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New Jersey Report - by Ed Grant
Jan 6, 2005

Princeton hosts Group 2 and 3 Relays on new track

New Jersey schools head into the first state-wide competition of the indoor season this weekend with the Group III and Group II relays championships scheduled for Sunday at Princeton's Jadwin Gym.

There will be a new look to the meet this year in several ways. To begin with, the Princeton track was redone last summer with a bright orange-red surface replacing the former rather dingy-colored track and a new eight-lane straightaway down the center of the arena.

The meet has also added the pole vault relay to the list of events.

This weekend's action will be followed next week by the Group IV and Group I relays on Jan. 15 and the Group III and Group II championships on Jan. 16, undoubtedly the earliest such meet in the nation. It will be another five weeks before the Group IV and Group I meets are held on Feb. 20 and another week beyond that for the all-group meet on Feb. 27.

The pole vault has also been added to that meet and, in an even more radical change the 200-meter dash has replaced the 1600-meter relay.

Selecting team favorites is always a tricky busines in these relay meets, but one overwhelming choice is Camden Wilson which has moved down to Gr. II this winter. In early action, Derrick Adamson's charges have posted times that could give them a sweep of the 800, 1600, sprint medley and shuttle hurdle relays as well as a high place in the 3200.

With Camden High also going down to Gr. II, the Group III title appears to be a two-team battle between Franklin's sprinters, led by Symone O'Connor and Toneisha Friday, and Highland's distance runners, led by Arianna McKinney.

Highland will also be a factor in the Gr. III boys' meet against perennial power Willingboro. Camden will be favored in the Gr. II competition, led by veterans Devon Burroughs and Carl Smith, who led their team at the Millrose Trials this past Wednesday.

The qualifiers that day were Camden at 3:26.4 and Seton hall at 3:26.6 in the boys meet, even though both teams were missing one key operative. Franklin, at 3:58.4, and Wilson, at 3:59.7, were the girls' qualifiers for a race that is still in the doubtful category, though it seems the ancient classic will be held on Feb. 4.

There was a minimum of action this past week, even less than expected when the threat of a snowstorm on Wednesday caused the Morris County Relays to be postponed. (*Exactly one inch eventually fell).

The highlight of the week was a national indoor 600M junior record of 1:20.3 by Shaquan Brown of Paterson kennedy in the Passaic County meet on Wednesday at the New York Armory ceneter. Brown, who ran 47.67 outdoors last spring, won the race by 15 yards from Hayrol Cruz of Passaic and also won the 300M in 36.7 and anchored a 1600-meter relay team to a 3:29.9 victory which gave his school a 100-98 upset win over Clifton.

Another Kennedy runner, freshman Kristen Crawford, took the girls' 600 in 1:40.3 and anchored a 4:16.5 win in the 1600-meter relay. But the Kennedy girls could not match the boys in the team battle, losing to Clifton, 91-70.

The other Armory action for New Jersey was the New Jersey Catholic Track Conference Relays last Sunday, a non-scoring meet which was featured a hot boys' sprint medley race, won by St. Benedict's in a meet record of 3:34.7. The previous mark, which lasted 29 years, had been set by a Paramus Catholic team anchored by Kevin Byrne, a two-time winner (and still record-holder) of the Millrose high school mile.

Bryan Scotland, the nationbal leader in the 800, anchored the St. Benedict's win in 1:56.5, but was upstaged by junior Anthony LoMastro of Pope John who had a breakthrough night with a 1:54.5 anchor in the sprint medley and a 4:24.5 in the earlier distance medley
Seton Hall Prep won four events, all in creditable time: the 800 in 1:32.9, the 1600 in 3:27.5, the 3200 in 8:10.7 and the distance medley in 10:28.7.

Heading the girls' action was Leah brogan of Msgr. .Donovan, who anchored a record 12:39.8 in the distance medley and a 4:27.5 win in the sprint medley.

The Polar Bear Invitational at Drew Universityy on Monday saw Doug Cloninger of Morristown set a meet record of 6.65 in the 55M while teammate Khyle Osborne posted a record 53-3 3/4 in the shot put. On the girls' side, Kim Standridge of Randolph had a record 1:40.67 in a close race with teammate Pari Hashemi in the 600 and Lauren Gregory of Morris Knolls posted a new mark of 3:00.81 in the 1000-meters, taking the state lead in the event.

New Jersey will have a strong entry in Saturday's Hispanic Games at the NY Armory, led by Scotland in the mile and Janine Davis of Queen of Peace in the girls' 600M


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