Barnegat Leader Spring Sports Previews

Sprinters, Throwers Lead Way for Barnegat Boys Track and Field

Apr 19, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy OFF TO THE RACES: Junior Ralph Cruz is one of several speedsters on the Barnegat boys track and field squad, which hopes to utilize a lot of younger athletes to contend in the Shore Conference Class B South division and beyond.

It’s hard to say whether the Barnegat High School boys track and field squad is going through a rebuilding process. Following last season, the Bengals graduated several prominent athletes, and those losses have left voids in certain events. Now, some of the younger athletes in a few events have risen up to fill what otherwise would have been significant holes in the lineup.

“We’re young in some areas, but experienced and very talented in others,” said coach Joe Doviak, now in his 11th season. “Our strengths are sprints/relays, throws and middle distance. We’re excited about this season. Many of our athletes were eager to start competing on the track.”

And on the track, the sprints and relays definitely are exciting events. However, they’re some of the toughest events in which to score points. Fortunately, the Bengals have plenty of sprinters who will be leading the way following the graduation of former star sprinter Nico Adorno, who now runs for the University of Rhode Island men’s track team.

It all starts with senior Aidan Tai, essentially the second man to Adorno the past couple of seasons. This spring he will be one of the leaders and should rack up quite a bunch of points in both regular season meets as well as some of the big regional and state meets. Last season, Tai placed fifth in the Ocean County 100-meter dash, swiped sixth in the county 200-meter dash and was 10th in the county 110-meter hurdles.

Behind Tai, Barnegat’s sprint crew has depth and youth. Junior Ralph Cruz, who a year ago was third in the county 200-meter dash before taking ninth in NJSIAA South Jersey Group II in the same event, and junior Justin Gomez, who last spring was eighth in the county 100, have several seasons of experience. Juniors Ryan Fisher, 11th in the county 400-meter dash and also ninth in South Jersey II, and Sean Toner broke onto the scene last season and should contribute a lot this spring.

Meanwhile in the throwing events, senior Sean Morris is the main guy who should score the bulk of the points. Last season, Morris finished third in both the county shot put and javelin, before taking fifth in the shot put and 10th in the javelin events at the sectional meet. Junior Griffin Jackstadt, coming off an incredible wrestling season, also returns as one of the Bengals’ better throwers after taking ninth in the SJ2 shot put a year ago. Sophomore Robert Armstrong last spring took 13th in Ocean County and ninth in SJ2 in the discus. Senior Anthony Grimes adds some depth

Returning in the distance events are senior Gareth Aguilar; juniors Tyler Grant, Logan Germano and Joshua Hutton; and sophomore Peter Dizon, who had solid cross-country and indoor seasons. Also returning this spring are junior jumper Devyn DeFilipo, who was 10th in the county high jump last season; junior sprinter and hurdler Sebastian Nicolay; and sophomore sprinter Adoyne Corbin.

Unfortunately, the Bengals are going to be light in the jump events, mainly due to the graduation of Joe Herrod and Nick Kovaly, who scored a load of points in several events during the previous two seasons. Newcomers to the varsity squad will be asked to make up some of those lost points. Among them are juniors Matt Notaro and Jesse Omelczuk, sophomores Davon Archer and Timothy Crudip, and freshmen Benjamin Brown, James Circle and Declan Lustenberger.

Junior Gino DiGiovanni (distance); sophomores Nick Guarino (sprints), Ethan Sackett (sprints/hurdles) and Gavin Wheeler (sprints); and freshmen Paul D’Aloia (distance) and Connor Darmstatter (throws) provide additional depth in several events.

As for the girls team, coach Rebecca Kane’s squad also is strong in some events, although back to the development stage in others, particularly in the jumps and throws, following the graduation of Kylie Picaro, Sara Wells and Ginalee Erskine.

Still, the Bengals will be competitive in a few events this spring. Leading the charge will be junior sprinter Kayla Carter, who was 11th and 12th in the county 100 and 200, respectively; and sophomore Jillian Jankowski, a versatile athlete who last spring finished 10th in the county triple jump, sixth in the sectional 100 and fourth in the sectional long jump.

Junior Quamora Proctor, 11th in the sectional shot put last spring, is one of the Bengals’ premier throwers this season.

— David Biggy

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