Rebel Relays will kick off track and field campaign

The 2012 outdoor track and field season will begin on March 31 when Howell High School hosts the 10th annual Rebel Relays starting at 9 a.m.

While this is the season opener, it will not be too early for athletes to try to establish qualifying standards for the Penn Relays (April 26-28 in Philadelphia).

There will be a total of 63 boys’ and girls’ teams participating in the Rebel Relays, including some of the best teams and student-athletes from around New Jersey.

Teams will be competing in the 4×100, 4×200, 4×400, 4×800, sprint medley, distance medley, shuttle hurdles, and intermediate hurdles relays on the track.

The field relays will be held in the shot put, javelin, discus, pole vault, triple jump, long jump and high jump.

Among the schools competing are Howell, East Brunswick, Jackson Memorial, Jackson Liberty, Long Branch, Middletown North, Monroe Township and J.P. Stevens of Edision, which will send boys and girls teams.

Christian Brothers Academy and Matawan Regional are sending boys only, and Middletown South and Edison are sending girls only.

Marquee talents could be on display. Sam Mattis of East Brunswick is the top discus thrower in the state and one of the best in the country. He won the outdoor national championship last spring and brings a personal-best throw of 207-2 into the 2012 season.

Howell pole-vaulters Colton Lambert and Monet Masters had record-breaking indoor seasons and will be hoping for good weather so they can fly even higher outdoors. Lambert finished second at the indoor Meet of Champions, scaling 14-0.

Jackson Memorial’s quartet of Mike Kaba, Ryan Williams, Jason Poppe and StephenAvino were national champions indoors, winning the 4×55-meter shuttle hurdles relay at the New Balance Indoor Nationals. They broke the meet record by clocking a time of 30.13.

Jackson Liberty’s Giana Testa was the Central Jersey Group III state sectional champion at 400 meters this winter.

CBA brings some of the finest distance talent in the country to the meet. The Colts won the Nike Cross Country Nationals last fall and had a great indoor season in which the Colts ran the country’s fastest distance medley relay (10:08.80) in winning the Varsity Classic at the New York Armory. The Colts also won the 4×800 at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational in the second fastest time in the country (7:41.53). George Kelly anchors the Colts.

CBA also has talented sprinters. The Colts ran the fastest 4×400 relay in the state (3:19.40), which held up as the fifth fastest time in the nation for the season.

Matawan Regional’s Solomon Simkins leaped 21-8 in the long jump indoors. With teammate John Alston leaping 20-3¼, they are a threat to win the long jump relay.

Middletown South’s Cassidy Weimer finished second in the 3,200-meter run at the NJSIAACentral Jersey Group III championships.

Other key dates on the 2012 outdoor calendar are the Colts Neck Relays, April 14; the Husky Relays, April 14 at Matawan Regional High School; the Holmdel Relays, April 21; the Lion Invitational at Middletown North High School, April 28; and the Long Branch Relays, May 5.

And, the Monmouth County Championships, May 9 and May 11 at Holmdel High School; the Shore Conference Championships, May 18-19 at Neptune High School; the NJSIAA State Sectionals, May 25-26, site TBA; the NJSIAA Group State Championships, June 1-2 at Old Bridge High School; and the NJSIAA Outdoor Meet of Champions, June 7 at Old Bridge High School.