This Week in SJTrack: Egg Harbor Impresses
Toms River, NJ: The John Bennett Indoor Complex played host to the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 1 and 4 Sectional Championships this past Saturday. In the boys competition Egg Harbor look on some of the state’s best and came out Champions. Lenape shined in the girls competition becoming the top South Jersey performer. Meanwhile, Haddon Township migrated north for the day and competed in the Group 1 Central Jersey Sectional.
Group 4 Boys
Egg Harbor Defeats Strong Challengers
Heading into the meet Coach Ryan Smith knew his Egg Harbor Eagles had a challenge on their hands: “After the final seeds were published earlier in the week we saw that Kingsway was a favorite over us. That fired up our kids… . [T]hey take pride in performing their best for the team.” Though they entered a slight underdog Egg Harbor left with a South Jersey Group 4 Title and Rancocas Valley Coach Jeff Dzuranin (whose team tied with Kingsway for second) made clear the best team won: “Egg Harbor had a great meet and was impossible to beat in the team title.” The Eagles scored in 8 of 10 events and had multiple qualifiers in the 400 meters, the 800 meters, the high jump, and the shot put. With a total of 73 points they won by 17 and Smith was pleased with the performance: “I couldn’t be prouder of these student-athletes and their coaches for that extra effort they put in for the benefit of the team.”
Amir Brock was the only individual winner for Egg Harbor with a 50.90 second performance in the 400 meters. Teammate Alex Dessoye outperformed his seed and placed second in 51.12. The other South Jersey qualifiers included Chase Campbell and Kevin Harrison both of lenape (3rd, 51.38 and 5th, 52.11), and Samuel Keleekai from Rancocas Valley (6th, 52.27).
Isaiah Curbelo of RV shined in the middle distance events with what Dzuranin called a, “Monster Triple.” His day started with the 1600 where he broke his own indoor school record enroute to a victory in 4:21.70. He followed with an 800 performance that made him the first RV boy to win multiple events at an indoor sectional. He ran away from his competitors winning by over 2 seconds in 1:57.12. He would cap off the meet by anchoring the victorious RV 4×400 relay.
The other South Jersey Qualifiers in the 1600 were Nicholas Pschunder of Eastern (2nd, 4:22.6), Curbelo’s RV teammate Joshua DeJesus (3rd, 4:24.69) who returned to form after a nagging cross county injury, Isaiah Jean-Baptiste (4th, 4:26.06) and Cole Parsons (6th, 4:29.75) both from Cherry Hill East. Curbelo was followed by Eric Barns of Egg Harbor in the 800. His time of 1:59.80 registered 8 big points for EHT. Jean-Baptiste double back to finish 3rd in 2:00.18 while DeJesus, also returning from the 16, placed 4th in 2:00.21. Robert Dessoye of Egg Harbor was the final qualifier running 2:00.32 for 6th.
Aaron Groff of Cherry Hill East won the 3200 in 9:24.54. He will enter the Group 4 State Championship as the top seed. Other South Jersey Qualifiers include Joshua Chazin of Eastern (3rd, 9:37.43), Joe Grandizio of Kingsway (4th, 9:38.62), Justin Kelly of Cherokee (5th, 9:43.77), and Marc Meltzer of Cherry Hill East (6th, 9:45.46).
Millville Senior Thomas Zor won the 55 meter high hurdles in 7.87 over Andrew Daniluk of Toms River North. Jordan Clark of Cherry Hill East placed 3rd in 8.00. RV’s Aliyy Haqq qualified next in 8.08, while Ryan Felker of Egg Harbor placed 5th in 8.18. Chase Glasper of Rancocas Valley closed out qualification with an 8.24 second performance. In the dash South Jersey’s top qualifier, JeSean Foster of RV, finished 2nd in 6.73 seconds. The other SJ qualifiers in the 55 were 400 Champ Amir Brock of EHT (6.76), Atlantic City’s Dapree Wright (6.78), Chase Campbell of Lenape (6.79), and Clearview Freshman Aidan Burns (6.82).
Heading into the last event of the day, the 4×400 relay, Rancocas Valley had an ambitious goal: win. Egg Harbor Township had beaten them in every head to head competition this season and according to RV Coach Dzuranin, they wanted, “to make a statement… to close out the meet.” Their winning time of 3:27.65 tied the RV indoor school record and edged Egg Harbor who finished 2nd in 3:28.08. The team consisted of Sam Keleekai (51.5), Rob Hawkins (51.6), Brian Merriman (53.7) and Curbelo (50.7). The other South Jersey qualifiers were Millville (3rd, 3:32.07), Lenape (4th, 3:34.11), and Cherry Hill East (5th, 3:34.71).
In the field, Kingsway was dominant. Dragon Senior Chase Matthews won the high jump in 6’6, teammate Ryan Evernham won the pole vault in 12’6, while Sam Shinn convincingly won the shot put with a 52’9.5 effort. The other qualifiers in the high jump were Ryan Felker of Egg Harbor (6’4), Earnest Daniel of Kingsway (6’0), Cherry Hill East teammates Nevin Beasley (6’0) and Kyle Encarnacion (5’10) and Joseph Del Conte of Egg Harbor (5’10).
