Girls Track and Field’s outstanding performance at states

North Penn girls 4x100 team, long jumper Madison Gee, and Coaches Kayla Charles, Matt White, Brandon Turner, and Kyle Richhart after their successful weekend at Shippensburg University.

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North Penn girls 4×100 team, long jumper Madison Gee, and Coaches Kayla Charles, Matt White, Brandon Turner, and Kyle Richhart after their successful weekend at Shippensburg University.

You never know at the start of the track season what is going to happen. You don’t know what girls will step up on your team and what other athletes the other teams are prepared to put out on the track. That is what makes the start of every season tense, as you know all you can do is prepare your team to the best of your ability and hope for the best. That is just what North Penn’s girls’ track team did, and success followed.

The 2022 track season was an exciting one full of obstacles, success, and promise. It was a nice change for both the girls’ track team, as this year they finally had a track to run on. The 2021 season posted a lot of challenges with the renovation of Crawford Stadium, taking away the track for the whole season and forcing both teams to practice in the parking lot and on Penndale Middle School’s all-gravel track. Imagine the relief when the athletes and coaches were finally able to return to a brand new track.

At the start of this season, coaches Brandon Turner, Kyle Richhart, Brain Pellechia, Kayla Charles and Matt White only had one thing in mind: to regain the league title from rival Central Bucks West. In 2021, the girls faced a devastating defeat during leagues, losing their league title to Central Bucks West, who had a very strong and talented girls track team. But this season their team wasn’t gifted enough to hold onto the title, as North Penn’s girls crushed it on the track and the field beating every team in the league by over 100 points.

But the success did not stop there, as many of the girls continued to districts and from there marched their way to states. States was held at Shippensburg University on Friday, May 27th, and Saturday, May 28th. North Penn walked onto the track ready to compete with their 4×100 team, long jumper Madison Gee, triple jumper Taylor Forbes, and shot putter Dominique Bethel. On Friday the 4×100 team ran in prelims to qualify for the main race the next day. They placed 5th and advanced to the next day with hopes to run a faster time and capture a medal.

The girls’ triple jump took place on Friday, as well as shot put. Taylor Forbes advanced to the finals in the triple jump but unfortunately missed a medal by one spot. She finished 9th in the state jumping 37-11. Dominique Bethel was one spot out of making the finals in the shot put and missed a medal by two spots. She placed 10th in the state throwing the shot put 36 feet and 8.25 inches. Although neither captured a medal, top 10 in the state is an amazing achievement and was a fantastic way for the two to end their track and field careers at North Penn.

On Saturday, Madison Gee captured 5th in the state in long jump, jumping 17-6.5. She had an exciting finish going from 9th to 5th on her last jump. As only a sophomore in high school, Gee’s 5th place medal is quite impressive and gives promise for more state titles in the coming years.

“We were very excited with Gee’s performance and it was a great way for her to win her first medal,” Coach Turner said.

The final event to take place was the one everyone was waiting for, the 4×100. The 4×100 team consisted of seniors Destiny Lewis-Upchurch and Taylor Forbes as well as juniors Maddie Lewis and Maya Adams. The 4×100 had a lot riding on their shoulders considering they took 3rd place last year at states.

“I know me and the girls were really nervous before we ran, especially the second day,” Maddie Lewis stated. “And it didn’t help when we walked into the stadium to see that the stands were packed.”

Lewis was especially nervous knowing her important role in the 4×100 team.

“As the anchor, I knew that it might come down to my leg to determine where we were going to place,” she explained.

With all the nerves running through their body the girls knew they could work together to pull off an incredible performance. When the gun went off each team bolted out of the blocks knowing that a state title was on the line. It was a close race between North Penn, Cheltenham, and South Fayette. It came down to a matter of milliseconds but North Penn captured the silver medal running a 48.76, only .73 seconds behind Cheltenham.

“We weren’t expected to win, but I guess I was still hoping we might,” Lewis expressed. “But going to states is amazing and I think placing second is still incredible.”

Second in the state is a huge accomplishment, but Coach Turner isn’t ready to stop there.

“I think the girls ran really well. Going from third in the state last year to second in the state this year is very difficult to do. But we just keep going from there and let’s hope next year we can finish 1st.”

With many of the same girls who made it to districts and states returning next year all of the coaches have high expectations for the team next year. Obviously to hold onto the league title, but also to maybe win a district and state title. Like we said before, you never know what the season will hold and what new runners will appear, but for North Penn girls it seems like another dominant year is in sight.

“It was a great end to a great season and I hope that next year we can bring all three relay teams to states,” Coach Turner stated.