Pinelands Track and Field Boys Find New Track Has Winning Feel

Apr 10, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy WELL IN FRONT: Mart Villanueva cruises to victory in the 3,200-meter event April 2 in the Pinelands Regional boys track and field team season opener against Barnegat and Donovan Catholic. It was the first meet on Pinelands’ rebuilt track.

Last year, the Pinelands Regional boys track and field team wasn’t allowed to compete at their home track because it was to be reconstructed sometime during spring. Instead, the Wildcats traveled for all their meets.

On April 2, despite cold and damp conditions, head coach Don Angelini’s squad utilized its new track facilities for the first time in competition. The reviews were great.

“I didn’t really know what it would be like with the wet conditions,” said senior Luke Mathis, who helped the 4x400-meter relay finish second in Pinelands’ opener. “The surface is great. It has a little more give to it and the surface is really easy on your legs when you run. It’s definitely a lot less torn up than the old track. It was hard to run on our old track.”

The boys’ team was the first of the track squads to give the new track its first test drive, falling to Barnegat, 81-57, while knocking off Donovan, 97-31 in a tri-meet. Head coach Matt Fuller’s girls team is scheduled to compete on the new track next week.

“It’s nicer. It’s smoother. With the rubberized surface, it doesn’t get any spike tears in it. We’re used to a track that’s peeling in spots,” said senior Patrick Princiotti, one of the Wildcats’ 400- and 800-meter runners. “It was windy, cold and wet today, but the track held up great and it was nice to run on a surface without leg pain.”

Junior Tyler Demmerle apparently enjoyed the new track, as he won the 110-meter hurdles in 18.7 seconds. He also won the pole vault with a height of 10 feet. Freshman Andre Simmons zipped across the spongy red surface to win the 200-meter dash in a brisk 22.8 seconds, and he also successfully tried out the new jumps runway by winning the triple jump with a distance of 37 feet, 7 inches. Senior Jonathan Makar easily won the shot put with a personal-best throw of 49 feet, 7 inches. And sophomore Mart Villanueva cruised to victory in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 10:40.

For Barnegat, Peter Dizon won the 1,600-meter run in 5:00.20, while James Bivins won the high jump with a height of 5 feet-6 inches, Ryan Fisher took first in the 400-meter dash in 54.5 seconds, and Josh Hutton won the 800-meter run in 2:12.4. Sean Morris was a dual winner in the discus and javelin, recording distances of 133 feet-1 inch and 147 feet-2 inches, respectively.

Unfortunately for the Wildcats, with only one home meet on the slate this spring, they won’t be back on their home track for an official competition until next spring.

“It’s always an honor to be on your own track when you’re competing,” Princiotti said. “I was glad to get at least one meet at home this season.”

On April 6, the Wildcats put together a solid team effort to place fourth overall in Division I of the annual Rebel Relays with 60 points.

In the 4x100-meter relay, Isaiah and Andre Simmons, Demmerle and Dom Darcy swiped first with a combined time of 45.42 seconds, and the Simmons brothers, Princiotti and Darcy also won the 4x200-meter relay in 1:34.0. Andre Simmons, Demmerle and Tim Zamora combined to win the triple jump relay, while Makar, Jake Lucas and Zach Hoegler grabbed the top spot in the discus relay, and Jake Lucas, Makar and Joel Lucas scored a first-place effort in the shot put relay.

— David Biggy

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