The Union County Track and Field Relay Championships will be coming to Westfield's Gary Kehler Stadium on Thursday and Friday, May 3rd and 4th. This will be the Diamond Anniversary for the meet which began seventy-five years ago and is the longest-running relay meet in the state. According to long-time meet director, Bill Klimas, this meet will provide drama on the boys side and record challenges from the girls.
Union Catholic is the defending champion in both the boys' and girls' divisions. The boys will be trying to gain their 7th team title while the girls are looking to earn their 4th consecutive crown. Elizabeth, with their twenty-two titles, leads in the boys' team championships and Plainfield leads the girls' team totals with ten.
Despite the graduation of Sydney McLaughlin (now at the University of Kentucky), the Vikings seem ready to continue their winning ways and are likely to score in every event. Coming off their impressive performances at the recent Penn Relays, the girls' team will be tough to stop. They will be led by talented Amaya Chadwick who is back after suffering an injury-plagued winter season. While it is unlikely that they will run at full strength in every event, Coach McCabe may try to outdo last year's performances when his teams put five meet records in the books including a state record in the 4x200.
On the boys' side, Union Catholic seems the odds-on favorite to start another run of successive titles that was snapped at five by Westfield's Blue Devils in 2016. They are deep in each event and will have to use that depth to offset challenges by Scotch Plains, Rahway, and Westfield. It will be tough to predict which race will be the most competitive with great matchups in each of them. Scotch Plains has come on strongly in the hurdles and sprints. Westfield, Rahway and Union Catholic should battle it out in the distance and middle distance events. Look for Cranford to put in a solid performance in whatever event Joshua Cadet is entered.
The meet will also spotlight several indoor state champions from last season: Vanessa Vanriele from Governor Livingston in the 800 and Kaira Brown from Kent Place in the 400. Both girls will keep their relays in or near the front in each of their appearances. Gabriel Nash from Elizabeth, (the boys 55m champion) will provide an edge as the Minutemen look to take home a sprint championship. Westfield's Spencer Weigand, a medal winner at the state meet, will be a big part of his team's efforts to win the 4x800, sprint medley and distance medley.
In the jumping events, Connor Reilly (U.C) and Lauren Safi (Governor Livingston) who were both medal winners at the indoor state championships will compete in the pole vault along with Cheney Price from New Providence. The weight events feature Brandon Patterson and Kyle Lipscomb who will battle it out in the shot put. Both men put the shot over 50 feet this winter.
This will be another premier Union County Championship much like it has been over the past 74 years. The action begins on Thursday and Friday at 4 P.M.
Girls Meet Records
|LONG JUMP||2||36' 1 1/2"||1983||RAHWAY|
|LONG JUMP||3||50' 6 1/2"||1997||PLAINFIELD|
|HIGH JUMP||2||10' 6"||2016||UNION CATHOLIC|
|HIGH JUMP||3||15'2"||2016||UNION CATHOLIC|
|SHOT PUT||2||99' 3/4"||1993||PLAINFIELD|
|SHOT PUT||3||111' 11"||2003||ELIZABETH|
|POLE VAULT||2||20'6"'||2016||GOVERNOR LIVINGSTON|
Boys Meet Records
:42.0 / 42.07
|2001 / 09||PLAINFIELD|
|INTERMEDIATE HURDLES||3||2:47.95||2012||UNION CATHOLIC|
|SHOT PUT||3||162' 7 3/4"||1973||UNION|
|DISCUS||3||462' 4"||1978||SCOTCH PLAINS|
|JAVELIN||3||557' 5"||1978||SCOTCH PLAINS|
|HIGH JUMP||3||19' 7"||1976||PLAINFIELD|
|LONG JUMP||3||65' 7 1/2"||1985||RAHWAY|
|POLE VAULT||3||38' 0"||1988||WESTFIELD|
|POLE VAULT||2||27' 0"||2004||WESTFIELD|
|TRIPLE JUMP||3||132' 41/2"||2016||ELIZABETH|