McGovern on top at NY Relays

Faulkner off quickly in 400

By Christopher Hunt

NEW YORK – Mount St. Michael senior Brian McGovern walked over to Farrell’s Cory Duggan at the conclusion of the pole vault competition.

“My whole lower body is falling apart,” he said.

At least he was competing. McGovern won the pole vault at the New York Relays in 15 feet, 6 inches in his first competition in two months. A week before the indoor state championships, McGovern underwent an appendicitis surgery and just started vault practice this past week and his right hamstring and left knee wrapped during the meet Saturday at Ichan Stadium on Randalls Island.

“I’m better now,” the senior said about this appendix surgery. “It’s just everything else is falling apart now.”

Just before the winter state meet, McGovern went to school and had breakfast like any other day. But he started feelings a severe pain in his stomach. He thought he probably just had a stomachache until the pain became more severe and persistent and McGovern went to the hospital. McGovern said the surgery triggered an acid reflux in his stomach and he couldn’t eat for four days. He lost 14 pounds.

McGovern said the surgery caused some muscle imbalance. He felt pain in his right hip flexor since he began running in practice two weeks ago. He is seeing a chiropractor four times a week now.

But even with all that, McGovern vaulted 15-6 with only one miss and had two solid attempts at 16 feet. He said he was already ready to handle his bigger poles.

“It was iffy in the beginning because I was blowing through my poles in warm-ups,” he said. “It still felt a little weird though.”

McGovern was the best vaulter in the state indoors and looked ready to pick up where he left off.

“I was getting up to 16-10 in practice before everything happened,” said McGovern, who is still being courted by Manhattan and Northeastern. “It was so frustrating. But I’m ready to go now.”

Troy Faulkner of Curtis nearly missed his chance in the 400. Faulkner was in the stands when the invitational boys 400 took the track.

“I didn’t hear a call for the boys 400,” he said. “I heard everything else.”

By the time announcers were introducing the participants, Faulkner was off to the side of the track stretching, oblivious that his race was about to start without him. Once he realized, he alerted officials and they held the race while Faulkner rushed to get dressed and lace his spikes.

“That was nerve-racking,” he said. “I didn’t have time to think. I didn’t want to be nervous. I wanted to relax through the first 200.”

He hectic started didn’t seem to rattle Faulkner. He won in 48.33, a personal best.

“I just had to gain my composure,” he said. “This shows me that I’m ready to do big things this season.”

Eric Brittingham of Methacton won the javelin in a meet record 196-11. All his throws bettered his own meet record of 175-4.

“I feel like I could have done a lot better,” Brittingham said. “I thought I lacked speed. I was shutter-stepping a lot.”

Brittingham normally practices on grass and said his run-up on the track felt a lot faster than he is accustomed to.

“I’m still happy I got the win here and the meet record.”

Hackley junior Aaron Konigsberg won the decathlon with 5,348 points despite no-heighting in the pole vault, one of his stronger events.

“It was hard staying focused after no-heighting,” he said. But it was more important for Konigsberg to simply get a decathlon competition under his belt.

“It’s necessary,” he said. “I didn’t score what I wanted to score but it’s necessary to just get out and do one so that I know how it feels because you don’t have that many chances before nationals.”

Brian Riley of Methacton won the invitational 800 in 1:57.95. Half Hollow Hills West on the sprint medley relay in 3:29.78 with a 1:52, 800-meter anchor leg by Kyle Merber.

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