| If nothing else, the New Jersey Group II
and III championships this Sunday must hold the record for the earliest
state meet in the nation this winter.
It's actually a double header this weekend with the Group I and IV relays
set for Saturday at Princeton's Jadwin Gym, the only venue in our state
capable of holding the meet. And it will be a long session both days,
if last Sunday's Group II and III relays is any indication; competiton
that day lasted an even 12 hours.
The results of that meet were pretty much as expected. Willingboro swept
the Gr. III titles , though not without a struggle on the boys' side before
overcoming a stubborn Phillipsburg team. the two Camden schools took care
of Gr. II, though Wilson had to share the girls' title with Hopewell Valley.
As usual the top individual performances were more a matter of quantity
than quality, Willingboro's girls were led by Brittnee Bynoe, anchored
a win in the shuttle hurdles and a second in the sprint medley and also
ran on the winning 1600R. Her hurdling is something new, but not surprising
since her mother and team coach Tosca Blanford Bynoe, was one of the state's
best in that event a generation ago.
Natalie Mapp was on four scoring teams for Hopewell Valley, running key
400 legs for the sprint medley and 1600R, whose victory produced the tie
with Wilson. The Howard-bound senior also was on a second-place 800R and
a third-place distance medley. Emily Sherrard anchored the two meley teams
and ran third on the 1600.
Camden got yeoman service from Carl Smith and Devon Burroughs who, between
them, contributed seven of the 16 legs on the four scoring teams. Willingboro's
big man was Delbert Johnson who spread his talents between the sprint
relays and the high jump.
The top individual effort of the day came from Anthony Abitante of
Berkeley Heights in the Gr. II meet when he cleared 15-1 1/2 in the
pole vault, second best in the nation at that time. He also helped his
team score in the 800R and the shuttle hurdles.
The top individual relay perfomances came in the girls' medleys which
produced three records, Roxbury got a Penn qualifier when it won the
Gr. III distance medley in 12:26.71. Mcgr. Donovan took down the Gr.
II record for that event in 12:37.17. And the big efforts by Mapp and
Sherrard brought Hopewell Valley a 4:14.56 mark in the Gr. II sprint
medley. Franklin ran faster in Gr. III at 4:12.23, but fell short of
a mark set in 1986 by Shabazz.
The favorites in Saturday's relay action this weekend are Christian
Brothers in Gr. IV boys and Columbia in Gr. IV girls, Metuchen and Shore
in Gr. I boys and Bishop Eustace in Gr. I girls.. Seton Hall Prep, which
could have the Gr. IV boys' title for the asking, will as usual skip
this meet and compete instead in the Stanner Games at the New York Armory.
The Hispanic Games at that site last Saturday produced several interesting
marks, most notably the 4:14.31 mile win by Bryan Scotland of St. Benedict's
which was, for an hour, the top time in the nation. It was run with
negative splits, 2:08/2:06, with the final 400 done in 59 seconds. This
should give Bryan his coveted place in the Millrose Mile on Feb. 4.
Two of the state's top 800 runners ran 3-4 in that event, Rob Novak
of Bordentown finishing in 1:56.80 and Pete Glackin of Christian Brothers
in 1:57.0. Both will be anchoring sprint medley teams on Saturday at
Jadwin, Novak in Gr. I and Glackin as part of CBA's team effort in Gr.
IV. Jamar Byrd of Vineland also had a big day with a nation-leading
23-9 1/2 in the LJ and a 6.52 for 2nd in the 55M. And Bryan McCombs
of Old Bridge took the 200M in 21.92.
On the girls' side, Janine Davis of Queen of Peace continued her hot
streak with a 54.92 win in the 400 and a 25.04 for 2nd in the 200. Janine
will be back at the Armory twice this weekend, in the Stanner Games
on Saturday and in a MAC meet on Sunday where she hopes to finally match
strides with Devon Williams, the Towson Catholic star who again was
barred from the Hispanic meet.
The weekend action also saw Dan Oquendo of Hackensack take the national
lead with his 7.62 win at the Dartmouth Relays.
Conference action began with the annual tripleheader at Drew University,
lasting from sunset to sundet Friday and Saturday. Marcel Van Eeden
of Mendham feaured action there when he set records in the 300M and
600M at the Iron Hills meet on Friday night, running 36,10 and 1:22.77.
Seton Hall had a big win in the Iron division, Morris Hills ran away
with the Hills. In the girls' Columbia began what could be an all-winning
campaign in the Iron division with Mendham taking the Hills.
Racquel Vassell of East Orange and Celeste Holder of Parsippany were
the individuals star for the girls. Vassell tripled in Iron with a 7.43
in the 55, a 42.41 in the 300 and an 8.57 in the 55H. Holder took the
Hills 55 in 7.65 after a MR 7.53 in her heat, the 300 in 42.69 and the
600 in a record 1:42.79. Jenn Ennis of Roxbury posted a pair of Iron
distance records at 5:05.77 and 11:19.14.
Van Eeden came back to Drew on Wednesday for the Cliff Back Invitational
and lowered his arena 600M record to 1:22.23, only intensifying the
call for a future meeting with Shaquan Brown of Paterson Kennedy at
the New York Armory. He also had his first try at 1K and coasted to
a 2:45.39 win.
Brown was also active that night at the Ridgewood I meet at Rothman
Center in Hackensack, winning the 200M in 23.6. He will be at Jadwin
Saturday with a 1600R team that might give South Jersey powers Winslow
Twp and Vineland some competition.
In that same meet, Trier Young of Neptune had a triple in girls' action
with hand-times of 7.3 in the 55M, 27.1 in the 200M and 8.4 in the 55H.