The Internet Home of Track & Field

New Jersey Report

Four big wins for Jersey athletes at Bishop Loughlin

Thursday, December 21, 2006

By Ed Grant

With four victories at the massive Bishop Loughlin meet last Saturday at the New York Armory Center, the New Jersey 2006-07 indoor season got off to a booking start.

Devon Bond of Trenton, who skirted with the 7-0 mark all through the outdoor season last spring, did it again this time as he earned “athlete of the week” honors at The Armory, taking the high jump at 6-11 with teammate Frank Thompson second at 6-6. Alan Laws of Pleasantville took the 600M in 1:20.76, Rhodeni Spence of Camden Wilson the triple jump at 47-3, and Camden the 800R in 1:30.15.

Pleasantville showed 7:50 potential in the 3200R as Alex Best finished second in the 1K in 2:34.02, and Duke Mack finished 7th in the 600 in 1:23.79. The three also ran on a 3:27.81 1600-meter relay team which placed fourth, not bad for a team which was up at 6 a.m. or earlier to make the two and a half hour jaunt from the Atlantic City suburb to New York.

Spence headed a 1-2 finish for New Jersey in the TJ with Aaron King of Morris Hills behind him at 46-4 ¾. King was fifth in the event at the all-group meet last spring with a season’s best of 47-7 ½. Spence had just one mark of note outdoors, taking his county title at 45-2 ¾.

Camden’s victory was a first for its new coach, Greg Foster (no, not that one), who succeeded the Purple Knights’ longtime mentor Martin Booker just before the indoor campaign got under way. This Greg Foster is a former NCAA Div. III long jump and triple jump all-American who prepped at Pennsauken High School and then attended Stockton State College.

Other high finishes in boys’ event was a second for Tom Poland of Delbarton in the 2M at 9:37.73, a second for Willingboro in the 800R in 1:32.24, and a third for Brendon Pierson of Christian Brothers in the 1K in 2:34.92 (he also anchored a third-place 8:11.05 in the 3200R).

There were no New Jersey winners in the girls’ program, but outdoor National 400-meter hurdles champ Leslie Njoku of McNair Academic was second in the 300M in 40.87, outdoor all-group champ Stephanie McIntyre of South Brunswick second in the triple jump at 39-5, and Samantha Brady of Jackson second in the pole vault at 11-0. Thirds went to Racquel Vassell of East Orange in the 55H in 8.18, Rachel Villa of Hunterdon Central in the 300 in 41.28, and Natalie Parkes of Hunterdon Central in the PV at 10-6.

The weekend opened on Friday with the Leon Bailey Invitational Relays at the Jersey City Armory. Njoku topped 5-2 in the high jump there, but the day’s top individual mark was a 45-1 in the shot put by Taryn O’Connor of Hillsboro. Sophia Coleburn of Haddon Heights hit 41-5 ½ in that event.

The running highlights came in the two shuttle hurdle races with North Edison, sparked by high jump stars Latoya Dixon and Yasmin Parks, taking the girls event in 33.2 and Hillsboro, anchored by Taylor Szwarc, winning the boys in 31.2.

Closing out the action was the New Jersey Catholic Track Conference Passarelli Relays on Sunday at West Point. St. Benedict’s was the big winner here, taking three boys’ races, the 800R in a spikeless 1:34.4, the 1600R in 3:36.1 (both anchored by Marc Robinson), and the distance medley in 10:52.1, anchored in 4:31 by Foot Locker finalist Brandon Jarrett.

The girls’ shot put relay provided the weekend’s third 40-footer as Monique Riddick led Bishop Ahr to victory at 40-11. A strong 800 anchor leg by Elizabeth Campbell gave Mt. St. Mary’s a 4:36.4 win in the sprint medley and Kim Hudock did the honors for St. Dominic Academy which took the 3200R in 10:43.0.

Perhaps the most important event of the week, however, was the decision to complete the new “bubble” in Toms River, which is to be the site of the state group and all-group meets in February. An adverse vote in a general capital fund school vote early in the fall had threatened its future, but a second vote on the bubble alone this Saturday is expected to reverse this and bring in the necessary state funds.