Corinne Lyght hadn't competed in a meet in two years, and wasn't really sure if she'd run this spring. But after her teammates at Scotch Plains-Fanwood got in her ear and told her what she'd be missing out on, Lyght knew she had to lace up her spikes for one more season.
"They told me if I was on the team we could do some really big things together, like win a state title, and run some really fast times,'' said Lyght, the Union County Player of the Year in soccer last fall. "I just couldn't pass up that opportunity.''
Since pledging her commitment to the team, Lyght has worked hard to get herself in top form again, and after working through some minor hamstring issues, Lyght celebrated her return to the track on Saturday with a spectacular performance at the 31st Blue Devil Classic at Gary Kehler Stadium in Westfield.
Lyght, headed to Lehigh to play soccer, helped Scotch Plains-Fanwood sweep the sprint relays, highlighted by a sizzling met record 3:49.80 in the 4x400-meter relay, and she also leaped 16-3 on the winning long jump team to give her four gold medals on the day.
Scotch Plains-Fanwood made a huge statement with its sprint relay show as junior Grace Kennedy, Lyght, and junior Julia Jackson torched the track as they shared the baton on three relays that recorded NJ#1 times this season (48.59 in the 4x100, 1:42.88 in the 4x200), and 3:49.80 in the 4x400.
In the 4x400, quadruple gold medalist Kennedy, also on the victorious LJ team, led off with a PR of 57.6. Lyght followed with a 59.9, sophomore Jenai Berry dropped a PR of 57.1, and then the electrifying Jackson, who anchored the 4x100 and 4x200, finished it off by throwing down with a 54.9 carry. The 3:49.80 by the Raiders smashed the meet record of 3:52.97 set in 2016 by Union Catholic, is the fastest time in NJ this season, No. 14 in the nation, and obliterated the school record of 3:59.30 that SPF ran in March.
The Raiders also smashed the school record in the 4x200 on Saturday with their winning time of 1:42.88, breaking the mark of 1:43.25 that was set at 2018 East Coast Relays.
Lyght has now run on all three school record sprint relays. As a freshman, she ran on the 4x200, and ran the second leg on the school record 4x100, which ran 47.52 to place third at the Meet of Champions.
"We knew with Corinne we could do some really special things, and we showed that today,'' said Jackson, who came from behind to win the 4x200 with a 25.1 split. "We knew we were ready to run a fast 4x400, but we didn't think it would be this fast. And we know we can keep getting faster if we keep working hard. This is just the start of things for us.''
Another girls team that cranked it up and dropped a bomb was Haddonfield.
The Camden County powerhouse took the long trip up north to Union County to make a run at its school record in the DMR, and they nearly got it, running a NJ#1, US#3 and meet record 12:06.82. The Haddonfield school outdoor record of 12:02.34 was set by the 2000 team, which was anchored by Olympian Erin Donohue. Haddonfield's 12:06.82 destroyed the meet record of 12:21.91 set by Summit in 2011.
Union Catholic also took down a meet record when Avery Jordan (16.2), Ajanae Thompson (14.3), Alexandra Bonn (16.5) and A'Liyah Thomas (14.3) combined to win the shuttle hurdles in a NJ#1 1:02.16.UC broke the meet record of 1:02.29 set in 2012 by Franklin.
Duke-bound Katie Hamilton of Westfield, the indoor Meet of Champions winner in the 1,600 in 2020, led wire-to-wire on her way to victory in her first mile of the season in 4:58.00.
Oak Knoll junior Sam Petrucco came up with an impressive victory in the 400 in 59.03, just missing her PR of 58.36 that she ran as a freshman in 2019.
In the throws, Jada Mia Puryear of Union Catholic unloaded the top throws in both the shot (NJ#2 39-11) and discus (NJ #3 118-1). Ridge's Carly Cambria had the top javelin mark with a NJ#7 111-11.
In the boys morning session, run in chilly temps and very windy conditions, Westfield captured three wins on the track, Rumson flexed its sprint speed, Nick Givan scored a huge win, national champion Nick Medeiros ran a strong 1,200 leg, CBA made its presence felt, and Antonio Roopchand and Brett Shea each blasted big anchor legs.
Westfield was the biggest winner of the day by striking gold in the 4x100 (45.01), the sprint medley, and the DMR.
Junior Charlie Stock came from way back to pass Old Bridge when he split 4:25.5 to bring Westfield across first in the DMR in 10:44.96. He came back to split 2:00 on the winning SMR (3:39.13). Junior Charlie Garretson anchored Westfield's 4x100, and ran a 200 leg on the SMR.
In the 4x200, Roopchand came from behind with a red hot 22.5 anchor to catch Seton Hall Prep and give Elizabeth the victory in 1:34.55. Roopchand also anchored the third-place 4x100 for the Minutemen.
Shea, a senior, came up with an impressive anchor leg in the SMR for Cherokee when he found an extra gear over the final 100 meters and rallied past two teams before storming across the line first. Shea split 1:56.3, a four second PR.
Union Catholic's Givan, a junior, ran a NJ#4 and a PR of 55.83 to knock off state leader Joe Aglione of Rumson, second 56.74. Aglione ran a NJ#1 55.29 at the Metuchen Relays last week.
Senior Mike Laskowski of Rahway won the Jack Martin Mile in 4:31.41. After running 2:17.7 for the first half and hitting 3:26.5 at three quarters, Laskowski finished off his victory with a 65.9 final quarter.
The Georgetown-bound Medeiros, who won the 1000m at the Adidas National Championships this past indoor season, got in some nice work when he led off the DMR with a 1,200 split of 3:10.1.
Peter Jaworski led off the winning shuttle hurdles for CBA with a 16.0. The Colts won the race in 1:09.98. Junior Kenny Agwu of Scotch Plains-Fanwood ripped a 15.0 on the anchor to bring the Raiders across second.
In the field, Liam Miksic of CBA had the top throw in the javelin (168-8), CBA's Christian Ricci had the best shot put mark (52-9), and Kyle Robinson of Scotch Plains-Fanwood soared a career best 42-2, N0. 9 in the state this season.