It’s a safe bet nobody has ever had a meet quite like Julian Rodriguez had this weekend.
The Deptford senior won both hurdles, anchored the winning 1,600-meter relay team and won the pole vault to lead the Spartans to their second consecutive sectional title.
The old hurdles-vault-relay quad!
With Rodriguez and senior sprinter John Adams combining for five individual wins – and two more on relays – Deptford won South Jersey Group 3 with 99 points, outscoring second-place Highland and Toms River South, who tied with 82 points.
Rodriguez became Deptford’s first triple individual winner at sectionals in at least 35 years, or as far back I was able to look at the moment!
He PR’d in the 110-meter highs with a 14.83. He won the intermediates in 56.02 and vaulted 13-6.
Rodriguez goes into Group 3 states this weekend at Pennsauken as the No. 2 seed in the highs, No. 3 in the intermediates and No. 2 in the vault (although he does have the best PR in the field).
Rodriguez is as versatile as any athlete in the state, and don’t be surprised if he tries the decathlon in college.
He’ll be attending Georgian Court in Lakewood, and the Lions’ coach is Mike Murawski, who is a native of Cinnaminson, was a three-time state high jump champ for Holy Cross and set a Duquesne school decathlon record that still stands of 6,140 at the 2007 Atlantic 10 Championships in Charlotte, N.C.
As for Adams, all he did was run huge 100 and 200 PRs, winning the 100 in 10.89 and the 200 in 21.94. He also PR’d with a 52.01 in the 400. Adams came into the meet with PRs of 11.49, 22.77 and 53.59.
Rodriguez and Adams scored more than half of Deptford’s points, but they certainly got lots of help.
Sophomore Lathan Brown, competing in his first sectional meet, picked up four medals. He PR’d in the 400 with a 49.60 for second, PR’d in the intermediates in 58.60 for third and ran 2:01.99 for fifth in the 800. He’s run as fast as 1:59.45 in the 800.
Brown and Pennsauken’s Bryce Tucker are the only sophomores in New Jersey who’ve run sub-50 for 400 meters and sub-2:00 for 800 meters.
Senior Devon Roane, Adams, junior Miles Williams and senior Steven Rios ran 43.44 to win the 4-by-1, and junior Param Grewal, Rios, Brown and Rodriguez ran 3:25.78 to win the 4-by-4
Senior Donovan Collazo and junior Gursharan Singh joined Rodriguez as pole vault medalists, Collazo placing third at 13-0 and Singh fourth with a 12-0 clearance, senior Amy’r Smith placed fifth in the triple jump at 40-9 and Rios took sixth in the 400 in 51.71.
The sectional title was Deptford’s fifth but only the Spartans’ second in the last 45 years. Deptford won South Jersey Group 3 in 1970 and 1971 and Group 4 in 1973 and then went 45 years in a row without a title before winning Group 3 in 2019. There was no meet last year, so Deptford has won back-to-back titles with a year in between.