New Jersey Week by Ed Grant
May 7th, 2005

Individual action took precedence over the baton events for New Jersey athletes at the 111th Penn Relays last weekend in Franklin Field with four victories, including a pair of upsets from Julianne Toto of Middletown South in the girls' pole vault and Justin Gaymon of Phillipsburg in the boys intermediate hurdles.

In the adverse weather conditions on Thursday, Toto went over the PV bar at 12-4, defeating the defending champion and hot favorite, Lindsay Regan of Easton Area, Pa., who finished third at 12-0. Toto won on fewer misses from another Pennsylvanian, Caitlin Hewett of Greater Latrobe.

Gaymon, who had run the 800-meter leg in Phillipsburg's second-place finish the day before in the distance medley, opened Saturday morning's rainy program with a flawless race in the IH, hitting every hurdle on the mark and winning by a full second from Josef Robertson of Calabar in 52.44. It was the third time a Jerseyan had won the event since it was added to the Penn program in 1991; the last Garden State winner, Dwight Ruff of Camden, had finished third the day before for Florida in the college race.

The other two Jersey winners were no surprise. Bobby Papazian of Gill-St. Bernard's, the state cross-country champion, ran a well-pace race as he ran away with the 3000-meter title in 8:29.08. With no great finishing speed, Colorado-bound Bobby took the lead with 600 meters to go and gradually drew away from the field to win by 25 yards from Sam Luff of Emmaus, Pa.

In rather indifferent conditions---slippery takeoff, little wind---Yemi Ayeni of South Brunswick scaled the discus 190-8 on Saturday morning to win that event by a full 13 feet from Hickel Woolery of Mannings of Jamaica, indicating that he could well pass the 200-foot mark before the season ends.

Phillipsburg's second in the distance medley was the highest finish for any New Jersey school in the championship relay events. It came after a hot duel between Justin Davis of the Stateliners and sophomore Craig Forys of Colts Neck. Davis ran 4:13.9 in a 10:12.96 effort, while Forys his 4:13.3 as Colts Neck ran 10:13.34.
Bryan Lein out Phillipsburg in the race with a 3:07.1 opening 1200.

The state's other contenders in that one, Christian Brothers and Ridgewood, could well have finished in the top six but for matters beyond their control. Chris Horel, leading off for CBA, fell on the second turn of the first lap, losing at least five seconds in the mishap and the team finished sixth in 10:21.07. Ridgewood was running with the leaders after three legs but anchor Michael Cator was under the weather---the team almost scratched---and was 15 second or more off his potential at 4:37.1 in a 10:32.91 race. Both of these clubs, however, will have three of their four runners back next year.

Seton Hall achieved its goal of making both the 3200-meter and 1600-meter finals, running 7:52.18 in the former on Friday and 3:17.88 on Saturday in a race which saw indoor 600-meter recordholder Shaquan Brown of Paterson Kennedy come from behind to edge the Pirates at the tape with a 45.9 leg. Kennedy scratched from the final later in the day while Seton Hall ran seventh in 3:18.39, just behind Winslow Twp, which had earlier won the South Jersey race in 3:17.10 and came back in 3:17.83.

Camden qualified for the 400-meter champion race and ran eighth in the final in 42.07. The Purple Knights just missed making the 1600-meter final, then won the Greater Philadelphia race in 3:20.78, getting the nod when Simon Gratz of Philadelphia was disqualified for a violation on the final turn, freshman Khaliff Featherstone cutting in too son on Camden's giant anchor man, Kevin Payton.

The best finish for New Jersey in the girls' title races was a surprise fourth place for Ocean City in the distance medley, a surprise because the Red Raiders had to run without their two-time state cross-country champion Brittany Sedberry, who is nursing a case of shin splints. In her place was 800-meter runner Renee Tomlin, who, in the second four-lap race of her life, anchored the team to a 12:09.47 finish with a 5:01.2 leg. Roxbury was back in seventh place at 12:13.58.

Morris Knolls' junior-led team finished seventh in the 3200-meter relay in 9:18.83 with Lauren Gregory leading off in 2:15.8 and Lauren Berard anchoring in 2:18.6.

Camden Wilson had a busy weekend, but its top effort was missed by coach Ringo Adamson who, after going outside to put something in his car, was barred at the return gate by over-officious police despite having the proper credentials. His two junior, two freshman team took seconds off its Thursday winning time of 3:56.77 in the South Jersey race as it won the Philadelphia Area race by 10 yards from Glasgow of Delaware in 3:50.60. Much the same team finished fourth earlier in the day in the Tri-State 400-meter relay in 48.33.

Krystal Cantey of Winslow Twp had a big weekend, opening with a third-place 58.88 in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles behind Nicole Leach's meet record 57.44. Krystal's time is the third-best in state history behind Tawana Watkins of Paterson Kennedy and Tracy Nelson of Plainfield. She went on to anchor Winslow to a seventh-place finish at 48.14 in the large school consolation 400-meter relay on Friday and a second-place 47.76 behind West Catholic in the Tri-State race on Saturday, heading a parade of New Jersey teams which included Columbia, Wilson, Jackson and Piscataway.

In the parade of class and area relays which are the real heart of the meet, New Jersey boys outscored the girls with 11 victories to nine plus a number of seconds. Winslow led the boys with its 3:17.10 with Paterson Kennedy, Seton Hall and Camden also under 3:20. Wilson was fastest among the girls with Franklin, running without Symone O'Connor, the only other team under 4:00 at 3:57.98. Paterson Kennedy was the only school to win both boys and girls races, the girls behind anchored by freshman Kristen Crawford.

Other notable field event marks included a 15-1 pole vault by state indoor champion Anthony Abitante of Berkeley Heights and a wind-aided 18-9 ½ long jump by Eastern indoor champion Alaina Alfano of Hanover Park.



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