Toms River, NJ: The John Bennett Indoor Complex played host to the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 2 and 3 Sectional Championships this past saturday. In Group 3 Highland Boys captured the title on the back of strong distance performances, while the Winslow Girls used speedsters to cruize a title. Delsea Girls earned Group 2 honors by scoring in all but one event and their male counterpart Willingboro grasped victory through bursts of scoring in middle distance and explosive events.
Group 2 Boys
Tyler Davidson proved to be the leader on the track that Willingboro needed. He won the 400 meters in 50.86 seconds. He won the 800 in 2:02.11. He helped his team to a second place finish in the 4×400 with a time 3:31.64, and ultimately he helped Willingboro capture their 4th Sectional Title. The competition was impressed. Coach Kevin Sherry, of 2nd place Deptford called them “a very talented and well coached… squad.”
In the 800 Davidson was followed by Tom Long of Cinnaminson who came from behind to run 2:02.61 and qualify for the State meet. Other 800 meter South Jersey qualifiers included Jake Hellmig of Delsea (4th, 2:04.38), and Aaron Cooper of Willingboro (5th, 2:04.73). Francis Terry of Sterling, in his second season of track, was outleaned (by Davidson) in the 400 but ran what Coach Jeffrey Mcilvaine called, “a huge time (50.95).” He was followed by fellow South Jersey qualifiers Oliver Paul of Oakcrest (3rd, 52.00), Sterling teammate Conner Garzon (4th, 52.15), and Willingboro’s Tyshon Hernandez (5th, 53.25).
Tyler Garland improved by over a tenth of a second from the prelim to captured the 55 meter high hurdles title in a personal record of 7.74 seconds. Willingboro teammates scored a total of 14 points in the event as Zavian Bell (2nd, 7.83), Jahaad Beckford (4th, 8.20) and Michael Walker (5th, 8.24) all had strong finals performances. The other South Jersey hurdling qualifiers were West Deptford Senior Josh Legg (3rd, 7.90) and Paul of Oakcrest (6th, 8.25).
Sophomore George Tenenberg (4:31.78) of Delsea used a devastating kick to win the 1600 over 3200 Champion Michael Ungvarsky (4:33.78) of Cinnaminson. West Deptford teammates AJ Kilpatrick (3rd, 4:33.91) and Mitchel Wileczek (5th, 4:35.20) were the other South Jersey qualifiers.
Ungvarsky’s victory in the 3200 was his first sectional title. The All South Jersey Cross Country performer used that XC strength to run a faster closing lap then he ran earlier in the day in the 16. The other South Jersey qualifiers were Kilpatrick (3rd, 9:48.01), and Delsea teammates Nathan Senatore (5th 9:52.07) and Freshman Colin Kane (6th, 9:56.52).
Willingboro Junior Yasin Gresham won a tight battle with Myles Davis of Deptford in the high jump. Both athletes cleared 5 feet 10 inches. Yasin claimed victory and 10 big points on misses. The only other South Jersey qualifier was Freshman Rashad Raymond of Cinnaminson who cleared 5 feet 6 inches and tied for 6th place.
The Delsea duo of Jarrod Brovero and Nick Clarke continued their strong Pole Vaulting season with a 1, 2 finish. Brovero edged Clarke with a 14 foot clearance. This was Brovero’s second 14 vault of the week as he cleared 14 feet 6 inches at the SJTCA meet on Tuesday. Cinnaminson’s Christian Neuman (T-4th, 11’), West Deptford’s Nick Novak (T-4th, 11’) and Daniel Forbes (6th 10’6) of Deptford also qualified.
Marcus Carter’s personal record performance lead him to a sectional title in the shot put. The Deptford senior’s throw of 50 feet, 5.5 inches edged second place finisher Enaje Johnson-Hutto by a mere three quarters of an inch. Terrence Smith of Oakcrest (4th, 47’01.25), Kamron Kobolak (5th, 46’00.25) and Antone Harrell (6th, 43’11) also qualified.
Freshman Marques Miller just missed an extraordinary 55 meter dash victory but still notched South Jersey’s best Group 2 finish with his 6.68 second runner up performance. Senior Paul Wickwire edged the standout freshman by a scant two one hundredths of a second. A Deptford trio of Derrick Clement (3rd, 6.71), Jahmir Ellis (4th, 6.72), and Myles Davis (5th, 6.75) showed sprint depth as they closed out the South Jersey qualifiers.
In the last event of the day (4×400 meter relay) Deptford capitalized on their sprint strength and earned a close victory over Willingboro. Tyler Garland, Derrick Clement, Jahmir Ellis, and Myles Davis ran 3:31.44 the win. The other SJ qualifiers were Sterling (3rd, 3:35.34), and Oakcrest (4th, 3:36.59).
