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New Jersey Report - by Ed Grant
March 13, 2005

Six national championships by New Jersey athletes

New Jersey athletes capped a pretty fair indoor campaign with six victories, five of them in relays, at the two national scholastic meets last weekend.

The majority of the Garden State athletes chose to stay closer to home, going to the New York Armory Center, where they won three relays in the Friday program and added the lone individual gold on Sunday when Bryant McCombs of Old Bridge captured the 400-meter title in 47.37, second-best indoor mark in state history.

Bryan Scotland of St. Benedict's, who had led the nation all winter in the 800M, tried a double and came off with only one winning effort, his anchor leg in a 3:29.31 sprint medley on Friday. On Sunday, he finished a disappointing fourth in the 800 in 1:54.31

Colts Neck again defeated neighbor Christian Brothers in the distance medley in 10:16.42, only a second off its recent nation-leading mark on the same track and the Easterns. This was a very different race, however. CBA switched its long legs, putting Chris Horel on the opening 1200 and state 1600-meter champ Greg Leach on the anchor 1600 where he was touched off even with Colts Neck soph Craig Forys instead of having a 30-yard lead.

The two chose to run a tactical race with Forys clocking 59.0 for his final 400. His total time, about 4:20, was some six seconds slower than he had run in coming from behind at the Easterns. CBA ran 10:17.99 and Cranford insured its Penn entry with 10:24.47 in fourth.

The third win came in the shuttle hurdles where Irvington scored its first track victory in the meet in 30.82. The Camptowners also had marks of 1:30.91 in the 800R and 3:24.87 in the 1600R.

Christian Brothers could have had a walkover in Saturday's 6400-meter relay, but its all-junior team was busy taking the SATs that morning. They came back on Sunday to run fourth in the 3200R in 7:51.74, but again were outrun by Colts Neck which came within a few tenths of a second of Roiselle Catholic's 36-year-old state record , finishing second to Shaker of New York in 7:47.69. Ridgewood's Eastern champions finished fiifth in 7:52.16, all three marks being among the six best in New Jersey history.

The two wins in the Nike Indoor Nationals at Landover, Md., came in back-to-back events on Saturday. Ocean City, which came toi the meet hoping to qualify for Penn in the 3200R and DMR, went home with a set of gold medals when Brittany Sedberry came from some 100 yards back on the anchor led for a 12:12.22 victory, exactly matching the mark Roxbury had posted at the Easterns. The Gaels were fifth in this one at 12:25.28.

Sedberry, who also finished fourth in Sunday's two-mile run in 10:40.84, had low-keyed the indoor season, not entering the state championships. Renee Tomlin, who ran the 800-meter leg, had finished the swimming season only a week earlier, placing in two sprint events at the all-group championships.

In the sprint medley which followed, Emily Sherrard brought Hopewell Valley home first in 4:03.85.

Janine Davis of Queen of Peace, whose winter season had included one national record and several near-misses, lost a close 800-meter race in New York to Latavia Thomas of Philadelphia's West Catholic. It was the fastest 800 of the season with Thomas clocked at 2:07.10 and Davis at 2:07.60, only. 1.6 seconds off the long-standing state record held by Joetta Clark.

Neptune claimed silver in both hurdles at New York, Trier Young of Neptune was second in the girls' event in 8.73 and Cory Nelms second in the boys at 8.16. Both are coached by Neptune alumna and former internationalist Dawn Bowles.

New Jersey's top shot-putters, both second generation stars in the event, placed well at separate venues. On Saturday, Steve DiGiorgio of Bayonne was second in New York at 59-9. The next day in Landover, Brian Cortina of Hun exploded with a 62-2 1/4, four feet past his previous best, to place third. .

Another individual breakthrough came in the boys' high jump at New York where Nick Syzonenko of Randolph cleared 6-9 3/4, almost four inches above his previous best. But he lost the event on fewer misses. He was also not the top New Jersey jumper on the weekend. Juan Cave, a Voorhees resident who attends St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia, was second in the Landover meet at 6-10.

State 800-meter champ Rob Novak brought the Bordentown sprint medley from behind for a second-place finish at Landover in 3:34.90 on Saturday and finished seventh in the 800 on Sunday in 1:56.55.

Seton Hall's Eastern 1600-meter relay champs broke up to run individually in New York, but Camden was a close second at Landover in 3:23.02. (The official results for that race show Kevin Payton as the Camden anchor. Unfortunately, he was playing in a state basketball championship game last weekend; had he been present, it would have been a different story off his 47.0 anchor at the outdoor nationals last spring.)



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