By John Knebels

Sports Columnist

He just keeps getting better.

Already an athlete with an impressive resume in both football and track, Cardinal O’Hara senior Tyler Gallen entered the Catholic League indoor track championship on Feb. 6 at Widener University with nothing to prove.

But when you are an established athlete, motivation comes from within.

“Anything I do I try to get the most out of myself,” Gallen said. “If I know I did my best, there really isn’t any more than I can do.”

Gallen performed brilliantly in the league championship, helping O’Hara capture the team title with 135 points. Second-place Father Judge (95 points) was led by outstanding field performer John Landis (first place in both the long jump and triple jump).{{more}}

Behind Tom Trainer’s victories in both the mile and 3,000, La Salle (86) also did well, but the Lions came in as the prohibitive favorite and didn’t disappoint.

Along with winning the 400 meters and taking second in the 200, Gallen anchored the Lions to a meet record in both the 4×200 and 4×400 relays. The 4×200 relay included teammates Shacor Hamilton, Lamont Veal and Brian Hamilton and broke a 10-year record by only three-tenths of a second. Also pacing the 4×200 to the title were Brian Hamilton, Christian Canavarro and Nick Beniato, eclipsing a record that had stood since 1991.

“What a great way to go out,” Gallen said. “We were all in a good mood after the meet. I think we earned it. I think everybody felt good about how they did.”

Speaking of feeling good about how they did, St. Hubert’s celebrated with gusto after seizing the school’s first-ever indoor track title. The Bambies’ effort defined “team effort,” as sophomore Teresa Ortiz was the only first-place finisher. Along with winning the mile, Ortiz finished second in the 3,000 and was instrumental in Hubert’s solid performance in the relays.

Although it is rare for a team champion to only claim one first-place victory, the Bambies’ somewhat lopsided championship (108 points to second-place Cardinal O’Hara’s 81 and third-place West Catholic’s 72) is explained by their taking seven second-place finishes and four third-place finishes. Of the meet’s 16 events, the Bambies failed to place in the top three only four times.

“This is the best way to win a championship,” said Ortiz, who in the fall finished second in the Catholic League cross-country championship. “When one or two people carry a team, it’s nice, but when everyone steps up and contributes, that’s a lot better.”

Most of the first-place finishes went to West Catholic, which captured five. Michelle Davis finished first in both the 200 and 400 runs, Jada Stewart took the 60 meters, and the Burrs garnered gold in both the 4×200 and 4×400 relays; the latter established a meet record.

Other notable accomplishments included Archbishop Wood placing first in 4×800 relay and distance medley, and Conwell-Egan’s Logan Brenker winning the high jump and long jump.

At the 46th annual Meet of Champions Feb. 19 at Lehigh University, the following local athletes won medals:

First place: Scott Catalano, Lansdale Catholic, 60 meters; Rich D’Ambrosio, Malvern Prep, long jump; Emma Keenan, Gwynedd-Mercy, 800 meters; Anna McCloskey, Cardinal O’Hara, shot put; La Salle, 4×800 relay;

Second place: Tyler Ross, Monsignor Bonner, 60 meters; Christian Lupica, Holy Ghost Prep (60-meter hurdles); Cardinal O’Hara, 4×400 relay);

Third place: Emma Mahony, Villa Joseph Marie, mile; Logan Brenker, Conwell-Egan, long jump; Grace Giampetro, Villa Maria, pole vault; Cardinal O’Hara, 4×200 relay.

The state championships will be held this Saturday, Feb. 26, at Penn State University.

John Knebels can be reached at