TINTON FALLS – It was a big weekend for the local scholastic track teams at the NJSIAA sectional meets as both Red Bank Regional (RBR) and Red Bank Catholic (RBC) earned girls sectional championships.
Red Bank Regional rolled up 88 team points to win its first Central Jersey Group III title since 2003 (when the Trotter sisters, Amanda and Katy, helped the Lady Bucs to success) while RBC, a longtime girls track power, took the South Jersey Non-Public A crown.
Also winning in the girls meet was Holmdel, which captured the CJ Group II title with 83 points.
Middletown North, competing in Group III for the first time, ran off with the boys CJ championship for the first time. In addition to the team titles, there were plenty of area individual championships.
“We knew that we would be in the running for (the team title),” RBR girls track coach Brendan McGoldrick said. “We had pretty good team balance and some good individual efforts.”
Earning golds for Red Bank Regional were sophomore Lauren Sapone with an individual best in the 800 (2:15.20), Dystini Cooper in the high jump and Meg Reardon in the javelin throw. The Lady Bucs also won the 4 x 400 while Jazz VanLoon was second in the long jump and triple jump.
RBC also used team balance to win its first South Jersey Non-Public A crown since 2010 over favored Union Catholic, 126-118.
“It was like old times,” RBC coach Rob DiFillipis said. “Rachel Kershner and Kate Davin gave us a big one-two finish in the javelin and we did better than expected in winning the 4 x 800 relay.”
RBC picked up two more golds with freshman Abby Collins winning the 100 and Gabrielle Ferrigine taking the 800.
Christian Brothers Academy wasn’t as fortunate in the boys SJ Non-Public A, as the Colts finished a distant second to Union Catholic, 192-123.
Marin Warner had a spectacular performance for Holmdel, winning the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 as the Hornets won its second straight sectional team title.
Middletown North also had a brilliant individual effort in winning the boys CJ III championship with distance running star Tom O’Neil breezing to easy wins in both the 1,600 and 3,200 while running the third leg on the winning 4 x 800 team.
“I feel good,” said O’Neil, who will be attending Providence this fall. “My goal was just to win and help my team as much as possible. I’ll probably just run the 3,200 in the state meet.”
North boys coach Brock Silvestri said, “We came in today and did what we expected to do. We also won sectionals in both cross-country and indoor track.”
Rumson-Fair Haven settled for a tie for fifth with Long Branch in CJ Group II, but the Bulldogs had two brilliant individual efforts from Jason Bryan and Charlie Volker, who won two events each.
Bryan won the shot with a personal best 62-5 and came back to take the discus (157-2). Volker, a running back who helped the Bulldogs win the CJ Group II football title, won both sprints in personal best times of 11 second, 0 tenths and 22.01.
Bryan, using a spin technique, hit his record-breaking shot distance on his final throw.
“I’ve been using the spin move since my sophomore year,” said Bryan. “I did a lot of hard work during the off-season in the weight room.”
Bryan, who played football in his first two years but skipped it in his junior and senior years to concentrate on track, will be attending Rutgers in the fall.
“I wanted to get a Division I scholarship, and I thought I would have a better chance in track. It worked out for me,” he said.
Volker, a junior, set personal best times in both of the sprints and looks to break both 11 and 22 seconds in the sprints this week in the state meet at South Plainfield.
“I don’t think I made the finals last year, but I feel stronger this year,” Volker said. “Coach (Jerry) Beaver helped me with my technique of getting out of the blocks quicker. Playing football also helped.”
Holmdel’s Travis Closs won the boys Group II javelin with a personal best 186-6 and looks to get better.
“My goal is to reach 195 feet and break the school record,” Closs said. “I think I can do it because there are a lot of good throwers pressing me.”