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New Jersey Meet of Champions
Frank Jost Field, South Plainfied, NJ
June 3, 2009
Meet Records    Entry/Performance List 




Some of the biggest stars to grace New Jersey track ovals over the last few years will take one final shot at Meet of Champions glory, while Nick Vena of  Morristown is sure to send spectators into a frenzy each time he unloads  his 12-pound wrecking ball in the shot put circle when the state’s best gather on Wednesday in South Plainfield for the 41st NJSIAA/Star-Ledger Boys Meet of Champions.

It’s hard to believe that Clayton Parros of Seton Hall Prep, Robby Andrews of Manalapan, Josh Evans of Irvington, and Liam Tansey of Morris Hills have combined for zero outdoor M of C titles.

But those seniors are in position to change that.

The meet is scheduled to begin on Wednesday at Frank Jost Field with field events at 3:30 p.m. and running events at 4:30. The rain date is Thursday at the same times.

Here’s a look at each event, which are listed in the same order as the schedule with track events first followed by the field events.


400 hurdles: The No. 2 and No. 3 hurdlers in the U.S. this season will clash when Tim Carey of Washington and Chris Whyte of Rahway hookup in a what should be a great battle over the 10 barriers.

Whyte looked like the clear favorite in this event after he ran 52.40, No. 3 in the U.S. this spring, to finish first at the Union County Championships. But Carey came up with the No. 2 time in the U.S. this season of 52.10 when he won the Group 4 title last Friday to earn the top seed.

Only 13 boys have ever dropped below 52.0 in state history and there has never been a M of C race where two have dipped her 52, but Whyte and Carey are certainly capable of doing that.

Among those looking to spring the upset are Group 4 runner-up Nicoy Hines of Passaic Tech (53.03, No. 11 in the U.S. ) and Non-Public A winner T.J. Lynch of Msgr. Donovan (54.02).

Prediction: Carey

1,600: Senior Liam Tansey of Morris Hills has maintained all season that one of his biggest goals is to break 4:10 before he heads off to Columbia.

The comfort with which he ran when he swept the 1,600 (4:14.66) and the 800 in a Group 3 record 1:52.06, and the closing speed he’s shown (a 58.5 final 400 in the Group 3 1,600), suggest that Tansey is ready to make a run at the meet record of 4:09.03 set last year by Brett Johnson of Ocean City.

Tansey, fifth in this race last June, won the indoor M of C 1,600 in 4:11.95.

Johnson, a senior, will not be running after he was diagnosed with stress reactions in both ankles prior to the group meet.

So who can beat Tansey? It really doesn’t appear that anyone can, but that doesn’t mean the field isn’t stacked.

With a remarkable number of sub 4:20 runners in N.J. this season (a state record 36 for one season), there’s plenty of talent that will toe the line. But the difference is that no one can close with Tansey, who will either hang and bang or just blast the last 600 or so in attempt to go for his desired time.

The second fastest runner in the race is Non Public A champion Pat Schellberg of Delbarton (4:15.52 for the mile). As a rival of Tansey in Morris County, Schellberg has been a victim of Tansey’s lethal kick several times.

Schellberg is one of many talented underclassmen that are expected to challenge Tansey. The rest are junior Colin Baker of Haddonfield, first in Group 2 in 4:15.07, sophomore Joe Rosa of  West Windsor North (4:15.68), junior D.J. Thornton of Union Catholic (4:16.61), sophomore Ben Potts of Haddonfield (4:17.58), and Verona junior Dave Oster, the Group 1 winner in 4:17.99.

But the biggest threat to Tansey may come from senior Xavier Fraction of Washington, who won the Group 4 1,600 (4:16.72) and was fourth in 4:15.66 in this race last year. But Fraction, the Group 4 800 runner-up (1:53.77), may opt for the 800, which is what he did indoors when he won the M of C title in February.

Another runner who can certainly contend for a top spot is senior Tyler Corkedale of West Windsor North, who has run 4:15.71. 

Prediction: Tansey breaks 4:09 and gets the record 

110 hurdlesJosh Evans vs. Pierre Darisme, Round 3.

Evans, a senior at Irvington, has won the first two rounds, but by the slimmest of margins.

At the North Jersey, Section 2 Group 3 meet, Evans was first (14.36) and Darisme, a senior at Rahway, was second (14.37). In the rematch, Evans made up for a poor start and edged Darisme, 14.05 to 14.07, at the state Group 3 meet. Those are the top two times in the state this season.

