Sports Roundup

Barnegat Boys Swim Team Not Deterred By December Losses

By David Biggy | Jan 15, 2020
Photo by: David Biggy Barnegat senior Josh Hutton powers through the 100-yard breaststroke during the Bengals' 132-35 win over Lower Cape May on Jan. 9.

Southern Ocean County, NJ — It’s not a secret. After winning the NJSIAA South Jersey Group C championship last winter, the Barnegat boys swim team expects to be competing for another sectional crown in February, despite some heavy graduation losses last June.

“The bar is set high, and it’s definitely staying there,” said senior Josh Hutton following the Bengals’ 132-35 victory over Lower Cape May on Jan. 9. “We want to stay consistent, and we’re aiming for that title again. I think we can get it.”

So far, the 4-2 Bengals seem to be as strong as they were last year at this point of the season. And while coach Emily Cherry never starts counting chickens in January, she’s had no complaints with her crew despite a pair of losses to powerful Manasquan and recently crowned Ocean County champion Southern Regional in December.

“Right now, they’re killing it,” she said. “Between the boys and girls, we’re seeing 60 to 70 personal bests every meet. They’re pushing each other and holding each other accountable. They’re working hard and still pushing themselves, giving us 110 percent in practice every day. We’ll see where the cards fall.”

They fell just right against LCM, as Tyler Grant, Ryan Schager, Kaden Jason and Hutton started the Bengals’ winning effort with a 1:54.34 in the 200-yard medley relay. After Ethan Sackett won the 200-yard freestyle in 2:07.26, Hutton came back for the 200-yard individual medley and scored first-place points in 2:22.72. Jason then won the 50-yard freestyle in 23.64 second and the 100-yard butterfly in 1:08.75.

After Sackett won the 100-yard freestyle in 54.7 seconds, Christopher Longo cruised to victory in the 500-yard freestyle in 5:55.57, before the foursome of Hutton, Collin Zarenkiewicz, Declan Lustenberger and Sackett won the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:42.59. Grant won the 100-yard backstroke in 1:03.70 and Hutton won the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:14.04 before Sackett, Lustenberger, Grant and Jason won the 400-yard freestyle relay in 3:48.62.

With several beatable opponents on the schedule during the coming weeks, Hutton believes Barnegat can take a winning streak into the state tournament.

“We’re not concerned about the two losses,” he said. “It showed us that there are better teams out there, but we still have a really good team and I think we have a lot of wins coming up, so we’re looking forward to what’s ahead.”

As for coach Rebecca Kane’s girls, they’re still building – the beneficiary of swimming becoming a bit more popular at Barnegat High School following the boys’ success of last season.

“We have some newcomers on the team who have made an impact,” said junior Alexis Jackson, part of the medley relay crew that scored a win in 2:20.38 as the team went on to beat Lower Cape May, 97-70. “Because the boys won last year we’re more motivated this season, and getting some new girls on the team has helped a lot. We’re fighting hard for every point we can get, and we’re pushing ourselves.”

After Paige Menegus won the 200 free in 2:34.10, Sydney Dizon won the IM in 2:54.22 and Jackson won the 50 free in 27.87 seconds, then came right back to win the 100 free in 1:03.01. Dizon won the 500 free in 7:02.53, while Erin Lustenberger scored the victory in the 100 back with a time of 1:19.01, and the 400 free relay of Dizon, Gabriela Kovaly, Lustenberger and Jackson finished off the team’s third victory in 4:40.78.

“We’re a deeper team this season, with a lot of young girls who are excited to swim,” Kane said. “Because this is a family, every success the boys have the girls have as well, and the girls definitely are pushing harder now.”

Barnegat Boys Bowlers
Score Big Victories

Finally a bowling team managed to beat Shore Conference South B division leader Manchester, and it just happened to be the Barnegat boys squad, which registered a 2-1 win over the Hawks on Jan. 13. Manchester was undefeated at 30-0 going into the match.

The Bengals (24-9) won the first game, 901-885, before coming up with a big, 976-972 victory in the second game. The Hawks (31-2) won another close one in the third game, 926-902.

In the first game, Barnegat was led by Matt Xiques with a 236, while Matt Charland rolled a 193, Joe Spagnola delivered a 183 and Anthony Balas added a 151. In the second game, Balas was lights out, falling short of a perfect game by 23 pins and leading the way with a 277 – the highest game in league play thus far. Xiques contributed a 191, while Spagnola fired a 190, Matthew Hwang tossed a 165 and Charland recorded a 153.

The third game belonged to Charland, who threw a 223, and Spagnola, who hit for a 205, while Xiques added a 185, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Hawks. Xiques led the way with a 612 series, while Spagnola, whose 196.69 average is second in the division, finished with a 578 series. Balas finished with a 576 series, and Charland ended with a 569.

Southern Girls Cruise
To County Relay Title

With the amount of depth it has, it should be no surprise the Southern Regional girls indoor track and field team won the Ocean County Relays championship. But the Rams didn’t just win. They dominated, tallying 65 points to cruise to the title, 36 points ahead of second-place Toms River North.

The 4x400-meter relay team of Karagan Bulger, Gabby Bates, Jailey Hochstrasser and Shannon Flaherty easily won with a time of 4:19.59, while the 4x800-meter relay crew of Rachel Short, Hochstrasser, Emily Furlong and Bulger raced to a winning time of 10:04.47. The sprint medley of Maria Mezzo, Tiffany Ortner, Bates and Flaherty scored first-place points in 4:37.97, while the distance medley of Furlong, Ortner, Bulger and Short cruised to victory in 13:04.93.

Gianna Crawford cleared 4 feet, 10 inches, and Bailey Hradek’s top height of 4 feet, 8 inches were good enough for a medal spot for the high jump relay, while Mezzo cleared 10 feet to lead the way for the pole vault relay.

— David Biggy

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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