Dannenbaum Ties PV Record, Hooker and Thomas Win at MOCs


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Pole Vault by Robert Kellert, Shot Put and High Jump by Jim Lambert. 

POLE VAULT

Pingry junior Caroline Dannenbaum cleared 12-06 to win her first Meet of Champions title on Sunday. This comes two years after her sister Julia won the title in 2017.

Though she didn't clear it, Dannenbaum made solid attempts at 12-07 in an attempt to take full control of the meet record. The 12-06 vault adds her to a five-way tie with Jennifer Holly (2008), Chrissy Finkel (2009), Chelsea Vaughan (2012), and Haley Horvath (2017) for the highest height in meet history. 

This was a great achievement for a tough season where Dannenbaum brought herself back to form from a back injury that held her out of early meets. Her first competition for indoor came at the end of January when she won the Skyland Conference title at 11-06.

With a MOCs title in her inventory now she's feeling confident heading into New Balance Nationals and has a goal to clear 13-0 like she did this past spring at her Outdoor Non-Public A Championships. 

HIGH JUMP

Tierra Hooker of Timber Creek wasn't going to let it happen again.

After she missed winning a Meet of Champions title by the narrowest of margins three times in her career, Hooker came up with multiple clutch clearances to finally win the elusive title by making 5-8 at Sunday's Meet of Champions at the Bennett Center in Toms River.

How close had Hooker been to winning a M of C title before Sunday?

At the 2017 outdoor M of C, Hooker made 5-10, but placed second on misses to Abrianna Barrett of MontgomeryThen at the indoor M of C last winter, Hooker cleared 5-8 when she placed second to national champion Jenna Rogers of Rutherford, who made 5-10. 

Hooker again made 5-10 at the outdoor M of C last June, but once again wound second on misses to Tiffany Bautista of Paramus Catholic.

"I just had to win this time,'' said Hooker, a junior. "My mom kept telling that I've been second too many times and that it was my time to finally win one of these.''

In order for Hooker to finally grab the gold, she had to make some pressure packed jumps.

Hooker stayed alive in the competition by making 5-6 on her final attempt, and clinched the title when she was the only one to make 5-8.

Meghan O'Malley of Randolph finished second at 5-6, and Barrett, who also made 5-6, was third. Rogers, the 2017 New Balance National Outdoor champ with a state and national freshman record 6-0.75, placed fifth at 5-4.       

"I always knew I could do this, and it's such a relief and feels so good to finally finish first at this meet,'' said Hooker.

SHOT PUT 

Every since Cydney Thomas exploded with a huge personal best to take over the state lead in the shot put earlier this month, she's been a huge favorite to win this title.

And the junior at Haddon Heights lived up the hype and the expectations when she launched a 42-4.75 to finish first in the shot put by nearly two feet at Sunday's NJSIAA Meet of Champions at the Bennett Center. 

Sterling's Alijah Caul was second at 40-5.75, and Tereana Parker of Millville was third at 39-11.

Thomas came into the season as the top returning finisher after placing fourth at the M of C last winter and had a personal best of 40-7.5.

But after a could 42 and change throws earlier this season, she threw a NJ#1 and US#7 bomb of 46-1 to win the South Jersey Group 1 title on Feb. 2.

"I've worked really hard on my technique,'' said Thomas, third in the discus at the M of C last spring. "I worked on my quickness, explosion, my release and I'm much more confident this year. It's very exciting to see all the hard work pay off and to win this title, and I'm hoping to contend for the national title.''  


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