Red Hot 1600's, Sizzling Sprints, A Surprise Winner At Union

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Some of the fastest 1,600-meter times in meet history were throw down, Greg McQueen doubled in the sprints, Celine-Jada Brown put Plainfield back on the map, and Joy Enaohwo and Jada Mia-Puryear came up with NJ#1 performances to highlight a sensational Day 1 at the Union County Championships on Thursday at Hub Stine Field in Plainfield.

Let's start out to with the red hot 1,600m races.

The boys race was a tactical masterpiece by Union Catholic teammates Shane Brosnan and Myles Plummer as the two juniors worked together to produce two of the fastest times in meet history. After Plummer led for the first two laps (61.8/2:07.8), Brosnan took over at the front with 700 to go, and started hammering the pace, hitting the bell at 3:12.2 with Plummer right on his hip. Brosnan kept pouring it on, closing in 60.7 as he stopped the clock at 4:12.91, the fourth fastest time in the state this season and a national qualifying time. Plummer was second with a big PR of 4:14.31.

Brosnan's time , a six second PR,  is not very far off of the meet record of 4:11.2 that Bob Amitrani of Cranford ran to win the mile in 1976.  

The girls 1,600, which became a wide open affair when 2020 Indoor Meet of Champions 1,600 winner Katie Hamilton of Westfield didn't run due to illness (she may run the 800 on Friday), was a great showdown between sophomore Lindsay Hausman of Kent Place, and Union Catholic sophomore Kaleigh Gunsiorowski.

Hausman led nearly the entire way, grabbing the lead right before the start of the second lap. She hit 400 in 75.5, 800 in 2:32.3, and 1,200 in 3:51.7 with Gunsiorowski stalking her the whole way. Gunsiorowski made a strong move with about 75 meter left to try to overtake Hausman, but Hausman responded with a strong surge to secure the victory in 5:02.65. That's the second fastest time in meet history, and just off the meet record of 5:01.39 that Jerika Lufrano of Union Catholic ran in 2019. Gunsiorowski, in her first year running track, was second in 5:03.62, a huge PR, and No. 4 in meet history.

In a season that has produced several new stars, add Plainfield junior Celine-Jada Brown to that list.

Brown pulled off a stunning victory in the girls 400 hurdles  when she dropped nearly two seconds off her personal best to win in 1:05.71, No. 10 in the state this season, and she placed third in the 400 in 58.01. Brown, the third seed in the 400 hurdles, is the first girl from Plainfield to win a county title in several years. 

Brown talked about how much she wanted to put Plainfield back on the map in this video--  

The sprints were also red hot.

In the girls 100, Union's Joy Enaohwo went 11.96 in the trials and then blasted a NJ#1 11.88 in the final to edge Christina Nwachuku of Kent Place, second in 11.95.

Greg McQueen owned the boys sprints, winning the 100 in 10.85 (NJ#4 10.83 in the trials), and then coming back to capture the 400 in 49.20.  McQueen led a 1-2 finish for Elizabeth in the 400 to help the Minutemen take a 46-38 lead over Union Catholic. Westfield is third with 30.

McQueen, who will run the 200 and the 4x400 on Friday, is very confident that he will pick up two more gold medals and help lead Elizabeth to its fourth straight championship. Check out his 400 victory and interview in the video at the very top of this story.

In the girls team standings, Union Catholic had huge day and appears  well on it way to a sixth straight title.

UC, which leads second-place Kent Place, 62-26, picked up three wins in the field from junior Jada Mia-Puryear in the discus with a NJ#1 128-7, Daniela Peralta in the pole vault with a PR of 9-6, and Alexandra Bonn in the triple jump (36-10).

In other highlights, Julia Jackson of Scotch Plains-Fanwood, the state leader in the 400 with a 54.98, win the one-lapper in 55.23 and also placed third in the 100 in 12.08 (12.06 in the trials).

The rest of the winners on Day 1 were Westfield's Braden Stryker in the boys shot put (51-6.50), junior Nick Givan of  Union Catholic in the 400  hurdles in a personal best and NJ#7 54.97, Tom Flanagan of Johnson won the boys javelin with a PR of 163-10, Kizmar Dukes of Hillside cleared a career-best 6-2 to win the boys high jump, and Allen Elome of Linden soared a PR of 22-3 to grab the gold in the boys long jump.