New Jersey and New York: This week marked a return to action as South Jersey athletes traveled the region in search of Sectional tuneups. On Wednesday athletes distinguished themselves at the South Jersey Throwdown at Cherokee High School, the Ed Poreda Invitational at Lawrenceville Preparatory School, and at the Morris County Coaches Invitational at the new Ocean Breeze facility on Staten Island in New York. Saturday saw a return to the Bennett Indoor Complex in Toms River for the SJTCA Meet #10. The weekend also saw competition at the Ocean Breeze Invitation again at the new Staten Island facility.
The SJ Throwdown
Bernadette McGowan of Paul VI High School began her series at the South Jersey Throwdown with a putt of 40 feet 3 inches. That effort would be enforced with two additional throws of 39 feet and 39 feet 10 and a quarter. All three efforts would have won the Shot Put competition despite the strong performances from second place finisher Tomara Charmichael of Palmyra (38’ 10) and third place finisher Emily Hilt of Kingsway (36’9.25). McGowan’s coach Charles Mullen was impressed with her focus as she conquered both midterms and the competition this week: “Bernadette was able to stay focused on both this week. She has been a tremendous leader this week and throughout the season. We were very excited to see her win the meet.”
The boys competition pitted Kingsway’s Sam Shinn against Palmyra’s Matt Yanik. Shin took an early lead with a throw of 49 feet 7 inches. A second throw of 50 feet 4 inches expanded Shinns lead but after a third throw foul the outcome was still in question. Yanik completed the night with an impressive final putt of 49 feet 8 inches but came up just shy and had to settle for a second place finish. John Hemple of Cherokee closed out the top 3 with a 44 foot, 6 inch toss.
Morris County Coaches Invitational
Coach Karen O’Neil of Seneca was expecting strong performances: “The Ocean Breeze facility is tremendous… and the track lends itself to running… fast times.” Her girls responded with impressive performances. In the 800 three underclassmen Seneca runners impressed as Kayla Martin won the competition in 2:17.18 and her teammates Sydny Warner and Kayla Haw came in fourth and sixth with times of 2:24.37 and 2:26.98. In the 1600 their teammate Joey Webb outclassed the competition in a time of 5:25.96.
Not to be outdone by their track running compatriots Susann Foley and Brittney Raffo performed well in the vertical events. Foley, a sophomore, finished second in the High Jump with a clearance of 5 feet. This positions her to take a shot at the Seneca indoor school record of 5 feet 2 inches. Brittney Raffo continued her consistent Pole Vaulting with a second place earning 11 foot clearance.
Ed Poreda Invitational
Seneca’s sister school Lenape joined a small contingent of South Jersey schools at the Ed Poreda Invitational in Lawrenceville, NJ. Lenape Junior Megan Quimby dominated the 1600 with a 9 second victory in 5:12.70. Her teammate Jasmine Staten continued to impress with outstanding performances in the long jump and hurdles. In what her coach Gerald Richardson classified as, “just two of her favorite events,” Staten registered a pair of second place finishes. In the 55 hurdles she ran a personal record of 8.28 seconds while in the long jump she fell 1 inch shy of winning with a jump of 17 feet 10.5 inches.
In the boys competition the Eastern team of Joshua Chazin, Benjamin Stevenson, Vipul Bhat, and Cole Pschunder won the distance medley (1200, 400, 800, 1600) by 3 seconds over Neshaminy in 10:40.55. The Lenape squad of Trey Campbell, Brandon Campbell, Kevin Harrison, and Danny Fraley won the sprint medley (400, 200, 200, 800) in 3:44.76 over St. Benedict’s Prep.
For more on Staten’s day check out lead blogger Reuben Frank’s piece: “Staten has a Huge Performance.”
SJTCA Meet #10
After both Bithell Quinn of Lower Cape May Regional and Kia Starns of Timber Creek cleared 5 feet 2 inches the official raised the bar to 5’4. Both athletes missed. Then they missed again, then again…. The officials went to the score sheets. The tie could not be broken. The bar was lowered to 5 feet 3. The competition would be decided in a jump off. “Quinn and Kai put on a great show of skill, heart, and determination,” as they battled for the win and cleared 5’3 according to LCMR coach Syd Peterkin. The bar was then returned to 5’4. This time Quinn cleared on her second attempt and forced Starns to settled for second but Peterkin thinks both athletes, “look ready for the upcoming month of competition.”
