Eleven years of dominance

Track team’s achievements create expanding expectations


Sylvan Prey-Harbaugh

KEEPING THE STREAK ALIVE | Senior Teghan Sydnor races for the hurdles at the Haverford meet on April 2.

Hannah Prokup, Contributor

The Streak. Across many sports, that phrase has different meanings. Baseball fans might think of Joe DiMaggio’s 56 consecutive games of getting a hit. For women’s college basketball, it invokes the UConn Huskies’ 145 straight victories across nearly nine years. But in Delco track and field, The Streak means only one thing: 11 years of dominance by the Strath Haven Girls at the Delaware County Track & Field Championship meet. 

Since 2010, the Strath Haven Girls’ Track and Field team has won the Delco Championship every year. Under the leadership of Coach Bill Coren, recently inducted into the Delaware County Athletic Hall of Fame, the Panthers’ domination has been undeniable. 

During those years, the Strath Haven Track team won by an average margin of nearly 31 points over the next highest-scoring team. In 2018, the team won by 74 points, nearly doubling the point total of the second-place team.

“We owe it to Coren; to be able to keep a streak alive for that long is truly amazing.””

— Maggie Forbes

As The Streak grew, Delco Champs became the meet that Coren anticipated the most at the start of each season. His predictions of the outcome became a ritual within the team, with Coren routinely stating, “this is the year we lose it; it’s not gonna happen,” according to former Strath Haven standout (and now Rice University star) Grace Forbes. 

Though Coren would mentally prepare himself each year for a possible loss, the team has proven him wrong time and again. The pressure would mount every spring until their eventual victory broke the tension. 

Allie Wilson, another Strath Haven legend, Olympic-trials finalist, and current holder of this season’s world-fastest 800-meter time, acknowledges that Haven’s history of athletic success motivated her training. 

“Growing up going to all of the Haven sporting events and admiring all of the amazing athletes who had gone through our school always made me want to strive for success,” Wilson said. 

After playing her own significant role in the early years of The Streak, she still feels “so much pride to have come from such an incredible program.” 

Although the athletes and their hard work are, of course, central to the team’s success, many alumni and current team members attribute the team’s success to Coach Bill Coren and the entire coaching staff. Coren focuses on the athletes’ longevity, rather than on short-term success. Whereas many coaches may take an athlete with obvious talent and train them too hard so that they achieve fast times early in their career, Coren purposefully restrains an athlete’s progress so that they steadily and healthily improve to run their fastest times as seniors. This restraint brings forth a consistently dominant team over others in Delco. 

“We owe it to Coren; to be able to keep a streak alive for that long is truly amazing,” Maggie Forbes, another former Haven track star, said. 

Occasionally, another school would threaten the streak. In 2016, Penn Wood High School gave the Strath Haven team a scare, racking up 86 points to the Panthers’ 91. While the championship meets created plenty of stress, according to Maggie Forbes, “it strengthened the team’s unity and ability.” Wilson concurred, saying that the track program has “continually taken athletes from nothing to something.” 

Wilson’s statement will hopefully prove prophetic in 2023, as the Panthers are losing several highly talented and high-scoring seniors: Geena Seflin and Hannah Spielman in the discus, Winnie Stach in the 3200m, Rowe Crawford in the 1600m and 800m, and Teghan Sydnor in the 300m and 100m hurdles. 

And despite these seniors’ contributions, as the truism goes, all good things must end; and so, too, did The Streak. On May 7, a cold, rainy day at the Upper Darby High School track, an exceptionally deep Haverford girls team eked out a two-point victory over the Panthers at the Delco Track and Field Championships. But to the Strath Haven girls, the end of one streak simply provides the opportunity to start another.