Westfield edged Elizabeth in a thriller to capture its first boys title since 2016, and the Union Catholic girls made a huge statement by throwing down the most dominate performance in meet history to runaway with its sixth straight championship at the 77th Union County Relays on Friday at Gary Kehler Stadium in Westfield
The Westfield and Elizabeth boys waged a great baton-battle over the two-day meet with the outcome still hanging in the balance heading into the meet-concluding 4x400-meter relay. Westfield, which held a 78-73.33 lead after placing second in the 4x1600 while Elizabeth placed fourth, secured the title with a clutch third-place in the 4x400 to edge the Minutemen, 86-83.33. Elizabeth, which competed valiantly in defeat, won the 4x400 in a NJ#1 3:22.41.
After the team scores were announced, the entire Elizabeth squad showed lots of class by going over to Westfield while the Blue Devils were celebrating and congratulated them on the hard earned victory. It was the best moment of the whole meet!!
There was no such drama on the girls side as Union Catholic showed that it just might be the best team in the state with a historic display of balance and depth as the Vikings piled up a mind-blowing meet record total of 138 points! That's just 22 points away from a perfect score! UC did it by placing third or better in all 16 events! And the Vikings won seven events and dropped two NJ#1 times on the way to a 138-76 victory over runner-up Scotch Plains-Fanwood.
The former meet record for points was 129 by the Union Catholic girls in 2015.
UC, which won the pole vault, SMR and 400 hurdles on Thursday, added victories in the first three events on the track on Friday-the shuttle hurdles, the 4x800, and the 4x200 to put the meet away. UC's seventh wins came in the field from its strong javelin crew.
There were several key contributors for the Vikings.
Avery Jordan ran on three winning relays, she led off the NJ#1 shuttles (1:01:11) with a 15.0, ran the third leg on the NJ#1 4x200 (1:41.99), and was a member of the wining 400 hurdle squad. Ajanae Thompson ran on the shuttles and anchored the 4x200. Kaleigh Gunsiorowski anchored the SMR and 4x800 to victories with strong carries. In the field, Jada Mia Puryear had the top throws of the meet in both the shot put (NJ# 2 40-8.50) and discus (118-8) and Daniela Peralta had the top throw of the meet in the javelin (107-5), and cleared 8-0 on the winning pole vault team. Versatile stars Alexandra Bonn and A'Liyah Thomas also had very strong performances. Bonn ran on the shuttles, and had the top TJ performance (35-10) of the meet, and was on the runner-up high jump and long jumps teams. Thomas anchored the shuttles, and was on the LJ, TJ and HJ teams that all placed second.
In the boys competition, Westfield flexed its great depth by scoring fifth or better in 14 of the 16 events, scored in every event on the track, and swept the throws on its way to the ninth county relay title in school history.
The Blue Devils had several athletes step up
Stock, after splitting 4:21.5 and 1:55.4 on Thursday, Stock came back to run 2:00.1 on the anchor of the runner-up 4x800, and ran 50.9 on the third leg of the 4x400.
Garretson split 50.6 on the 4x400 anchor for Westfield, anchored the fourth-place 4x200, ran the 400 on the winning SMR, and anchored the fourth-place 4x100.
Pierro ran on the 4x100, 4x200, 4x400, and ran the second leg on the SMR.
Justin Colby (4x100, 4x200, 4x400), Enzo Bovo (4x100, SMR, 4x200), Rob McIntyre (LJ and both hurdles), and Conor Daly and Will McGlynn, who both ran on the DMR, 4x800, and 4xmile), also came up huge for the Blue Devils.
In the field, Bucknell-bound Braden Stryker, led the charge in the circle for Westfield with meet best throws of 52-7 and 171-2. Stryker is Westfield's school record holder in the discus with the 178-5 he threw last month, which is No. 2 in the state this season.
Elizabeth did everything it could to try to capture its first title since 2004, leaving it all out on the track and in the field.
After winning the 4x100 on Thursday, Elizabeth capped off its impressive performance with its 4x400 victory. Greg McQueen stole the show in the 4x400 with an electrifying 47.8 second leg to bust the race apart.
But Elizabeth showed its not just a sprint team by picking up key points from its underrated distance crew, who placed fourth in both the 4x800 and 4x1600 to keep the Minutemen within striking distance.
The Scotch Plains-Fanwood girls won the 4x400 in 3:53.54, No. 4 in meet history. Julia Jackson anchored in 56.8. SPF is the state leader with a 3:49.80.
The Union Catholic boys won the 4x1600 in 18:14.35, No. 3 in meet history.
UC junior Nick Givan took over the state lead in the 400 hurdles with a 55.27, and he split 49.8 on the 4x400, and 22.7 as the anchor on the 4x200.
Union made a big statement by placing third in the boys team standings. The highlight of the meet for the Farmers was its dramatic victory in the 4x200 in 1:31.78, edging Elizabeth, second in 1:31.89
The Scotch Plains boys completed a sweep of the hurdles. After winning the 400 hurdles on Thursday, Anthony McDonald (15.8), Tommy Rodriguez (16.4) and Kenny Agwu (15.8) teamed up with Jayden Nyamiaka to win the shuttles in 1:06.89.