Evans, the indoor M of C 55 hurdle winner and the runner-up in this event last year, is the only hurdler in the race to break 14 (he ran 13.91 last year). Also watch out for Group 2 winner Kurt Jones of Manchester (14.21), and Kyle Robinson of Matawan (14.08),  

100: James Brown of Glassboro is the class of this field. The senior, who won the 55 dash at the indoor M of C, has the state’s fastest time down the straightaway (N.J. all-time #6 of 10.47) and was the fastest out of all the groups last week when he burned a 10.66 to grab the Group 1 gold.

But the 100 can be the trickiest race to predict because of how costly a bad start can be and how rewarding a good one can be.

If Brown doesn’t get out the blocks clean, Group 2 winner Miles Shuler Foster of Long Branch (10.77), Group 3 champion Michael Peavy (10.83) or Group 4 winner Tejay Johnson (10.74) are capable of crossing first.  Peavy has run 10.59 this season and is the top returning finisher, placing fifth a year ago.

Prediction: Brown in around 10.50

3,200:  A couple weeks ago this looked like it could be one of the marquee races of the meet, but now there’s a little bit of uncertainty about its potential because of the injury status of  defending champion Tyler Udland of  Millburn and absence of  2008 runner-up Doug Smith of Gill St. Bernard's. Udland has been battling a bad back for the last few weeks and isn't expected to run..

Despite the injury, Udland still managed a meet record 9:07.29 at the Essex County Championships on May 16. But the back gave him a lot of problems at the Group 3 meet when he struggled to finish seventh in 9:31.91 to earn a wild card into this race. .

Meanwhile, Smith, a senior, said he hasn't  been feeling well the last three weeks and his leg has been bothering him, so he's decided not to run. Smith finished his career without a M of C title as he came agonzingly close on several occasions. He was second in the 3,200 at the M of C both indoors and outdoors in 2008 , second in the indoor 3,200 in 2007, and third at the cross-country M of C in 2006. .

Keen an eye on senior Sean Pohorence of Morris Hills, the indoor M of C 3,200 winner this past February. Pohorence was feeling under the weather in the Group 3 race last week, placing sixth.
If  Pohorence returns to top form, this could be one heck of  a race. But if not, sophomore star Jim Rosa of West Windsor North will probably be racing the clock.

Rosa ran a blazing 4:23.3 final 1,600 last week when he won the Group 3 title in a meet record 9:02.38. That was just off the state sophomore record of 8:59.6 set in 1987 by the great Jason DiJoseph of Paul VI.

Rosa, who set the state freshman record when he finished sixth last year in this race in 9:11.56, wants to run sub nine and doesn’t need to be pushed to do it.

Like the 1,600, the 3,200 is stacked with talented underclassmen. Among them are junior David Forward of Shawnee, third last year in 9:10.28, sophomore Mike Mazzaccaro of CBA, the Non-Public A winner in 9:14.74, junior Jon Vitez of  Haddonfield (9:14.30), sophomore Jeremy Elkaim of Livingston, the Group 4 champion in 9:16.58, and junior D.J. Thornton of Union Catholic (9:20.03). And don’t forget about seniors Mike Franklin of Mendham (9:13.18) and Leighton Spencer of Don Bosco Prep (9:14.90).

Prediction: Rosa in the 8:58 range

400: This could be the most dramatic race of the night as one of the most eagerly awaited rematches of the season finally takes place when defending champion Isaiah Gill of Plainfield and Clayton Parros of Seton Hall Prep square off.

Gill won last year’s showdown, 47.16 to 47.36. But despite that finish, Parros has the edge this time around as he seeks his first outdoor M of C title. He won the indoor M of C 400 in 2008.

Parros has run an unpushed 46.63 this season, No. 6 in state history and No. 6 in the nation this season. He added a 46.99 to win the Non-Public A title last week and split 46.8 split in the 4x00 at the Non-Public A meet.

Meanwhile, Gill ran his best time of the season when he won the Group 4 title in 47.49, and came back later that day to split 46.7 in the 4x400.

With these two thoroughbreds trading strides, the meet record of 46.55 set in 2002 by Ray Williams of Scotch Plains-Fanwood could be history, and the state record of 46.02 (Dennis Mitchell of Edgewood in 1984), isn’t out of reach.

Prediction: Parros rips meet record and scares state record

800: Robby Andrews of Manalapan, the national indoor record holder in the 800 and 1,000, would be the favorite no matter who he lines up with in the two-lapper. But the fact that Liam Tansey of Morris Hills (the state leader in the 800 at 1:52.06) will run the 1,600, takes a little juice out of this one. Tansey is the only runner around these parts that can hang with Andrews. A race between the two of them could have produced the first pair of sub 1:50 runners in the same race in NJ history. 

