St. Peter's And Bogdan Win, Red Hot DMR's At Nationals

St. Peter's Prep and Matt Bogdan of Colts Neck threw down stunning victories, the Ridge boys completed a blazing  distance relay double, and the Union Catholic girls accomplished a rare feat to cap off their memorable performance when New Jersey put an exclamation point on its sensational showing on the final day of the Outdoor National Championships on Saturday at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

The victories by St. Peter's Prep and Bogdan gave NJ a total of six National Champions over the four-day meet. The other four national champs were Floyd Whitaker of Highland Regional in the triple jump, the Ridge boys in the 4x800Union Catholic in the mixed 4x400, and Ryan Allen in the racewalk. Eight athletes and 27 relay teams from NJ earned All-American status (top 6 in each event earn AA).  

St. Peter's Prep dropped a bomb on Saturday when it simply blew away the field to take down the Hudson County and Hayward Field records in the boys sprint medley relay with a time of 3:24.40, No. 11 in state history! The former Hudson County record of 3:25.3 had stood for 45 years! Lincoln set the record back in 1976. The former Hayward Field record of 3:30.48 was set by Polytechnic High from Long Beach, Calif.  

Junior Fitzroy Ledgister and Sam Slade got things going for St. Peter's when they combined to run 44.87 for the opening 200 legs, and then senior Joe Morrone, third in Friday's 400 hurdles in 52.99, put the Marauders ahead to stay when he hammered out a 47.36 carry on the 400 to take his team from fifth to first. Senior Edwin Klanke opened a big gap when he put the finishing touches on the victory with a 1:52.17 anchor split. St. Peter's won the race by more than three seconds over runner-up Milford Mill Track Club of Maryland (3:28.10).

Next up it was Bogdan's turn to take center stage as the North Carolina State-bound star added to the big day for Jersey by winning the 2,000-meter steeplechase in 5:49.94, just missing the state record of 5:49.92 set by the legendary Steve Slattery of Mount Olive when he finished first at the Foot Locker National Championships at NC State in 1998.


The boys DMR was smoking hot with Ridge and Union Catholic right in the mix the whole way.

Ridge, which won the 4x800 on Friday in a NJ #5 8:39.06, was leading for most of the anchor leg as junior Jackson Barna seized control with about 800 to go. But Charlie King of Ridgefield of Connecticut, who split 4:08.25, and was able to rally in the final homestretch to give his team the win in 10:01.72. Barna split 4:09.64 to bring Ridge across second in 10:02.46, a couple steps ahead of Union Catholic, third in a Union County record 10:02.86. The times by Ridge and UC are No. 10 and No. 11 in state history.  

Ridge's first three legs were handled by senior Will Pinto (3:08.72), senior Luke Roberts (47.82), and junior Andrew McCabe (1:56.27). Pinto, Roberts, and Barna all ran on the victorious 4x800. 

The amazing 4x800/DMR double by Ridge makes the Red Devils just the second team in state history to run under 7:40 and under 10:05 in the same season!!! The Christian Brothers Academy 2012 team also did it at the New Balance National Championships when they won the 4x800 in 7:34.67, and placed third in the DMR in 10:02.94.

Union Catholic, with three underclassmen in its lineup, led after the first two legs of the DMR after junior Myles Plummer ran 3:03.06 for 1,200 and junior Nick Givan went 49.84 on the 400 leg. Senior Matt Granizo followed with a 2:00.09 800, and junior Shane Brosnan closed fast to complete a 4:09.88 anchor split.     


Speaking of Union Catholic, if there was team scoring for the relays, there's a good chance the UC girls would have come out on top. The UC girls were the most impressive NJ team at the meet, and arguably the most impressive of any girls team. UC finished with six All-American relay teams, with the last two coming in rare fashion as the Vikings flexed its remarkable depth by placing two teams in the top five in the SMR! That's right, eight different runners (7 underclassmen) produced a 2-5 finish with times of 4:02.25 and 4:09.05!

Union Catholic's boys and girls combined to produce 32 All-Americans!!!!!  

UC's A Team in the SMR featured a 2:13.73 anchor from sophomore Kaleigh Gunsiorowski. Gunsiorowski also dropped a PR of 2:11.64 to bring UC's 4x800 across the line third on Friday in 9:01.49.

The other three All-American relay teams for UC were the 4x100 (sixth in 48.06 after a NJ#2 47.70 in the trials), 4x200 (third in 1:43.20), and the shuttle hurdles (third in a NJ#4 59.49). 


The girls DMR also produced a pair of All-American squads for the Garden State. 

Haddonfield, second in the 4x800 on Friday in a NJ #10 All-Time 9:00.51, 
placed fifth in the DMR in a school record 12:00.47. Ridgewood, sixth in the 4xmile on Friday in a NJ #5 All-Time 20:48.29, finished sixth in the DMR in 12:02.88. 

Haddonfield's DMR splits were 3:41.88 for Allison Colflesh, 61.10 for Payton Weiner, 2:17.87 for Lindsay Colflesh, and 4:59.62 for Sarah Naticchia. The Colflesh twins and Naticchia also ran on the 4x800.    

For Ridgewood, AnnaMarie Tretola (3:40.87), Lucia Rabolli  (60.59), Oliva Grace (2:17.34) and Sarah Policano (5:04.07) shared the baton. Tretola and Policano also ran on the 4xmile.    


How about what Lilly Shapiro did!!!

After running 10:43.82 to place 10th in the two-mile at the Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle on Friday, the University of North Carolina-bound Shapiro, the Meet of Champions winner in the 800, anchored  two relays for Colts Neck on Saturday. She anchored the 9th place DMR (12:27.88), and then came back to split 2:11.40 to bring the Cougars across the line third in the SMR in 4:04.58.


Junior Kyle Rakitis of Kingsway, the M of C 1,600 champ, finished 10th in the boys mile in 4:10.09, and junior Marco Langon of Bridgewater-Raritan was 13th in 4:13.91.  

Rising senior Camryn Wennersten, who ran for the Garden State Track Club this season, placed seventh in the girls mile in 4:49.08. 

Rising senior Bryanna Craig of Coronado HS in Lubbock, Texas, who starred at Millville High before moving to Texas after the 2020 school year, piled up a personal best 5,138 points to place second in the heptathlon. Craig, the 2019 National heptathlon champion, broke her personal best of 5,094, which she recorded when she set the National Freshman record to place fourth place at the 2019 USATF U20 Championships

Craig's marks in the seven events over the two day competition were 14.58 in the high hurdles (867 points), 5-6 in the high jump (830 points), 31-1.25 in the shot put (495 points), 25.08 in the 200m dash (879 points), 18-4.50 in the long jump (729 points)  a PR of 117-1 in the javelin (585 points), and 2:25.28 (753 points).    

Reese Fahys of East Greenwich, R.I., who was a state XC champion as a freshman at Middletown South in 2019, placed fifth in the girls two-mile in 10:41.11. Fahys, a rising junior, moved to R.I. after her freshman year at Middletown South.