Loyola's Jablonski takes first place in mile at Penn Relays

Loyola's Matt Jablonski came in a close second against future teammate Chad Noelle in last winter's Millrose Games. This time, Jablonski got the best of the matchup.

Jablonski and Noelle, who will be running together at Oregon in the fall, were locked in an all-out sprint in the final 100 meters of the mile run at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia on Friday. But Jablonski edged ahead just before the finish line to win in 4:10.37 — just ahead of Noelle (4:10.38).

Noelle, from Greene, N.Y., won the indoor mile at the Millrose Games in New York in 4:16.71, beating out Jablonski (4:16.88). On Friday, Jablonski made his late kick on the final lap and pushed ahead just before the finish line.

"It's a tremendous honor to win such a prestigious race," said Jablonski, The Baltimore Sun's Performer of the Year in cross country and indoor track.

Loyola coach Chris Cuccuzzella said Jablonski ran that final lap (quarter-mile) in a sizzling 58 seconds, and said the race made his heart beat a little faster.

"It was thrilling to watch," Cucuzzella said. "It was beyond thrilling."

He said that Jablonski was about five meters behind with half a lap to go. He just started passing people on the turn. Noelle and Jablonski hit the home stretch even and sprinted the final 100 meters together.

"It was neck and neck with the two of them," Cucuzzella said.

Robbie Creese from Glenelg also qualified for the race and ran well. A state champion in cross country and indoor track and a first-team All-Metro pick in both sports, Creese finished sixth in 4:15.06.

On Thursday, Old Mill's Alexis Franklin turned in her own spectacular performance in taking second in the 400-meter hurdles. In Maryland high school sports, the hurdles are 300-meter events, but Franklin didn't let the extra length concern her.

Franklin's time of 59.07 seconds was the fastest time this spring by an American girl, according to The Washington Post. Ristananna Tracey from Jamaica won the race in 56.17, a new record for the event.

Jessica Caldwell from McDonogh finished third in the triple jump on Thursday, the highest local finish outside of Franklin or Jablonski. Also from McDonogh, Candice Hendricks took 10th in the discus.

The Gilman boys (fifth, 3,200) and McDonogh girls (eighth, 400) also fared well in the relays.

Kikanae Punyua from Glenelg Country School took 10th in the 3,000 meters on Friday and North Carroll's Amber Melville was ninth in the high jump.

On Thursday, Shelby Frink of Woodlawn finished 15th in the shot put.

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