The meet, which followed next week’s South Jersey Group 2 and 3 Sectional event order, also saw strong performances on the track. Seneca’s Kayla Martin (5:12.82) impressed in her first event open 1600 with a tough earned victory against Timber Creek’s Alyssa Condell (5:15.66). Her teammate Joey Webb (2:23.11) finished in a close second to Cherokee’s Jess McAdams (2:23.00) in the 800. If you compile Seneca’s 800 meter performances from this week’s meets they indicate a 4×800 potential of 9:31.64 which would make them the #1 team in New Jersey and #10 in the US Milesplit Rankings. Although focused on the State Meet series, Seneca hopes to take a stab at the 4×800 at the Varsity Classic on the fast track at the New York Armory.
In other action South Jersey Cross Country Runner of the Year Alyssa Aldridge of Mainland won the 3200 in a time of 11:13.31. Winslow’s Brittany Preston won the 400 in 59.06 and joined her teammates Ally Morrison, Nicole Hood, and Maryn Hess for a 4:10.07 victory in the 4×400 meter relay. Last year’s Meet of Champions 3rd place finisher and All South Jersey performer in the 55 meter dash, Cecelia Gertenbacher of Delsea, won the dash competition in a time of 7.35 seconds. Junior Lenaami Morton of Camden won the 55m hurdles by over a tenth of a second with a time of 8.54 seconds. Seneca’s Brittney Raffo continued success in the Pole Vault with a 10 foot 6 inch victory and Delsea’s Elisia Lancaster won the shot put with a throw of 37 feet 6 inches.
This winter has been about focusing on explosiveness for Hammonton’s Anthony Maturano. That explosiveness culminated in a season best and personal record matching 6 foot 4 inch victory in the high jump and a second place performance of 6.69 seconds in the 55 meter dash. The dash was won by Salem’s Jonathan Taylor in a dominating 6.52 seconds. According to NJ Milesplit that is the number 4 performance by a New Jersey runner this winter and would have placed Taylor second to St. Joes Hammonton’s Caleb Williams at last year’s Meet of Champions.
In the second race of his indoor track career Cinnaminson’s Mike Ungvarsky ran a Group 2 South Jersey leading 4:32.37 for a close victory over Northern Burlington’s Beepul Bharti (4:33.17) in the 1600 meters. Highland’s Jason Leonardo registered a 13 second personal record of 4:34.91 for 3rd. Leonardo’s Highland teammate, Sophomore Ben Woodward, ran to a 38 second personal record and victory in the 3200 with an impressive 31 second closing 200. Another sophomore, George Tenenberg of Delsea, won the 800 in a narrow victory over Willingboro’s Tyler Davidson (2:01.76 to 2:01.86). Mikal Wright of Willingboro won the 55 meter high hurdles in 7.55 seconds. Wright’s time would have placed him third at last year MOC.
Willingboro continued its strong meet with a 3:28.83 win over Winslow (3:31.0) in the 4×400. Oakcrest Senior Oliver Paul ran to victory in the open 400 with a time of 51.88. In the Pole Vault Delsea placed first and second as Jarrod Brovero (13-6) out vaulted fellow Knight Nick Clarke who cleared a strong 12 feet. In the shot put Burlington Township Senior Jaehlan Joyner tossed a 50 foot 2 inch bomb to defeat Oakcrest’s Terrence Smith (46’9).
Ocean Breeze Invitational
South Jersey’s two Haddonfield high schools traveled north to Staten Island, NY for the Ocean Breeze Invitational and came home with strong performances. Paul VI High School set 4 school records and tied another. Maxwell Dickens highlighted the record breaking day with his 3rd place finish in the Boys Red 400 meter where he registered his second school record of the day (7.79 in 55m HH) in 50.11. His teammate Stefone Moore Green also registered a strong performance in the White Division 400 with a 50.29 seconds winning time. Coach Jim Cox was happy with his team: “With 2 weeks left until states, we are getting to where we want to be. We have the athletes to make a lot of noise at the state level and hopefully beyond. Our kids are focused and ready to rise to the challenge [of the] great athletes… in our group.”
Cross town rival Haddonfield Memorial High School had strong races in the 1600 and 800 meters. In the 1600 meter Red Division Senior Greg Pelose ran 4:20.42 for 6th while teammate Austin Stoner ran 2:00.91 in the Red 800.