New Jersey Week by Ed Grant
May 21, 2005

Flurry of county meets and relays get NJ athletes ready for state meet series

The last flurry of action in New Jersey before the opening of the three-level state meet this weekend was divided between a half dozen major county meets and two invitational relay competitions, which are really one more than the state needs.

This was never more evident than in the results of the boys and girls sprint medleys at the competing meets in Morristown and Willingboro. At the East Coast (read New Jersey plus a smattering of New York teams) in Morristown, Piscataway won the boys’ event in 3:29.07, while at the similarly-named meet in Willingboro (an all-New Jersey affair), Bryan Scotland and his St. Benedict’s teammates edged Robbie Novak and Bordentown in 3:27.94. The girls’ winners were Piscataway again in Morristown at 4:06.91 and Hopewell Valley at Willingboro in 4:07.2.

The sprint medley has always been a feature of the East Coast Relays since the event is not contested at Penn. John Marshall and his Plainfield team set the meet record of 3:23.20 almost 25 years ago, at the time a national record. Putting Piscataway’s fleet 200 and 400 runners on the same track with St. Benedict’s and Bordentown would certainly have produced fastest winning times this year. The girls’ race would also have profited since neither winner had a serious challenge.

There were other unfortunate consequences of splitting the talent. Irvington’s boys turned in a fine sprint double in Morristown at 41.91 and 1:26.66, but might have gone faster with Camden in the chase. It would also have been nice to see the girls’ winners, Columbia (47.58) and Jackson (1:42.37) at Morristown and Wilson (48.43) and Winslow Twp (1:41.40) at Willingboro on the same track.

One team that was unchallenged, however, at either venue, was the all-junior Christian Brothers 6400-meter foursome which ran away with the Morristown race in 17:36.13, in the process dragging four other teams under 18:00. On the other hand, Hopewell Valley’s girls had no competition at Willingboro with its 21:42.4, but would have been a nice addition to the Morristown field, where Jackson outran Colts Neck in 21:27.00.

The top 3200-meter teams were all at Morristown with Roxbury’s girls skipping the 6400 to run away from the field in 9:08.37, while Colts Neck won a tough boys race from Phillipsburg in 7:49.86.

Camden also won the boys’ 1600 at Willingboro in 3:16.49, top time in the state this year, while Notre Dame scored at Morristown in 3:19.5. Tiquan Underwood had a 47.9 third leg in that one and also led off a 59.55 win in the SHR. Jackson also went under even figures in the girls’ race at 59.82.

Bergen County’s massive meet---four divisions for boys and girls, a sort of preview of this weekend’s sectionals, produced a slew of individual heroics. Rameik Jackson led Westwood to an easy win in the boys’ C meet, winning four events, tying two records and breaking a third. All-American football star Michael Ray Garvin of Don Bosco ran a 10.3 100M in the A meet with some friendly winds, took the 200 in 21.8 and debuted as a 400 runner with a 49.9 win. But Ridgewood took team honors with Byron Williams tripling the distances in 1:55.0, 4:21.9 and 9:28.0.

James LaGreca duplicated that trick as he led Demarest to the B title, but Anthony Pomo’s triple (plus a 2nd) for Saddle Brook failed to prevail over Hasbrouck Heights in D, though that result could be reversed in the North Jersey 1, Group I meet this weekend.

In the girls’ A meet, Michelle Smith led Teaneck to a 94 1/2-90 win over perennial champ Ridgewood, tripling the 200 and the two hurdles, where she posted records of 13.8 and 1:01.3. Indian Hills swamped the B field with Cheyenne Ogletree almost stealing the show with a 2:13.9-5:09.5 double in the 800 and 1600.

The state’s top girl runner, Janine Davis of Queen of Peace, won four events in C and sister Sophia took the 100, but Glen Rock had too many weapons and repeated as team champion. Janine took the 200 in 25.3, the 400 in a record 56.3, the 800 in a record 2:12.6 and the 1600 in 5:18.8. In D., Ariana Pomo matched her brother’s 38 points, though with a slightly different menu, and this paid off in an 88-64 1/2 win for Saddle Brook.

Irvington threw everything it had at Seton Hall---mostly sprinters and hurdlers---but the Pony Pirates repeated in a close battle, 102-94. Jamar Cotton doubled the sprints for the Camptowners, leading 1-2-3 finishes in both, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Seton Hall’s varied strength. Columbia was a runaway winner in the girls’ meet with frosh Ogechi Nwaneri doubling the sprints in 12.20 and 24.54.

Columbia’s main rival for the Gr. IV title, Jackson, rolled to an equally easy win in the Shore Conference meet though its only winners were Danielle Mickiewicz in the discus and the 1600-meter relay team. But it was second or third in seven other events, always behind girls from other groups. Christian Brothers took the boys’ title behind an 800/intermediate double by Pete Glackin but looks headed for trouble in defending its Parochial A title a week hence against Underwood and his Notre Dame teammates.

Shavon Greaves of Lakewood and Trier Young of Neptune had impressive doubles in the girls’ meet. Greaves took the 100 in a wind-aided 11.83 and 24.45, while Young captured the hurdles in 14.12 and a meet record 1:01.18, in the latter defeating defending all-group champ Sonya Sullivan of Manchester Twp.

The major running upset of the weekend came in the Burlington County meet where Willingboro repeated in both divisions. Ian Waterhouse of Rancocas Valley defeated Robbie Novak in the 800 in 1:53.58. Novak was coming off two days of illness, however, and, at Willingboro two days later ran a 1:50.7 anchor in the sprint medley, trying in vain to catch Scotland, who ran 1:51.4.

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