Jamir Washington was surprised the race was so close.
Washington ran the second leg for the Camden boys' 4x400-meter relay team in the South Jersey Small School final Saturday at the Penn Relays. The Panthers ran the relay in 3 minutes, 21.27 seconds, edging Delsea by .72 of a second.
Although Washington, a junior, said this was the first time the Panthers raced Delsea, he expected the gap to be bigger.
"We usually blow everybody out, but this time Delsea fought," Washington said.
Camden's team of Keyon Franklin, Washington, DyMelle Parker, and Kwan Wilson wasn't supposed to be the foursome that participated in the race. Parker was a replacement for Dejon Sullivan, who has a hamstring injury.
Parker, a sophomore, had been training with the team for the past week. He ran the third leg in 49.45 seconds, the second-fastest leg of anyone in the race.
The anchor, Wilson, took the baton while in second place. Wilson, a senior, said that although the crowd was overwhelming, he fed off the energy and ran harder because of it.
"I like to put on a show for them," Wilson said. "Most importantly, I like to excel for my team, because it's a team effort, so I try to do my best to put us in the best position and try for first place all the time."
Later in the day, Camden finished 11th of 12 teams in the boys' 4x400 Philadelphia Area race. Cheltenham won with a time of 3:16.99.
In the South Jersey Large School boys' 4x400 final, Sterling Pierce ran a 49.29-second anchor leg to lift Rancocas Valley to a narrow win. The Red Devils put up a time of 3:26.08, with second-place Winslow Township just behind at 3:26.24.
Lenape placed second in the high school girls' 4x400 Philadelphia Area race. Central Bucks West came in first with a time of 3:51.61, 1.65 seconds faster than Lenape.
The Timber Creek boys' 4x400 relay team, which did not compete in either of the South Jersey races, ran a time of 3:17.69. The Chargers had the 13th-fastest 4x400 time in the competition and the sixth-fastest among American teams.
Winslow placed fourth in the girls' 4x100 Tri-State race with a time of 47.71. The event was composed of the eight fastest teams from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Cheltenham won the race, running it in 47.11.