Viking girls fourth in GMC Relays

By: Carolyn M. Hartko
Carolyn M. HartkoSports Writer
   After losing an outstanding group of seniors from last year’s squad, no one expected the South Brunswick High School girls’ winter track and field team to repeat its second-place finish at the Greater Middlesex Conference Relay Championships. Coach Brian Jost and the 2004 Vikings were hoping for a more modest top-five finish.
   They accomplished their goal, tying for fourth place with Edison with a total of 23 points in this year’s county relay meet. The two-day event held the track races last Wednesday at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and the field events were held at South Brunswick High School on Friday evening.
   "We decided that somewhere in the top five would have been very good, and we achieved that," Jost said. "It’s still a very young team. There are just a few seniors that actually competed in the meet. Most everyone was an underclassman, and they gained experience and competed well."
   The Lady Vikings collected the most points for second place finishes in both the 4×200 and the sprint medley. Christa Bruneau-Flynn, Eve Mizerak, Shante Slaughter and Shafeeha Potts ran the first race in 1:56.2, and Mizerak, Slaughter, Krista Belick and Amy Rhein clocked 4:32.7 in the latter.
   The distance medley squad earned a set of bronze medals. Sari Kaufman, Belick, Jackie Helfgott and Rhein brought it home in 14:08.7.
   South’s final points came from a sixth place finish in the high jump where the two-person team jumped a combined height of 9-2. Bruneau-Flynn cleared 4-8 for the first time, and Belick tied her personal best (4-6).
   The Viking boys’ squad had a modest goal for this year’s GMC relays: score more than the single team point they earned last year. They shattered that mark with 11 points, putting them eighth in final totals. For Jost, the important thing was that the scoring was spread around to three different events.
   "Some teams will score 10 points in that meet, but that’s because they got a first place," the coach said. "We scored in the high jump, we scored in the two running events, and we just missed scoring in the shot put. In a couple of other events, we were very, very close. And once again, with the guys, it’s a young team. There are only a few seniors competing, so I’m very pleased."
   A third-place finish in the high jump (tied with North Brunswick at 11-2) was the biggest surprise for the Vikings. Veteran James Ivey teamed with junior Axel Persaud. Persaud, a distance runner, competed in the high jump for the first time, clearing 5-4.
   "We had tryouts the day before, and Axel came over to practice, and he tried it out with some other guys," Jost said. "He looked the most comfortable going over a height, so we gave him a shot, and he came through for us."
   At FDU, Charles Willis, Mike Lee, Kinjal Shah and Ryan O’Laughlin placed fourth in the sprint medley with a time of 3:54.6. O’Laughlin, Emery Greenfield, Greg Spinner and Persaud came in fifth in the distance medley, posting a time of 11:34.4.
   Both boys and girls had relay teams that just missed finishing in the money. Sara Steepy beat her best distance in the shot put by almost two feet (27-9 ¾), and Jackie Abdalla was close to hers (25-2 ½). They finished eighth overall.
   In the boys’ shot put, Yemi Ayeni threw a pb of 45-8, and Bobbie Long hit 32-8 with a lob from the power position. Greenfield set a personal record of 56 seconds in the 400.
   The Vikings will be up against much stiffer competition as they compete in the Group IV flight of the NJSIAA Relay Championships scheduled for Jadwin Gym at Princeton University Saturday.