Group 2 Girls
Kira Lester did what Kira Lester does: put on a show. She started off the meet with an exciting meet record in the 400 meter. Her time of 57.76 seconds earned her an impressive victory despite a strong efforts by sophomores Aliyah Taylor (2nd 58.21) of Pemberton and Cecelia Gerstenbacher (3rd, 58.77) of Delsea. Sterling’s Aliya Harrison used her first trip under 60 seconds to place 4th in 59.33. Keisha Whaley (5th 60.62) of Oakcrest and Donyae Shelton of Willingboro (62.62) also qualified.
Lester continued her strong running with a victory in the 55 dash. Her winning time of 7.22 seconds is the fastest time in the state so far this year. Taylor (2nd, 7.36), Gerstenbacher (3rd, 7.43) and Harrison (4th, 7.49) all returned from the 400 to qualify in this event. The other qualifiers were Kierston Johnson of Oakcrest (5th, 7.50) and Amaris Marsh of Deptford (6th, 7.66).
Lester capped off the day by anchoring teammates Camryn Tirado, Kayla Tucker and Jayla Harrison to a victory in the 4×400 meter relay in 4:08.22. Other 4×4 qualifiers included Sterling (2nd 4:13.01), Oakcrest (3rd, 4:18.77), Pemberton (4th, 4:19.97), Delsea (5th, 4:21.33), and West Deptford (4:21.40).
Sterling Sophomore Sydney Coppolino won the 800 meter by a convincing margin of 3.2 seconds. Her coach Jeffrey Mcilvaine called her performance a “very positive sign for this time of the season.” Other South Jersey qualifiers included Andrea Benites (Torres) (3rd, 2:25.92) of Cinnaminson, Tirado (5th, 2:25.6) of Deptford, and Sydney’s sister Madison Coppolino (6th, 2:28.80) also of Sterling.
Madison Coppolino’s 6th place 800 performance was just a glimpse of her day. She scored in all three distance events. Her highest finish was the 1600 meter where she was South Jersey’s top finisher. Her time of 5:19.15 earned her second place to Pt. Pleasant Boro’s Katie Bragen. The other SJ qualifiers were Katie Rauscher (3rd, 5:19.32) of Delsea, S. Coppolino (4th, 5:24.45), and Olivia Rocks (6th 5:39.83) of Cinnaminson.
Delea’s Rauscher turned the tables of M. Coppolino in the 3200 earning her highest finish and top SJ honors. Her hand timed 11:13.7 earned her second place. Coppolino placed 3rd in 12:21.4h while Freshman Kristina Littlehales of Delsea closed out the scoring in 6th (12:33.3h).
Delsea’s team Championship was forged with three big skill event victories. The first came in the 55 meter hurdles where Talyah Cox won comfortably in 8.65 seconds. Camden’s Lenaami Morton was forced to settle for second in 8.74 seconds after a prelim time of 8.43. Marsh of Deptford (3rd, 9.04) and Annette Wanjiku of West Deptford (5th, 9.33) were South Jersey’s other qualifiers. Cox will look to repeat her winning ways next week while Morton will look to find some finals magic.
Ashley Preston continued Delsea’s winning ways in the Pole Vault. The impressive freshman cleared 10 feet to earn the victory and a 1 foot margin over her nearest South Jersey Competitor, 3rd place Taylor Clark of Cinnaminson. The only other South Jersey qualifier was another Delsea Freshman (Madison Mamounis) who cleared 7 feet, 6 inches for 5th place.
In the shot put Elisia Lancaster dominated the field with a 5 foot victory. The Delsea Junior’s toss of 38 feet, 5 inches is the #5 throw in the state according to NJMilesplit. Camden’s Caprina Rogers finished 2nd with a put of 33 feet, 11.75 inches. Other South Jersey qualifiers included Prisca Blamon (4th, 32’10.75) of Cinnaminson, Navaeh Bell (5th, 32’6) of Lower Cape May, and Gracious Klah (6th 30’7.75) of Willingboro.
Senior Quinn Bithell won her third consecutive Sectional title in the high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 2 inches. She is looking to capitalize on this performance in the weeks to come. According to coach Syd Peterkin she is, “looking forward to getting some work in during the next 2 weeks leading up to the state finals.” She will need every ounce of that effort to hold of Delsea Talyah Cox who finished in 3rd place with a jump of 5 feet. She was followed by West Deptford’s Lauren Tigue (4th, 4’10) and Sterling’s Janell Rowe (5th, 4’10).
Coming Tomorrow: SJ Gr 3 recap and all the other SJ action from around the state.