JEROME AND JERMAINE Lowery have a push-pull relationship.
The senior All-Americas from Father Judge had a field day on the track at Widener University. Not even torrential downpours could stop the identical twins from garnering six medals at the Philadelphia Catholic League track and field championships yesterday, leading Judge to its first PCL outdoor title since 1975 after a final team tally of 181 points.
"My mom always says that Jermaine pulls me and I push him, so we both try to come together and perform well because we both know we'll never let the other one win," Jerome Lowery said. "When we are at home, it's brother-to-brother, but out here we are competing against each other and supporting each other at the same time."
On this day, it was Jermaine who pushed past his sibling, taking first in the 400 meters (49.73 seconds), the 200 (22.21), along with the 110- (14.78) and 300-meter hurdles in which he set a meet record in 38.17. After such a performance, Jermaine fittingly earned the PCL's Most Valuable Track Performer award.
Jerome finished second to his brother in the 300 (40.03) and took third in the 200, but ran out of the lane in the 400, suffering a disappointing disqualification. However, in true Lowery fashion, Jerome became the catalyst in Judge's first place finish in the 4 x 400-meter relay (3:23.78).
From here, the goal is to attend college together. While neither brother was willing to announce their final school selection, Jerome told the Daily News that their choices were narrowed down to Pittsburgh, Texas and Delaware State - big schools for a duo with even bigger goals.
"We can't really discuss our college plans now. All we can say is that we are hoping for better things from here on out and we hope you'll be seeing us at the 2012 [Olympic] Games in London," Jerome said.
The Lowery boys may have helped Judge steal the show, but Cardinal O'Hara and La Salle brought some competition. O'Hara finished second (90.5 points), and La Salle third (89). O'Hara's Dennis Conn took first in the 800 (1:56.17), while Steve Werner took the boys' long-jump title after his leap of 21-6 1/2 feet.
Field events were La Salle's specialty as Beau Whitman (13-6) and Seth Gorman (12-6) captured gold and bronze medals in the pole vault while Greg Barksdale locked up second in the high jump (6-4). Back on the track, Dan Lowry (4:22.41) and Pat Donnelly (4:26.80) finished one-two in the mile run.
Individually, Archbishop Carroll's Kevin Eckel took first in the 100-meter dash (11.01 seconds). Other relay winners were Archbishop Ryan (3,200, 7:54.95) and Judge (400, 43.62). In the field, Judge's Leemue Koimene won the high jump (6-4), La Salle's Tom Barr took the shot put (51 1/2) and discus (146-4). Judge won the javelin thanks in part to Jason Flanagan, who won with a final throw of 189-3, to secure the 2008 title along with field MVP honors.
"These are probably the toughest group of kids I have ever coached," Judge coach Matt Dwyer said. "Mentally, they don't break down. They have battled through adversity all season, especially coming off a tough [PCL championship] indoor season, and we have stressed to them that the team that rebounds the best and can fight through adversity is the team that wins. And they all proved it here today." *