ADAMS TWP — Seneca Valley’s 400-meter relay team wanted it all on Friday. The Raiders then went out and took it.
Jordan Brown, Jon Dorogy, Bradley Banks and Forrest Barnes teamed up to finish the event in just 43.03 seconds and take first place at the Mars Boys Track and Field Invitational.
The time also broke the Invite record of 43.22, set just last year by a quartet from Gateway. Also falling was SV’s school record of 43.3, which had stood since 1982.
“We were trying to get down to 42 (seconds) today,” said Banks, who ran the relay’s third leg. “It could have been even better, but we all felt great after the race and are ecstatic about what we did.”
“The first exchange was a little shaky,” said SV coach Gar Bercury, who has been working with the relay team, along with assistant Chris Eden. “For what it’s worth, I think that team can lose another second off its time. We have high expectations for them, but it was a great effort today.
“This is the first time all season that those four have ran together, just because of different schedules for each of them,” he added. “That makes it all the more impressive what they did today.”
It was one of three first-place performances turned in by SV’s boys.
The 3,200 relay team of Bryce Benjamin, Brett Foster, Mike Kolor and Andrew Mascio defeated the field with a time of 8:08.9 and Barnes won individually in the 100 dash with a time of 10.97 seconds.
The win is a good sign for Barnes, who believes his best time is yet to come.
“I was struggling earlier this season,” he said. “I wasn’t in the right mindset and was a bit out of shape.”
His best time in the 100 dash is 10.76, set in a dual meet against Pine-Richland his junior season, which included a third-place finish at WPIALs.
“I really do think I have a chance to win it this year,” he said.
Competing at events like the Mars Invite shows Barnes what he needs to do to reach his full potential.
“At invites like this, you know some of the fastest guys in the state are going to be here,” he said. “The only time you can truly build confidence is by going up against and beating them.”
For his efforts, Barnes was named co-Track MVP along with Grove City’s Dan Jaskowak.
Though few people stuck around to watch the last event, Mars’ 1,600 quartet will remember it for a long time.
Sonny Zangaro, Scott Slaney, Nate Bayuk and Ori Rinaman shattered the school record in the event by two seconds with a time of 3:26.34.
“This is just awesome,” said Rinaman, who handled the anchor leg. “We’ve been trying so hard to get the record. Our goal was to beat Penn Hills. They were ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL and we knew they would be here today.”
The Indians did show up and placed second behind the Planets at 3:27.93. Both teams were included in the final heat.
Lydia Dennis felt right at home on Friday. After all, she competes at the Mars Athletic Complex all the time.
Mars’ junior took first place in both the long and triple jumps at the Mars Girls Track and Field Invitational.
Her effort of 18 feet, 3 inches in the long jump broke the Invite’s previous record of 18-1, set by Quaker Valley’s Tabitha Bemis in 2010. Dennis managed 37-1 1/2 in her triple jump victory and was awarded Field MVP honors.
“All of these teams come to your school’s invite and you have to prove yourself,” she said. “It feels awesome to come away with two wins.”
It marked the second straight year that Dennis won both events at the invite. She also owns the triple jump record of 37-5, set in 2012. She is competing at a high level despite a pre-fracture in her right leg.
“It’s getting better,” she said. “I go to physical therapy and I hope to peak, if not at WPIALs, then at states.”
Also taking home first-place medals were Seneca Valley’s Abbie Trzeciak (116-1 in the javelin) and Mars’ Emily Thomas (114-9 in the discus).