Sports Roundup

Southern Girls Track, Boys Volleyball Squads Snag Shore Conference Crowns

By DAVID BIGGY | May 22, 2019
Courtesy of: Southern Athletics The Southern Regional girls track and field team shows off its trophy and banner after winning the Shore Conference championship on May 15.

Surf City — It’s no secret. As the Southern Regional girls track and field team had gone through a bit of a rebuilding process the past couple of seasons, the Rams hadn’t fared as well at the Shore Conference Championships while Middletown North rose to the top of the standings.

On May 15 at Central Regional High School, not only were the Rams better than the Lions, they crushed the entire field of competitors in the process, scoring a whopping 90 points to snag the conference crown. Middletown North finished second with 55. Jackson Memorial was a distant third with 34, followed by Matawan with 30. Southern last won the conference title in 2016.

Leading the way for the Rams this time was Karagan Bulger, who delivered first-place points with a time of 1:01.26 in the 400-meter hurdles and 2:13.96 in the 800-meter run, while Maria Mezzo followed her Ocean County title in the 100-meter hurdles with a huge victory in the Shore Conference meet in a time of 15.41 seconds. Mezzo also took third in the pole vault by clearing 10 feet.

The Rams’ additional first-place points came as a result of the 4x400-meter relay’s victory, as Bulger, Shannon Flaherty, Hailey Hochstrasser and Caitlin Hambor zipped to a combined time of 4:00.12. Hambor also finished second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.86 seconds and swiped third in the 400-meter dash in 57.90 seconds.

Meanwhile, Jaelyn D’Amelio and Emily Furlong delivered big points in the 3,200-meter run, trekking the entire race pretty much side by side and ending up second and third, respectively, with times of 11:48.05 and 11:48.34. Brookelle Kline also scored third-place points by marking 35 feet and ½ inch in the triple jump.

Additionally, Flaherty took fourth in the 800 with a time of 2:18.32, while Tiffany Ortner grabbed fifth in the 400 hurdles in 1:06.12 and sixth in the long jump with a distance of 16 feet, 11 inches, Gabby Conforti snatched fifth place in the triple jump with a top distance of 34 feet, 10 inches, and Hochstrasser took sixth in the 400 with a time of 59.88 seconds.

For Pinelands, Liz Makar was the sole point-scorer for the Wildcats, swiping third in the shot put with a top throw of 39 feet, 8¼ inches. For Barnegat, freshman Valencia Gosser was the high scorer for the Bengals, finishing fourth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.56 seconds, while teammate Zanayah Harris took sixth in the discus with a top throw of 104 feet, 9 inches.

On the boys’ side of the track and field, only Southern’s David Springstead managed to grab third-place points while a half-dozen other locals mustered fourth-, fifth-, or sixth-place points. Springstead earned his third-place medal by clocking 15.02 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles, while Pinelands’ Jonathan Makar snagged fourth in the discus with a top throw of 153 feet, 4 inches and Barnegat’s Ryan Fisher swiped fourth in the 400 with a time of 50.73 seconds.

Pinelands’ Andre Simmons took fifth in the 100 with a time of 11.36 seconds, while Southern’s Liam Andersen fired the javelin 149 feet to place fifth, and Southern’s Angel Santiago and Cole Robinson grabbed sixth in the pole vault and javelin with respective marks of 12 feet and 144 feet, 10 inches.

Southern Volleyball Squad

Cruises in SCT Final

Because coach Eric Maxwell expects his team to compete for a state championship every season, the Shore Conference Tournament simply becomes a stepping stone for his boys volleyball squad as it strides toward an early June date in South Brunswick.

On May 16, the top-seeded Rams improved to 34-2 for the season and captured yet another SCT crown, cruising past second-seeded Howell, 25-20, 25-17. Zack Hem was the go-to guy for Southern, scoring 11 kills and pulling up four digs, while Matt Maxwell handed out 26 assists, managed six digs and two aces, and Justin Kean hammered down seven kills and delivered a trio of aces. Drew Wilgus also whacked seven kills and Logan Lipositz had eight digs and a pair of aces.

In the semifinals, Jackson Memorial surprised the Rams by winning the first game, but the Rams bounced back in a big way to finish off the Jaguars (14-6), 21-25, 25-14, 25-13. Kean was the big gun, slamming down 16 kills, while Maxwell dished out 34 assists and scored three aces, and Hem banged down eight kills and came up with six digs. Anthony LeBlanc also had five blocks and four kills.

Next up for the Rams is the NJSIAA South Jersey sectional tourney. Southern is the top seed. Sterling and Washington Township are the second and third seeds on the other side of the bracket, while Clearview was awarded the fourth seed.

— David Biggy

The Southern Regional boys volleyball team shows off its trophy and banner after winning the Shore Conference championship on May 16. (Courtesy of: Southern Athletics)
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