Group 1 and 4 Championship Recap

Full Results / Race Videos

The NJSIAA indoor track group championships produced a wealth of outstanding performances in the first half of a doubleheader on Saturday, as Group 1 and 4 athletes competed for a coveted spot in the NJSIAA Meet of Champions, Sunday, March 8 at 10 a.m.

The top three finishers in each event automatically qualify for the M of C. In addition, the top 12 performances from all six groups combined which did not automatically qualify will receive wild cards for the M of C. 


Wow, Katie Hamilton! 

The Westfield junior zoomed to the top of the state performance list by winning the Group 4 mile in NJ#1 4:56.05. She stood at NJ#6 after her 5:06.11 at the sectionals. 

Double wow, Oliver Adler and Ethan Wechsler!! 

Adler, a senior at Cherry Hill East, and Wechsler, a junior from Cherokee, finished 1-2 in the Group 4 3,200 with the two fastest times in the state this season. Adler won in 9:12.87, edging Wechsler at the line by .03 seconds. Adler, headed for Harvard, was NJ#3 (9:16.76) and Wechsler was NJ#8 (9:20.37). 

Triple wow, Camryn Wennersten, Laura Baeyens and Caroline Mehlhorn!!! 

The trio from Ridgewood, Watchung Hills and Montgomery, respectively, finished 1-2-3 in the Group 4 3,200 with three of the seven fastest times in the state this season.

Wennersten, a sophomore, beat Baeyens for the first time in the 3,200 and won her first 3,200 group title -- she won the 1,600 last season -- in NJ#2 10:46.59. Baeyens, a senior, was second in NJ#4 10:51.42. Baeyens beat Wennersten in the 3,200 both indoors and outdoors last year. Mehlhorn, a sophomore, was third in NJ#7 10:58.67. 

We have a new All-Groups record holder!! Bradley Jelmert, the super senior from Watchung Hills, broke the All-Groups record in the pole vault by clearing 16-6.25on his second attempt. He took three unsuccessful tries at 17-0 ¼ in his attempt to break the indoor state record of 17-0 set by Bill Lange of Bridgewater East in 1980. The former all-groups record of 15-0 was held by Jelmert, Peter Fagan of Westfield (2013) and Jordan Subai of Toms River North (2010). 

Monroe senior Jordan Kaplan won the Group 4 800 in a meet-record NJ#2 1:53.90, wiping out the 1:54.56 which Old Bridge's Rey Rivera ran in 2016. Kaplan vaults two spots and improved upon his season best of 1:55.25 from a sectional tune-up meet. 

Gavin Richards, a senior at North Hunterdon, ripped off a huge season best and NJ#2 4:18.08 to win the Group 4 1,600 meters. The Syracuse commit ran 4:21.16 at sectionals. His career best of 4:12.42 comes from winning the outdoor Group 4 title last spring. 

The Group 4 boys 55 dash was electric! Two of the top five times in the state this season! South Brunswick senior Ola Porbeni won in NJ#4 6.44, jumping five spots on the state leaderboard, while Egg Harbor junior Ahmad Brock was second in NJ#5 6.47, leaping 13 spots.

Shore Regional senior Samuel Weber won the Group 1 shot put in NJ#8 55-8 ¼, vaulting seven spots after his sectional performance of 54-10. 

Hunterdon Central junior Suzy Lacombe was tied for NJ#7 in the pole vault, but that was before she won the Group 4 title at 11-6, her second career best in as many meets, and now she's all alone at NJ#4. Lacombe had never cleared 11 feet before she won sectionals last week at 11-0. 

Edison senior Cynthia Boryeskne leapfrogged two spots to NJ#7 on the 800 list with her Group 4 winning time of 2:17.19. 

Esatern junior Jailya Ash already NJ#2 in the 55 hurdles, improved upon her time by winning the Group 4 title in 8.08. Ash had won an SJTCA meet in 8.15. 


