By Robert Cavanaugh
PHILADELPHIA – Some of the top Shore Conference track and field athletes had the opportunity to shine April 24-26 at the 120th Penn Relays at Franklin Field.
One of the best programs not only in the state, but the country, Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) had high hopes in winning the Distance Medley Relay Championship of America, which was held Friday evening. CBA, which won the prestigious event in 1985, ’88, and 2011, fell behind during the first leg (1200 meters) and could never recover to get back into contention. The team of sophomores Blaise Ferro and Mike Zupko and seniors Mike McClemens and Tom Rooney finished fourth overall in 10:16.04. Middletown High School North also competed in the race finishing 8th with a time of 10:26.29. The team from Henderson, Pa., won the race in 10:03.77.
Red Bank Catholic was only one of two New Jersey schools to send both its boys and girls 4×800 teams. RBC and Rumson Fair Haven’s girls 4×800 teams competed in the small school division and finished in 3rd (9:23) and 14th (9:36), respectively in their heat. RBC finished 14th overall and just missed coming back the next day to compete in the Championship of America race. RBC’s relay team consisted of Eryn Mills (2:24.6), Gabriella Ferrigine (2:18.7), Shayne McNally (2:22.0) and MaryKate McNamara (2:18.3). Rumson Fair Haven’s team consisted of Megan Hellman (2:27.4), Hannah Anderson (2:20.2), Courtney Howley (2:28.6) and Jacqueline Gottuso (2:20.7).
RBC returned to the track Friday, April 25, with its boys 4×800 team, which participated in the small schools division. RBC’s quartet of Kyle Bogert (2:00.07), Justin McInnis (2:05.70), Brett Doyle (2:08.64) and Tom Rue (2:09.17) finished 14th in their heat with a time of 8:23.
During the winter, RBC qualified for the Penn Relays by running a 8:02.70 at the Metropolitan Invitational in January.
Some of the area schools also sent top runners to compete in the girls and boys high school 4×400. Two River area finishers in the girls race wered Red Bank High School in 4:09.71, Middletown South in 4:15.02 and RFH in 4:15.10. On the boys side, Red Bank Regional High School ran a 3:20.83 and CBA finished with a 3:25.89.
Most of these runners will be returning to the track this week in preparation of the upcoming Shore Conference and state meets.
The three-day Penn Relays was seen by more than 108,000 spectators. That marked the 11th straight year and the 14th time in the last 15 years that more than 100,000 attended at the world’s oldest and largest relay carnival.
Robert Cavanaugh is an elite runner and owner of RTC Training.