Lady Pats win first track title, Cougars repeat

BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer

Staff Writer

When Freehold Township’s girls edged Howell the first week of the dual-meet season, the Patriots knew they had taken a big step toward winning their first track and field division title.

But one obstacle remained in their path, Ocean Township. When Freehold Township visited Ocean on May 16, the Pats had clinched no worse that a tie for the Shore Conference A North Division championship. But if they wanted to avoid sharing the title with both Howell and Ocean, they would have to overcome an Ocean squad that featured two of the best sprinters in the country, Tiffany Grant and Georgina Nembhard, who could score a pile of points.

The Patriots countered with their own star power, distance runner Janel Parker, but it came down to Pats’ balance prevailing over Ocean’s quality, 70-66, polishing off an undefeated season (5-0) and the girl’s first-ever division title.

Grant (200, 400) and Nembhard (100 and 100 hurdles) won four events between them, and led the Spartans to the 1,600-meter relay win. But it wasn’t enough against a Patriot squad that had the depth to score points behind Grant and Nembhard.

Parker, the recently crowned county 800 champion, won her specialty in 2:27 and won the 1,600 as well (5:31.0). Tanika Peart picked up a very big win in the 400 intermediate hurdles (1:08.3) to go along with the points she won in the 10 and 200.

In the field, the Pats got big wins in the jumps with Megan Donovan taking the high jump (4-8), Desiree Reese winning the triple jump (31-3 1/2) and Anita Wise capturing the long jump (15-7).

The scoring also included wins by Crystal Mahoney in the shot put (36-0 3/4) and Lindsey Mount in the javelin (100-4).

During the season, runners like Allyson Moskal, Charlotte Walsh, Jenna Brock and Megan Matza made their contributions, while in the field it was Walsh, Brittany Wilson and Ronnie Nodine.

Championships could become habit-forming for the Patriots, who are a very young team in addition to being very deep. Everyone who scored wins against Ocean is coming back next year.

Any one who saw how the Colts Neck girls dominated the Monmouth County Championships knows how strong the Cougars are. It was a mere formality on May 15, but the Cougars made it official, clinching the B North Division crown with a 93-46 at St. John Vianney. It’s the fourth straight division title for the Cougars (6-0) and their third straight undefeated season.

Everyone is familiar with the Cougars’ distance running prowess, but they are equally as dominant in the sprints and hurdles with the likes of Meryl Wimberley, Julia Tomaro, Kathlyn Herrick and Samantha Santo. Between them, they owned the 100-200-400 sprints and the 100 and 400 hurdles. Herrick even bumped up to the 800, winning at SJV.

Jessica Pagliano is the county’s best high jumper and one of the best long jumpers.

The depth of the Cougars’ distance running stable that is led by Ashley Higginson and Briana Jackucewicz, allowed runners like Alyssa Morgan and Rachel Morris to have their moments. Morgan won the 1,600 (5:46.1), and Morris the 3,200 (12:53.5) against SJV.

The very bad news for anyone trying to chase the Cougars down – all of their point-scorers are coming back.

Colts Neck’s boys can no longer be looked upon as a distance running powerhouse only. For the second straight year, the Cougars won the B North title. Only this year, they weren’t co-champions. They completed a perfect 6-0 campaign with an easy 106-34 win over the Lancers.

The Cougars flexed their overall balance in completing their undefeated season. Mike Moore was perhaps the MVP of the season for his unexpected wins in the 100 and 200 dashes against Matawan in the biggest meet of the season. Coach Jim Schlentz was looking for him to take third place in both; instead, he set a school record in the 100 (11.1) and took the 200 as well. The wins proved huge in the six-point win.

The dual meets were the time for distance runners Brenden Krewer and Shane Hart to shine as the Cougar’s did not overuse state champion Craig Forys.

Evan Stivala equaled big points for the Cougars. He scored big in jumping events. He swept all three in the big win against Matawan. He’s also the team’s best 400 hurdler.

In the field, John Krewer and Kevin Kelly were consistent winners in the throwing events. Krewer in the shot put and discus, and Kelly, the javelin.

Like the girls, the Cougars are young as well, with Moore the only significant point-scorer who is graduating.