Girl track members preform well at Penn Relays


A yearlong goal comes true for eight Hereford girls who were invited to compete in the 120th annual Penn Relays on April 23. The nationwide event is the largest and one of the most prestigious track and field events in the country.

Hannah Ace (’17), Hannah Boliek (’12), Sarah Coffey (’16), Catie Denz (’15), Marissa Inglisa (’16), Alicia Kozlowski (’16), Traci Rambert (’15) and Tori White (’18) traveled to Philadelphia to compete.

Alicia said getting invited wasn’t something that came easy for them. Athletes come from all over the nation.

“It’s actually been almost over a year [since we have attended] because we tried to enter last year but we got rejected,” said Alicia.

This year, Hereford qualified for a 4 X 800 relay team, 4 X 400 relay team, and one pole vaulter. While the number of qualifiers seems small in comparison to the large track team, it was quite an honor that Coach Brad Duval can attest to.

“Hannah Boliek is one of 25 pole vaulters nationwide to be granted entry,” said Duvall. Hannah holds the school’s outdoor record of 11” 7′.

“I hope I can break the school record again and get another personal record,” said Hannah, who was a gymnast for 13 years before she took up pole vaulting in high school.

The athletes had to put in more work beyond the area they specialize in. Tori White, who ran in the 4 X 400 relay, said she usually runs short distances; however, she still had to do a lot of long distance work to build endurance.

And Duvall doesn’t hesitate to push athletes to their best. As the 2014 Girls Indoor Track Coach of the year, he has presided over many county, regional and even state championship teams.

He also has a lot on his plate with 161 athletes who participate in Hereford track and field, meaning when you walk through the halls 1 out of every 7 students is involved in the program. The rest of the team stayed behind to conduct their own workouts, cheering on their teammates from afar.

Teachers in the school also cheered on student athletes for this prestigious accomplishment.

Technology teacher Michael Dodd-O went to high school outside of Philadelphia and remembers it was always an event for the city.  “On the news and stuff it was a big deal. It’s important for the city,” said Dodd-O.

“We’re just kind of hoping to go and see what happens, [to] try and beat our time from states,” said Alicia. We’re just going to go and have fun.”

“I’m not expecting anything. I mean I would love to win, but I’m more concerned with all of us breaking our own records and just doing well overall and having good scores,” said Tori.

The team did just what they hoped to do. The 4 X 8 team performance stood out with a time of 9.46, just one second slower than their States’ time.

Their teammates are also proud of them.

“Those individuals push the boundaries of athleticism and performance,” said Varsity Boys track athlete, Jack White (’18). “So for those participating in the Penn Relays, those who came from the same background, the same school as [us], we congratulate you.”

Meghan Anderson contributed to this article