Sparked by a 55 dash title from senior Ola Porbeni, South Brunswick received a balanced effort from seven athletes and rolled to its second Group 4 state title and first since 2014.

Porbeni won the 55 dash in NJ#4 6.44 and placed third in the 55 hurdles (7.56). Porbeni and junior Adam Gorka fueled the fifth-place relay (3:29.18) and Gorka was fourth in the 400 (50.25).

Also scoring for the Vikings were senior Dante Bailey, fifth, high jump (6-2); 

junior Vidhur Barna, fourth, 3,200 (9:16.63); senior Javier Santiago, tied for third, pole vault (14-6); junior Joseph Carlson, fourth, shot put (50-4.25); and senior Daniel O'Grady, fifth, shot put (50-2 ¾). 


Thanks to Hillsborough junior Kirstyn Schechter and senior Brielle Kelly, Hillsborough won its first state Group 4 title by a 26-25 count over Eastern.

Schechter won the high jump at 6-4 and placed second in the 55 hurdles (8.28), while Kelly won the shot put title with a heave of 40-10.5. 

The high jump needed a tiebreaker for a three-way tie at 5-4. Schechter won the event after clearing 5-4 on her second attempt. Millville's Bryanna Craig cleared 5-4 on her third attempt and earned second place over Hunterdon Central's Suzy Lacombe due to fewer misses overall. 

Eastern, bidding for its first title, was paced by the Ash sisters. Jailya, a junior, won the 55 hurdles in NJ#2 8.08. Jewel, a senior, won the 400 in 57.89, she placed fourth in the 55 hurdles (8.38) and sixth in the 55 dash (7.37). 


Kyle Reers, a senior at Delaware Valley, broke the Group 1 meet record in the 800 meters by crossing in 1:55.98. It's just one hundredth of a second off his NJ#6 time run at sectionals. The old meet record was 1:56.49 set by Haddonfield's Greg Pelose in 2016. 

Willingboro got a gold medal from senior Nate Robertson and a 4x400-meter relay victory as well in charging from behind to claim its third straight Group 1 state title.

Sophomore Jaylen Young (52.9) and seniors Jamaho Kingsley (52.8), Sheraton Gbeen (53.3) and Zaire Clements (52.7) won the 4x400 relay in 3:32.20 and cemented the title for Willingboro, which defeated runner-up Audubon 34-29 and third-place Camden (26). 

The high jump -- where three boys cleared 6-6 -- was key to the Chimeras' run to a third straight trophy. Robertson won by clearing 6-6 on his first attempt. He beat out Audubon's Aden Tomeo who needed three shots at 6-6. Willingboro senior Nate Robertson placed third but with more misses at 6-6 than Tomeo. 

Junior Glenn Ferguson vaulted Willingboro into contention with his fifth-place in the pole vault (12-0), allowing the Chimeras to creep within two points of Camden, 26-24, leading into the mile relay. 

Aso scoring for the Chimeras were junior Deonte Allen, fourth, shot put (47-8); and senior Zaire Clements, fifth, 55 dash (6.78).

For runner-up Audubon, senior James Coleman won the 55 dash in 6.63 and placed sixth in the 400 (52.17). For third-place Camden, senior Hakeem Evans won the 55 hurdles (7.73) and senior Dontae Guest won the 400 (51.11) and placed third in the 800 (2:01.84).


On the strength of a distance sweep by junior Sophie Steidle, Collingswood won its second straight title in commanding fashion, 52-38 over Willingboro. 

Steidle won the 1,600 in 5:20.04 and the 3,200 in 11:38.80, giving her four wins in two weeks; she won the same events at sectionals last week. Steidle also placed fourth in the 800 in 2:28.04. 

Senior Emily Wallace was also a standout for the Panthers, winning the 400 in 1:00.52 and placing third in the 55 dash (7.46). 

Also scoring for Collingswood was junior Fiona Basewitz, who was second in the pole vault (10-0). The Panthers also placed fourth in the 4x400 relay (4:21.14).