| Now free from any legal entanglements over his right to compete, Bryan Scotland of St. Benedict's highlighted the last week of action for New Jersey in 2004 with a smashing 1:53.32 victory in the 800M run at the Marine Corps Holiday Classic Dec. 28 at the New York Armory.
Setting the pace from the gun, Scotland outran Lionel Williams, the talented sophomore from St. Peter's, Staten island, by a dozen yards as he broke the meet record of 1:55.10 set a year ago by Andre Silva of Middle Country, New York. Later in the day, he anchored the Gray Bees to a second place finish in the sprint medley relay at 3:38.53.
The next day, Bryan was in action again at the Seton Hall Invitational in South Orange, coasting to a 9:01.18 win in the 3K and anchoring the 1600R to a fourth-place finish in 50.7.
The Holiday Classic also produced a 10:28.63 DMR for Christian Brothers, as well as an 8:06.15 3200R, both good for third place behind Northport, N.Y., which was led to the double win by Kevin Tschirhart, who anchored the DMR in 4:13.8. Seton Hall ran fourth in both races in 8:06.71 and 10:34.20.
New Jersey wins were few at the meet, Jackson taking the girls' shuttle hurdles relay in 36.66 and Hunterdon Central winning the PVR at 18-0. Winslow Twp took the boys' HJR at 12-10 with a 6-6 effort from Miles Edwards.
The Seton Hall meet saw football star Jamar Cotton of Irvington score a sprint double the first day at 6.61 and and 22.75 with James Kavaliauskas of Highland taking the featured mile in 4:28.18. In the second day relay-dominated program, Simon Gratz of Philadelphia triple the 800, 3200 and sprint medley relays in 1:32.76, 8:25.16 and 3:41.51.
Avionne Sloan of Camden had a double in the girls' program, winning the 200 in 26.37 and the 400 in 1:00.74, while Michelle Smith of Teaneck edged Deandra Doyley of visiting Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in the 55H in 8.49. Fort Lauderdale's Charlene Fuller won the 55 in 7.31 and also placed second in the 200.
Arianna McKinney of Highland had three gold emdal efforts in the two-day meet, winning the mile on Tuesday in 5:17.01 and anchoring 3200 and distance medley teams the next day.
But the big winner on Wednesday was West Catholic of Philadelphia, one of the teams isolated at the Bishop Loughlin meet, which took the 800 in 1:43.87, the 1600 in 3:58.94, the sprint medley in 4:13.92 and the shuttle hurdles in 32.84, led by all-American Nicole Leach.
Drew University action
The heavy holiday action at Drew University in Madison had several outstandinmg marks in the DeSchriver Invitational on Dec. 27 and the Passarelli Invitational on Dec. 29. In the DeSchriver meet, South-African born Marcel Van Eeden of Mendham broke the arena record for the 600M with an easy 1:23.06 victory, taking off a mark set last year by Mike Carmody of Berkeley Heights, who won the Nike Invitational 800 last winter and was second in the Nationals at Raleigh in the spring, running under 1:50.
In the same meet, Anthony Abitante of Berkeley Heights set an arena mark in the pole vault at 14-6, Jenn Ennis of Roxbury won the girls' 1600 in 5:09.56 and there were double wins from Celeste Holder of Parsippany in the 55 and 300 and Iman Johnson of Columbia in the 55H and SP.
Abitante went on to clear 15-0 at the Passarelli meet (as well as run on a winning 1600-meter relay team. Ennis came back with an 11:02.05 meet record in the girls' 3200 and Lauren Gregory of Morris Knolls posted a meet record of 3:04.76 in the 1K.
The first of the series of field event meets at Garfield on Dec. 22 saw the return to action after a one-year "sabbatical" by Steve DiGiorgio of Bayonne, younger brother of national weight champs Kevin (shot put) and Glenn (discus). His opening mark of 57-plus immediately made him favorite to join his brothers as a state champion. Jesse Malacrida of Paramus posted a 5-6 in the girls' HJ.