By Brian Deakyne
TOMS RIVER – Christian Brothers Academy’s Mike McClemens and Blaise Ferro each won long distance races at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions at Bennett Center and Rumson’s Jason Bryan finished second in the shot put to highlight the local action.
McClemens won the 1,600-meter run in 4:14.20 and led a 1-2 finish for the Colts as teammate Tom Rooney finished behind him in 4:14.79 and Ferro took the 3,200 crown in 9:12.70.
RFH’s Bryan, who recently committed to Rutgers University, dueled with West Deptford’s Nick Pulli in the shot put, which Pulli won with a distance of 61-3. Bryan (60-2) was the only other thrower to hit at least 60 feet.
On the girls side, the Bulldogs were led by a host of runners in the distance races, including Jacqueline Gottuso, who became the first girl at Rumson to ever break 5:00 in the 1,600 when she placed seventh in 4:59.59.
“Training has been crazy because of this weather,” Rumson coach Tim McLoone said. “We have been in the street, on staircases and in the hallways.
“They have developed a culture of excellence over the past few years that gave us three sectional titles in a row.”
Rumson’s 4×400 relay team, which placed 17th at the Meet of Champions, finished in 4:07.83 – the fastest time of the season.
Hannah Anderson finished 15th in the 3,200 in 11:12.23 and Raechel Mullan, who served as team manager while nursing an injury last season, broke 1:00 in the 400 when she placed 21st in :59.55.
“Considering the fact that we are among the smallest schools in the state, it’s great to see our kids go toe-to-toe with the big schools,” McLoone said. “It’s a great group who are all competitive and embrace the sacrifices ready to succeed at this level.”
Middletown North’s Tom O’Neill finished second in the 3,200 in 9:17.92 and teammate Justin Lippert was sixth in the 1,600 in 4:19.14.
CBA’s Chris Jordan finished third in the high jump at 6-4. Jordan was one of the final three performers left in the competition, but failed to hit a 6-6 when Ramapo’s Kenny Clarke and Howell’s Ian Kirk each cleared the height on their final attempts.
The Colts added a fifth-place finish in the 4×400 in 3:25.99.
In the girls competition, St. John Vianney’s Courtney Thompson finished sixth in the 3,200 in 10:50.43. Last week, Thompson captured the Non-Public A 3,200 crown in 10:52.36.
Red Bank Catholic’s Gabriella Ferrigine (2:21.07) and St. John Vianney’s Brenna Remick both finished in the top 25 in the 800.