Led by senior Lydia Olivere, Padua clinched its seventh straight state outdoor track and field state championship May 21 and 22 at Dover High School. Olivere won three individual events as the Pandas captured the Division I championship.
Catholic schools came in second place in girls Division II and both boys divisions. Several athletes from those teams won individual events.
Using a common dominating performance in the distance races, coupled with a strong showing in field events, Padua finished with 167 points, ahead of second-place Smyrna, who finished with 109.5. The title is the 19th in school history; of those, 17 have come in Division I.
Olivere capped her stellar career with wins in the 800-, 1600- and 3200-meter runs. She was not the only Panda to score in those events. Lizzie Bader came in second in the 1600 and third in the 800. Anna Cleary was fourth in the 1600 and second in the 3200. Judith McLaughlin was fourth in the 800, and Katherine Hally took third in the 3200.
The Pandas also captured first place in the 4X800 relay with a time of 9:04.63. Jackie Holowka started, followed by Victoria Steinhoff, Amber Owens and Bader. They were second in the 4X400.
Padua’s other first-place finishers were Erin Kelleher in the pole vault and Jia Anderson in the 110-meter hurdles. Cameron Lucey was right behind Anderson in the hurdles, and Abigail Vanderloo took third in the pole vault. Chioma Njoku was second in the shot put.
In the girls’ Division II competition, Ursuline’s strong showing resulted in a second-place finish behind perennial power Tatnall. There were also some individual winners from Catholic schools.
The Raiders’ Alaina McGonigle and Anna Pryor placed second and third, respectively, in the 3200-meter run. McGonigle also was second in the 800-meter run.
They also had success in the relays. McGonigle and Pryor joined Rylee McGonigle and Emily Rzucidlo on the 4X800 relay team that came in second, and it was a similar finish for the 4X400 team of Abby Rzucidlo, Ragan Odle, Emily Rzucidlo and Alaina McGonigle.
St. Elizabeth senior Alexis Lee capped her career with the Vikings in style, winning the 300-meter hurdles for the third straight year. Her sister, Ardavia, took third in the shot put.
Abigail Kates of Archmere also made a mark. The sophomore won high jump, beating out three other Catholic school rivals. Gianna Corbett of St. Mark’s came in second, Lee was third, and Molly Matlusky of Ursuline was fourth. Kates also finished third in the long jump and triple jump.
Salesianum went home from the boys’ Division I competition with a second-place finish to Dover. Michael Keehan was a double winner for the Sals, capturing both the 1600- and 3200-meter runs. Those events proved to be the team’s best. Sean Banko finished second in both, while Austin Barry was third in the 3200 and fourth in the 1600.
The Sals received second-place finishes from Brett Henshy in the high jump and Patrick Klous in the pole vault. Klous also took third in the 300-meter hurdles, as did the 4X800 relay team of Conor Ryan, Gerald Brady, Lucien Peach and Gavin Williams.
In Division II, it was a successful meet for St. Mark’s, which finished second to A.I. DuPont. The Spartans had a double winner in Matt Tynes, who won the long jump by an inch and the triple jump by two feet.
Zion Glover gave the Spartans a second in the 100-meter dash; he was less than a second behind the winner. Glover was the anchor of the 4X200 relay team that finished second; he was joined by Blaec Sanders, Tynes and Gabe Wedgewood. Matt McGuirk was second in the discus, ahead of third-place finisher David Bondi of Archmere.