in indoor track and field.
To no one’s surprise, the Pandas scored heavily in the distance events. Olivere, a senior, was a triple winner, taking the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter events. Her winning time of 2:!4.91 in the 800 was one-hundredth of a second better than the mark set in 2009 by Tatnall’s Juliette Bottorff. Olivere also eclipsed her own meet record in the 1,600, which she set in 2016.
Padua also took second and fourth place in the 800, with Lizzie Bader and Amber Owens, respectively. In the 1,600, Bader finished third, and Anna Clearly was fifth. Finally, Alicia Lenoir and Katherine Hally came in third and fourth, respectively, in the 3,200.
Cameron Lucey won the 55-meter hurdles, while Jia Anderson captured third place. And the Pandas shone in the relays, winning both the 4X400 and the 4X800. Erin Kelleher, a freshman, picked up the state championship in the pole vault, a full foot higher then the runner-up.
Athletes from Catholic schools won two other events. Ursuline senior Najiya Cornish cemented her status as the fastest girls runner in Delaware, taking the 55-meter dash in a time of 7.08 seconds, two-tenths of a second ahead of Middletown’s Erikah Jones. Archmere had an individual champion as well, as Abigail Kates took the high jump with a height of 5-02.
On the boys’ side, the Sals used their depth to overcome second-place Dover by a score of 92-85. It was the school’s 10th indoor title, which the Sals last won in 2016.
Salesianum senior Brett Henshey, who played basketball for his school the night before in Wilmington, won the high jump at 6-02, four inches ahead of his teammate, Patrick Klous. Klous and his identical twin, Charles, had identical 13-foot performances in the pole vault as they shared the individual state title. They were a foot better than the third-place finisher. The Sals also took first and second place in the shot put as John Cohill edged his teammate, Kieran Monahan, for the win.
The Sals also had quality outings from Michael Keehan, who was third in the 3,200-meter run. In addition, Keehan was second and Sean Banko placed third in the 1,600.