Benden and Piccirillo Qualify at Redbank Invitational Track Meet


Tom Shade, Contributor

The Redbank Invitational is the oldest major meet in District Nine, and in DCC’s long history here the 2021 Cardinal boys had the third highest score since 2004 and the Lady Cards were at 5th.

There were many big stories on the day including two athletes qualifying in  more events for the coming D-9 Championships next week.

Chloe Benden’s 800 run(2:34) came less than a second from one of the oldest track records in Lady Card history(Nichelle Hoover, 2004) to earn a hard-fought silver medal near the finish as she passed North Clarion’s Trinity Thompson in the last second. Benden’s inspiring race moved her past Sylvia Pisarchick’s great run of the 2017 season for the #2 place in DCC’s history, and will be part of the 18 points she takes before the meet was finished. Benden’s silver medal is the highest in this event ever seen for the Lady Cards.

JP Piccirillo, the consummate runner throughout his four years on DCC’s distance teams, won his way to post-season with a silver medal in the 3200(10:48) and a move up the Hall Of Fame to #5, passing Joe Kreydt from 2005.  Piccirillo also scored a 6th place in the 1600 with a solid 5:09.

The Lady Cardinal 1600 Relay(4:25) team was all business in a race that never really looked like a contest as they shattered their previous record by 6 seconds to take DCC’s first ever gold medal in the 4×4 or, indeed, any relay race in the last 50 years.  Sophia Rooney led off at the gun and passed the baton to Maddie Schmader for the second leg. Schmader took the lead for good then passed to Benden who relayed to the team’s anchor, Faith Jacob, for a historic finish. Today’s time was just 4 seconds off the legendary foursome of 2016(Meyers, Morelli, McAllister, Frank) and puts the relay team among the top teams in District Nine coming into next week’s championship.

Loren Way had a big day in the jumps establishing personal records in both the triple jump(37’ 9.75”) for 6th place, and the long jump(19’ 9.5”) for a fourth place. The long jump performance moves Way into the #3 spot in DCC history as he steps past Andrew Trunzo’s jump of 2016, and the triple jump mark puts him at #6 all-time ahead of Gerrit Pothoven from the 2006 season.   Way also scored points as a member of the Hall of Fame 4×1 team(50.9) along with Micah Williamson, Isaac Bloom, & Owen Helm.

Sprinter Owen Helm hit below the 57-minute mark for the first time in the 400(56.79) and stands at the #12 spot, just less than a second away from the top ten listing.

Besides the 4×4 win today, Faith Jacob also ran a good 100 dash(13.84) for a 6th place.

Distance runner and triple district qualifier Landon Schmader gained a third place in the 1600(4:49) and the 800 (2:10), and also ran the 3200.

Season point leader Madelyn Schmader ran the 400 (1:05.9) for a 4th place prior to her gold medal victory on the 4×4 team.

Micah Williamson earned a 5th place in the 800(2:13) after running in the 4×1.

Kylee Fink competed in the pole vault attempting a school record. She ends the season as the 4th highest vaulter in Lady Card history.

More Cardinals are expected to qualify in the next few days as officials make their final decisions before Tuesday.

The District Nine Championships will in Brookville on Friday, May 21st.

Field events begin at 2pm.