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Finucane takes stage at Penn Relays

April 25, 2008|By Andrew Mason

If James Finucane doesn't feel right at home in Philadelphia this weekend, he should soon enough.

The Mercersburg Academy senior is set to compete in the mile run this evening and the 4x400-meter relay Saturday at the Penn Relays. The nation's oldest and largest track and field carnival is hosted by the University of Pennsylvania, which will be Finucane's new home this fall.

"It will be fun to race in front of my future coach (Charlie Powell)," Finucane said. "He wants to see what I can do."

Finucane will be one of 16 boys in the mile run. He qualified for the race with his 4:20.58, fifth-place performance in the mile at the Pennsylvania indoor state championships over the winter.

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"I'm one of the slower seeds. I think everybody else is under 4:20," Finucane said. "I just want to go out and hang with the pace and see what I can do on the third and fourth laps. I definitely want to go under 4:20, maybe 4:17 or 4:18.

"This is a really big meet for me. If I run 4:15, I really wouldn't be that surprised. I feel like I'm ready to run fast."

Finucane - The Herald-Mail's Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year last fall - hasn't had many opportunities to test all of his gears this spring.

His most impressive performance so far this season is the 3,200 he ran in an area-leading 9:30.4 in a tri-meet with McConnellsburg and Rockwood on April 16. In that race, he was the only runner under 11 minutes as he lapped the entire field.

"I'm ready to go for it at the Penn Relays," he said. "I'm looking forward to it. It will just be fun to race in front of that crowd."

Perez's 'cannon'

Chambersburg senior Armond Perez is one of the top jumpers in the Tri-State - and one of the top javelin throwers in the nation.

"The javelin is definitely his best event," Chambersburg coach Bob Walker said. "He just has a cannon for an arm."

Perez placed seventh at Nike Outdoor Nationals in North Carolina last June with a throw of 184 feet, 7 inches, which was his personal best at the time. Last week in a dual meet with Cumberland Valley, he unleashed a monstrous throw of 204-5.

He'll be looking to top that mark this afternoon at the Penn Relays.

"I'm hoping he cranks one," Walker said.

Perez is undefeated in the javelin this spring. This past weekend at the Shippensburg Invitational, he edged Central Dauphin's Justin Shirk - the reigning PIAA Class AAA state champ who is seeded first at the Penn Relays - 199-9 to 199-3.

In the Tri-State this spring, Perez also ranks first in the long jump (22-4), second in the triple jump (42-9 1/2) and he's tied for fifth in the high jump (6-4).

"He's never bored at a track meet," Walker said. "He never has time to chill and relax. He's always busy."

The 6-foot-6 Perez is headed to Delaware Technical & Community College to play basketball. He was an All-Area First Team selection in hoops this past winter.

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