Trevor Kopp of Egg Harbor placed second in the pole vault with a 12 foot performance. Champion Evernham will be joined by teammates Jacob Matheny (11’6) and Daylan Rinnier (11’0) at States as they finished 3rd and 4th. The final qualifiers in the vault were Mitchell Casey of Shawnee (11’0), and David Bauder of Egg Harbor (10’6). Behind Shin in the shot were South Jersey qualifiers Darren Wan of EHT(46’11), Byron Wells of Kingsway (45’0), Mubarak Momodu of EHT (43’10.25), and Tariq Hills of RV (43’00.5).
Group 4 Girls
Lenape Runs Strong at Sectionals
The Lenape Girls were the top performing South Jersey school at the Group 4 South Jersey Sectionals and through they came up short to a strong Southern Regional squad Coach Gerald Richardson was happy with the performance: “I was very pleased with the way we competed and getting a good number of kids through to next week (State Group 4 Championship). We places where I knew we could place and finishing strong with a 4×400 sectional title made it a great day.” The victorious Indian 4×400 team consisted of Megan Quimby, Individual 400 Champion Shannon Lambert, Dana Duffield, and Shannon Storms (4:05.79). The other South Jersey qualifiers were Eastern (4:07.21), Shawnee (4:08.87), Cherokee (4:09.29), and Millville (4:12.41).
Lambert’s 400 victory was Lenape’s only individual title. Her time of 59.61 positions her as the 7th seed for Saturday’s State Championship. She was followed by Eastern’s Shakira Dancy who ran 60.48 for 2nd. The other South Jersey qualifiers were Kate Woolam of Clearview (3rd, 60.80), and Shawnee’s Molly Johnson (4th, 60.89).
Julianna Catania of Egg Harbor Township came out on top in the 1600 where she ran 5:03.08 to defeat Lenape’s Megan Quimby (5:03.91). The other SJ qualifiers in the 16 were Kara Bonner of Shawnee (4th, 5:07.94), and Kingsway teammates Destiny Stanford (5th, 5:10.75) and Rachel Vick (6th, 5:27.46).
The only other South Jersey victory came in the 55 meter dash where Bria Mack won in 7.25 seconds over Najiyah Palmer of Kingsway (7.38). Macks time positions her well for the Group meet where she will be the number one seed heading into the prelims. Ayanna Garrett of Egg Harbor finished 3rd with a time of 7.47 seconds. The other South Jersey qualifiers were Rachell Armstead of Millville (5th, 7.50) and Egg Harbor’s Ajae Alvarez (6th, 7.62).
Najeaya Singleton from Vineland earned the only South Jersey victory in the field with a 40 foot 7.75 inch throw in the shot put. She will enter the State meet as the number two seed. The next SJ thrower was Samira File who finished 3rd with a toss of 38 feet and ¼ inch. Emily Hilt of Kingsway also qualified with a 4th place finish and a throw of 36’2.
The top SJ finisher in the 800 was Lenapes Megan Quimby who ran 2:19.71 for second. That time puts her in good position for the State Meet where she will be the 4th seed. She was followed by qualifiers Destiny Stanford of Kingsway (4th, 2:21.27) and Williamstown’s Gabbi Kirsch (6th, 2:24.40). 1600 champion Julianna Catania was the top SJ finisher in the 3200 where she finished second in 11:19.08. The only other SJ qualifier was Alexis Mullarkey of Kingway (6th,11:35.53).
The 55 meter hurdles saw 4 South Jersey athletes advanced as Rachell Armstead of Millville finished 2nd in 8.48 seconds. The other qualifiers were Dyani Bigelow of Clearview (4th, 9.00), Millville’s Alexia Lee (5th, 9.08), and Taliya Rogers of Rancocas Valley (9.18).
In the vertical events South Jersey qualified 5 athletes. Sydne Nance was the top SJ placer in the high jump where her 5 foot 2 inch clearance earned second place. She tied the eventual winner had more misses. The other SJ qualifier in the high jump was Tamika Voltaire who cleared 5 feet for 6th. In the pole vault Lenape senior Shannon Storms cleared 9 feet 6 inches for 2nd. Storm’s teammate Gabby Sharp finished 4th in 8 feet 6 inches, and Kingsways Erin Gray closed out SJ qualification with an 8 foot performance.
Group 1, Central Jersey
Haddon Township comes through in Central
Senior Owen Long will have to wait another week to take on his traditional South Jersey rivals but even from afar he made a statement. His Central Jersey winning time of 9:34.75 positions him as the #1 seed in Saturday’s Group 1 State Championship 3200 meter. Kateryan Swan highlighted the Haddon Township girls action as she won the high jump on misses over Lucia Gambuzza of Jonathan Dayton HS. Both athletes cleared 5 feet. Other Haddon Township qualifiers included Joe Domanico in the 3200 (3rd, 9:48.89), Randy Ladd in the 1600 (3rd, 4:29.28), Jake Dinnerman in the 800 (5th, 2:04.85), Julian Govenette in the shot (46’10.25), Annika Merkh in the girls 800 (5th, 2:27.69), and Lauren DeAngelo in the girls vault (4th, 7’6).