Track and Field Sectionals Roundup

Barnegat Girls Track and Field Crew Impressive at NJSIAA South Jersey Group II Meet

By DAVID BIGGY | May 29, 2019
Courtesy of: Rebecca Kane Barnegat girls track and field athletes (from left) Reannah Cooper, Madison Cappuccio, Jillian Jankowski, Valencia Gosser and Zanayah Harris tallied 51 points and placed fourth overall in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group II Championships.

Surf City — In the immortal words of Darth Vader: “Impressive … most impressive.” Sure, the mega film saga “Star Wars” celebrated 42 years on May 25, but throughout the state a different kind of “star wars” was taking place – that being the NJSIAA South Jersey sectional track and field championships – and the Barnegat girls were the most impressive.

Following a day in which a bunch of Bengals fared well, coach Rebecca Kane’s crew finished off a solid effort in the South Jersey Group II meet with 51 points, good enough to place fourth overall, the highest finish and point-total the Bengals have racked up at a sectional competition since the school opened in 2004.

The star of the show was freshman Madison Cappuccio, who scored a pair of first-place victories in the high jump, by clearing 5 feet, 2 inches, and the long jump, by recording a high mark of 16 feet, 11½ inches. However, Barnegat had other stars who tore it up at Delsea Regional High School on May 24-25, including freshman Valencia Gosser and junior Zanayah Harris.

After taking second with a time of 12.32 seconds in arguably the most difficult event to place among the top six – the 100-meter dash – Gosser managed a third-place finish in the 200-meter dash with a time of 26.41 seconds. Meanwhile, Harris captured first in the triple jump with a hop, skip and leap of 35 feet, 1¾ inches, then added a sixth-place finish in the discus with a high mark of 108 feet, 4 inches.

Senior Reannah Cooper contributed fourth-place points in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 16.17 seconds, and sophomore Jillian Jankoswki grabbed fifth in the long jump with a high mark of 16 feet, 7¼ inches.

“I don’t have the words for how impressed I am with this team,” Kane posted to Twitter immediately after the final results were tallied.

For Pinelands, junior Liz Makar continued her quest for the Meet of Champions by placing second in the shot put with a high mark of 40 feet, 6 inches. She also placed fourth in the discus with a top throw of 114 feet, 9 inches. Biana Trice managed a sixth-place finish in the shot put at 36 feet, 2 inches.

On the boys’ side, Barnegat’s Sean Morris had the most successful weekend, taking third in the javelin with a high mark of 155 feet, 10 inches, third in the discus with a top throw of 146 feet, 3 inches, and sixth in the shot put at 50 feet, 10¾ inches. Pinelands’ Jonathan Makar swiped third in the shot put with a distance of 51 feet, 10 inches and sixth in the discus at 140 feet, 8 inches.

Also for Pinelands, freshman Isaiah Simmons grabbed a pair of sixth-place finishes in the 100 and 200, registering times of 10.98 and 23.05 seconds. Also for Barnegat, the 4x100-meter relay team of Gavin Wheeler, Ryan Fisher, Ralph Cruz and Justin Gomez took fifth in 44.13 seconds, and the 4x800-meter relay crew of Gareth Aguilar, Tyler Grant, Peter Dizon and Josh Hutton snagged fifth in 8:07.41.

At Washington Township High School, the Southern girls had some success but finished well behind Millville and Rancocas Valley, snatching third place with 46.3 points.

Junior Karagan Bulger was the big scorer for the Rams, as she edged Rancocas Valley’s Brianna Snowden for the 400-meter hurdles title with a time of 1:02.02. Whetstone crossed the line in 1:02.22. Bulger barely missed going 2-for-2 in individual events, but was beat out by Lenape’s Shelby Whetstone for the 800-meter run title. Whetstone clocked at 2:15.90, while Bulger crossed the line in 2:15.94.

However, Bulger and teammates Rachel Short, Hailey Hochstrasser and Shannon Flaherty took the 4x800 field by storm and captured first place with a time of 9:32.25. Bulger also teamed with Hochstrasser, Flaherty and Caitlin Hambor as they finished second in the 4x400-meter relay in a brisk 3:57.08.

Sophomore Maria Mezzo added to the Rams’ total when she placed second in the pole vault by clearing a height of 10 feet, while Flaherty also contributed by running a 2:19.78 in the 800, good enough for fifth place.

As for the Southern boys, senior Joe Guglielmo returned from an injury to place third in the javelin with a high mark of 157 feet, 7 inches, while classmate David Springstead also grabbed third in the high jump by clearing 6 feet. Springstead was sixth in the pole vault as well, after he cleared 12 feet, 6 inches, and senior Liam Andersen also managed a pair of sixth-place finishes in the discus (139 feet, 4 inches) and shot put (47 feet, 11½ inches).

Barnegat and Pinelands athletes will compete in the Group II Championships this Friday and Saturday at Central Regional High School, while Southern athletes will travel to Franklin High School for the Group IV Championships. Athletes who finish among the top six in their events automatically qualify for the Meet of Champions on June 8.

— David Biggy

Southern athlete Karagan Bulger won the 400-meter hurdles during this past weekend's NJSIAA South Jersey Group IV Championships and barely missed winning the 800-meter run title. (Photo by: David Biggy)
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