After a solid performance at the Penn Relays Saturday, St. John the Baptist boys track coach David Wood has no doubts that his team is headed in the right direction.
The Cougars 4 x 800-meter relay team of Gerard Benfield, Thomas DuPlessis, Jereymy Schneider and Sean Ferguson took seventh overall in the Championship of America Race at Franklin Field in 7 minutes, 49.61 seconds.
It was quite a feat considering St. John the Baptist graduated three members of the quartet last year. Ferguson was the lone holdover.
"It lets us know we're on the right path again," Wood said.
It was also an improvement over Friday's qualifier time of 7:56. The Cougars barely made the 12-team cut in the qualifier with an 11th-place finish.
"That was a big turnaround," Wood added. "But we're pleased with our finish. It was a hard-fought race today."
Other standouts at the Penn Relays included Bay Shore's Kadesh Roberts, who took second in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles in a school-record time of 52.43. It's the fastest time in the state this season.
Roberts also anchored the 4 x 400-meter relay team with Pernell Gulley, John Scott and Kareem Roberts, which finished second in its heat in 3:32.99.
The Lions were followed by Brentwood (Tevin Foster, Myles Fowler, Dwayne Kidd, Diego Shulterbrondt), which took fourth in 3:28.65, Massapequa's foursome of Brian Poole, Danny DeLuna, Andrew Malone and Joe Caraciolo came in fifth (3:29.39) and the Hills West team of Jamir Blackmon, Bryce Johnson, Julien Desroches and Frederic Fils-Aime, which finished ninth (3:32.87).
Elmont's 4 x 400 team of Chad Barker, Roshane Wright, Brandon Atkins and Ayomide Obadare won its heat in 3:25.83. --