It’s easy to point to Bishop Eustace’s distance depth as the main reason the Crusaders won their fifth consecutive state Parochial B title Saturday.
Led by double winner Connor Melko, Eustace scored 51 of its 68 points in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 on the way to a 68-65 win over Mater Dei of Middletown.
But don’t overlook the shot put.
It’s there that senior Joshua Mo uncorked a two-foot PR of 45-10 1/4 to win the shot and score 10 huge points to supplant what the distance team accomplished.
Considering Eustace won by three points — its thinnest margin of its five straight state indoor titles — that shot put was critical.
Mo’s previous PR was 43-10 1/2 at the a meet at Ocean Breeze earlier this month, and this is someone whose PR last winter was 37 feet and change and has an outdoor PR of 41-6 1/2.
So for him to bomb a 45-10 1/4 was huge for the Crusaders. That’s exactly the kind of improvement you look for from your senior leaders in the biggest meet of the year.
As for Melko, he ran 4:28.47 to win the 1,600 and 10:30.49 to win the 3,200, senior Sean May ran 2:03.39 to win the 800, and senior Andrew Massaro was third in the 1,600 in 4:45.73 and fourth in the 800 in 2:07.51. Seniors Manik Dhawan and Grant Melko also scored for the Eustace distance team, Dhawan taking fifth in the 1,600 in 4:50.21 and Grant Melko sixth in the 3,200 in 11:35.94.
Senior Nasir Menoken-El got a big point with a sixth place in the high hurdles after barely making the final with the eighth-fastest time in the trials. And Eustace’s 4-by-4 took sixth in 3:46.53.
Only Willingboro (14) and Haddonfield (11) have won more state titles indoors among South Jersey boys programs. Bridgeton also has six. Overall, Eustace ranks tied for 10th in the state with its six state titles.
Eustace won its first title in 2010, shared with St. Rose of Belmar, before starting its current streak of five straight championships in 2015.
2019: Eustace 68, Mater Dei 65
2018: Eustace 69, Mater Dei 59 1/2
2017: Eustace 66, Hudson Catholic 48
2016: Eustace 96, Hudson Catholic 67
2015: Eustace 62, Camden Catholic 46