But don't be shocked if you see Tansey come back after the 1,600 to help teammate Lucas Clyne set a fast early pace in the 800.

As for Andrews, second in the 1,600 last spring, he wants to run fast and has proven he can push the pace when he has to, just check out how he ran the 1,000 when he broke the indoor national record.

If someone like Tansey, Clyne (the Group 3 runner-up in 1:52.54), Group 2 winner Mamadou Niang of  West Essex, or Xavier Fraction of Washington (he has to pick between this race and the 1,600), takes out the first lap in around 53, then the meet record of 1:49.5 (John Marshall of Plainfield in 1981) could go down because of  the way Andrews can lay down the wheels over the final quarter. Remember, Andrews did split 47.8 in the 4x400 at the Central Jersey, Group 4 meet a couple weeks ago.

Only eight runners in state history have broken 1:50 and Andrews should become the ninth. It’ll just be a matter of  whether he can run past Marshall or not.

While Andrews, the indoor M of  C 800 winner  in 2008, is the top runner in the race, Clyne, Fraction (if he runs it), Niang, sophomore Kevin Byrne of Red Bank Catholic (the Non Public A winner who has gone 1:55.22),  Hayden Duffy of Emerson, the Group 1 winner (1:54.85), and Corey Caidenhead of Bergenfield (1:53.54), and Hamer Farag of Morristown (1:54.50), should push each other to some very fast times. 

Prediction: Andrews erases Marshall's mark with an epic perfomance.

200: The man to beat is junior Tejay Johnson of Egg Harbor, who was second last year and has the state’s top time of 21.30. Clayton Parros of Seton Hall Prep, the Non-Public A winner, has gone 21.45, and Isaiah Gill of Plainfield, second to Johnson in Group 4, has the state’s No. 2 time of 21.36.

Parros, who will have already run the 400, said he will come back for the 200 and run the 4x400 as well. Gill will most likely skip the 200 but will   return for the 4x400.
Prediction: Johnson

4x400: Rahway, with the team of seniors Russell Jenkins, Ricky Draughn, Chris Brown and Chris Whyte, has been the top team in the state since the indoor season when it won the M of C title, and it comes into this race with the state’s No.1 time of 3:16.19. But there are a lot of teams right on Rahway’s heels, led by Group 4 winner Egg Harbor (3:17.79), Freehold Township (3:18.42), Plainfield (3:18.48), Timber Creek (3:19.36), and Columbia (3:19.54).

Prediction :Rahway gets under 3:16


Shot put: There has never been a question about who will win this event. But lately there’s been a lot of questions about whether or not the pit at Frank Jost Field can continue to contain the fury that is Nick Vena.

Vena, a sophomore at Morristown, is the state record holder with the 72-2 ½  he threw to win the Penn Relays. That’s the No. 2 in the nation this season and places Vena No. 7 on the all-time U.S. list. Only Stephen Saenz of Rio Grande City, Texas  (72-6 1/2), has thrown further this season than Vena.  

At last week’s Group 3 meet, where he threw a meet record 71-3 ½ and went beyond 69 on all six throws, meet officials used caution tape to keep fans away from the area outside the pit where Vena’s 12-pound ball bounced at the North Jersey, Section 2 meet, sending spectators scrambling for safety.

Vena, the defending champion, is already the state’s greatest shot putter. He’s currently ranked No. 2 in the nation this spring, and has been over 70 feet in five meets this season. He should have no trouble breaking the meet record of 68-11 set in 1997 by Kevin DiGiorgio of Bayonne.

Vena’s personal best of 72-2 ½ is just 2 feet, 9 ½ inches away from the back of  the throwing area. Twelve years ago, DiGiorgio hit one of the railroad ties used to border the throwing pit at the state Group 4 meet, forcing the South Plainfield grounds crew to extend the throwing area prior to the M of C.

South Plainfield site manager Bill Milone said he’s planning to have the throwing area renovated again before next season to accommodate Vena’s epic throws. 

With Vena’s victory the biggest lock of the meet (he hasn’t lost in the shot  since placing second at Nike Nationals last June), the battle for the silver medal should be a very good duel between Non-Public A winner Chris DiLorenzo of Seton Hall Prep, and Group 4 shot put king Jorge Merino of Old Bridge.

DiLorenzo, who missed the whole indoor season and the beginning of this season after undergoing surgery on his throwing (left) shoulder, was third last year with a 60-8. He went 58-1 ½ to win the Non-Public A title for the third straight year.

Merino won Group 4 with a 57-3 ½, but has a season best of  59-1 ¼, No. 2 in the state behind Vena.

