Franklin Boys, Ridgewood Girls Capture Group 4 Titles

Boys Results/ Girls Results Videos / Photos

Franklin, led by sprint star Mario Heslop, ended a long drought by winning the boys title, and the Ridgewood girls won a tight three-way battle for its fourth state title at Friday's NJSIAA Group 4 Championships at the Bennett Center in Toms River.

Heslop, a senior, was his usual sizzling self as he burned up the oval with a NJ#1 49.23 in the 400, a victory in the 55 dash in 6.38, just .01 off his NJ#1 time of 6.37, and he ran on the fifth place 4x400. It's the second straight year that Heslop swept the 55 and 400.

Heslop, who has won four Meet of Champions titles in his career (two indoors ad two outdoors), will be favored to win whichever races he runs at next Saturday's M of C.     

Led by Heslop, Franklin outscored runner-up Cherokee, 33-24. It's the second state indoor title for Franklin, which won the State Group 3 championship in 1990.

Franklin also received a huge victory in the 55 hurdles from Kumi Osei, who ran a NJ#9 and big PR of 7.58. Chris Hill picked up a point for Franklin by placing sixth in the 3,200. 

In the girls competition, Camryn Wennersten led the charge for Ridgewood, which edged Montgomery, 28-26 for the team title. Ridge placed third with 25 1/2.

It's the fourth state title for Ridgewood and its first since 2016. Ridgewood also won in 1989 and '90.

In a battle between two of the state's best freshmen, Wennersten won the 1,600 in 5:02.45, and Montgomery's Caroline Mehlhorn was second in 5:03.01. Wennersten also placed third in t 3,200 in 11:01.56. 

Ridgewood also received a runner-up finish from senior Katherine Muccio in the dash (7.31) and a key fourth-place finish from senior Victoria Purritano in the hurdles, who ran a PR of 8.62.

There were great performances, including a few that shook up the top of the state leaderboards.     

Junior Jamier Wright-Collins of JFK Paterson grabbed a share of the state lead in the boys high jump with his winning clearance of 6-8, which is a new PR.   

Kyle Lipscomb, a senior at Linden, increased his state lead in the boys shot put with a PR of 58-6 3/4. His previous best was 58-6.

Junior Bradley Jelmert of Watchung Hills (NJ#2 in the pole vault at 15-7 1/4), cleared 15-0 to finish first and equal the Group 4 record set by Jordan Subai of Toms River North in 2010 and matched by Peter Fagan of Westfield in 2013.

Ridgewood senior Will Baginski captured the 1,600 in a PR and NJ#4 4:16.44 

Montgomery senior Abrianna Barrett, who made 5-10 last spring to win the high jump at the Meet of Champions, won her third State Group title (two indoors and one outdoors) by clearing 5-6.   

Atlantic City senior Claudine Smith won the fourth State Group title of her career in the hurdles and third straight indoors by crossing first in 8.13. Smith,  who is NJ#2 with an 8.09, also won the state Group 4 title in 100 hurdles last spring. 

Emily Nugent of North Hunterdon won the girls 3,200 in a NJ#4 10:49.67.

Sophomore Lauren Princz of Egg Harbor, the Meet of Champions winner in the 200 last spring, won the 55 dash in 7.13, just off her season best of 7.12, which is tied for NJ#1.   

Westfield won the boys 4x400 in a NJ #5 3:26.11. 

With defending Meet of Champions 800 winner and New Balance Nationals champ Luis Peralta of Passiac opting to skip this meet, senior Miles Liggins of South Brunswick, who is NJ#2 in the 800 at 1:54.67, won the four-lapper in 1:55.34. Without Peralta on the line at the M of C next Saturday,  Liggins will be one of the favorites to win.

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