Prediction: Vena breaks his own state record and takes over the national lead

Pole vault: Junior Justin Amezquita of Gov. Livingston has been the top guy all season, hitting a state season best 15-2 at the East Coast Relays, but a quad injury over the last two weeks has hampered his vaulting. He’s been getting treatment on it and if he’s close to 100 percent he’ll be hard to knock off.

There are three other 15 footers in the competition, including defending champion and Group 4 winner Chris Wyckoff of Toms River East. Wyckoff made 15-0 to win the M of C last year.

The other two 15 footers are Jonathan Bartlett of Matawan, who made 15-0 to win Group 2, and Group 1 champion Gregg Hoffman of Park Ridge.

Prediction: Amezquita returns to form and wins it at 15-0

Javelin: Kevin Steimle, a senior at Mahwah, has rewritten the record books this season.

The Lehigh-bound thrower shattered the state record with the new javelin (it’s been used in N.J. since 2003), when he unleashed a rocket launch of 209-5 to win the Group 2 title. He also went over 200 at the Bergen County Meet of Champions on May 26.

The meet record of  204-3 was set in 2005 by Marion Easley of Somerville, something that certainly in Steimle’s sights.

If Steimle has an off day, like he did at the North Jersey, Section 1 meet when he threw 178-0 to place second,  there are a few guys that could seize the opportunity.

The only other thrower in the state to top 190 is Kevin Zuidema of Midland Park, the Group 1 winner who has a best of 192-6. But Andrew Pierce of Cumberland (189-8), Group 3 winner Troy Eastman of Rahway (184-11), Non-Public A winner Jonathan Gancas of Delbarton, could all surprise.
Prediction: Steimle tops 210

Triple jump: Trenton senior Rolston Braithwaite, third last year, got all the way out to 49-1 ¼ , No. 4 in state history, to win his second straight Group 4 title. He’s now zeroing in on the meet mark of 49-4 ¾ set in 2005 by Tiquan Underwood of Notre Dame, who starred at wide receiver for Rutgers and was drafted last month by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The next best triple jumper is Glassboro’s Ryan Chance, who broke the Group 1 record with a 48-3 1/4. Rob Whitfield of Toms River South (47-10) is another one to watch.

Prediction: Braithwaite hits 49 to win

Discus: Nick Vena of Morristown could become just the eighth boy to win the shot put and discus at the same M of C, but he wasn’t 100 percent sure if he’ll compete in the discus.

Vena threw a career best 180-11 on his final attempt to win the state Group 3 title last week, defeating the state leader and Penn Relays champion Matthew Huckabee of Timber Creek. Huckabee, second in Group 3 with a 161-10, has gone 182-11 this season.

Others with a shot at winning include Group 4 winner Jorge Merino of Old Bridge, and Southern’s Anthony Stroffolino, who has sent the saucer a N.J. #3 for the season of 174-7. Sam Mattis of East Brunswick, second in Group 4 (166-1), broke the state freshman record last month with a 169-6, and should be in the hunt as well.

Prediction: Vena goes over 180 again to win 

Long jump: This might be the most wide open event of the meet. There are five jumpers in the field that have gone beyond 23 feet. The state’s top jumper, junior Syteek Farrington of Camden, fifth last year, has gone a N.J. season best 23-11 ½ this season, But he got knocked off last week at the Group 2 meet by Ackeme Brown of  Englewood, who has gone 23-0 this spring. Although they had off days last week at the state meet, Rob Whitfield of Toms River South (23-4 ½ this season) and Rolston Braithwaite of Trenton (23-3) can pop a big one at any moment.

Prediction:  Farrington is the only one over 23

High jump: This event features three leapers that have gone 6-10 ¼ or better, including two seven footers.

Montez Blair, a senior at Timber Creek, was second last year on misses at 6-10. He made 7-0 early in his junior season and comes into this meet having split his last two meetings with the state’s No. 1 jumper, senior Drew Kanz of Seneca. Kanz has made 7-1 this season, No. 6 in state history.

But while Kanz and Blair have gotten most of the attention, senior Glenn Scheideler of Randolph has put together back-to-back strong meets. He cleared a Morris County record 6-10 1/4 at the North Jersey, Section 1 meet, and then won the state Group 4 title by making 6-10. But don't forget about indoor M of C winner Alex Smith of Rumson, who has gone 6-8 and has the potential to go higher.

Also keep an eye on rising sophomore star Mark Jones of Summit, who won the state Group 2 title at 6-9 and narrowly missed at 7-0 ¼. Jones is the son of Bob Jones, the state’s first schoolboy to make 7-0 when he did that in 1977 as a senior at East Brunswick.

Prediction: Scheideler wins on misses