The Union County Championships on Sunday at the Jersey City Armory featured a historic quad by Greg McQueen, three meet records, three NJ No. 1 performances, and a pair of runaway victories for the team titles.
In the team competition, Charles Stock and Avery Keith smashed meet records to spark Westfield to its first boys title in several years, and the Union Catholic girls scored in every event and picked up wins from Maameyaa Nyinah, Jada Mia Puryear, and Ajanae Thompson on the way to their eighth championship in a row.
GOING THE DISTANCE
Westfield distance squad proved to be the biggest key to victory as the Blue Devils racked up 52 points in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 combined en route to a 72-49 victory over runner-up Union.
In the 800, Stock, a senior, ran a NJ No. 1 1:55.02 to break the meet record and Jonathan Scalia (2:01.79), and Liam Maurillo (2:02.79) finished fourth and sixth for Westfield. Westfield's Daniel Cortese (4:28.49), Graham Korins (4:32.40) and Jimmy Gildea (4:37.0) went 2-4-6 in the 1,600, and the Blue Devils put an exclamation point on its championship with a 1-2-3 sweep in the 3,200. Keith, a sophomore, dropped a huge PR of 9:25.36 to break the meet record, and Conor Daly (9:40.87) and Benjamin Hacker (9:48.36) placed 2-3.
The Union Catholic girls continued its dominance by ringing up 79 points to win their eighth title in a row by 29 points over runner-up Kent Place.
UC had several athletes contribute to the winning effort.
Nyinah, the day after leading off UC's winning 4x800 at the Millrose Games, won the 800 in a NJ No. 4 2:18.41. Thompson, the state leader in the 55 hurdles (8.23), won the hurdles (8.25) and placed second in the 55 dash (7.20). Puryear picked up UC's other victory in the shot put with a throw of 38-11.
Freshman Taylor Cox also had a huge day with a runner-up finish in the hurdles (NJ No. 2 8.36) and a fourth in the dash in 7.40 (7.35 in the prelims). Asydiah Pray-Brown was fourth in the 800 and sixth in the 400, Abby Granrath finished fourth in the 3,200, Leilani Gibson placed fifth in the 1,600, Simone Motley was fourth in the shot, Sydney McDonald was fifth in the 200, Jenna Keith was fifth in the 800, Alexandra Bonn was fifth in the high jump, and the 4x400 relay finished second.
The biggest star of the meet was McQueen, who made history by becoming the first athlete to win four golds at this meet. He won the 400 in 50.38, the 55 dash in a school record 6.50, the 200 in 22.25, and he split 51.5 on the winning 4x400 relay. McQueen just missed breaking meet record of 22.23 that he set in the 200 on the much faster Ocean Breeze track in 2020.
McQueen, who also four golds at the outdoor county meet last spring (100, 200, 400 and 4x400), has now captured an astounding eight individual gold medals (indoors and outdoors combined) at the county championships in his career!! And he has one more county meet to go this spring!!!
Kent Place's runner-up finish was fueled by Lindsay Hausman and Christiana Nwachuku, and Scotch Plains-Fanwood, which placed third, received sensational performances from Julia Jackson and Grace Kennedy.
Hausman, a junior, won the 3,200 in a meet record 11:01.62, and captured the 1,600 in 5:04.19. Nwachuku lowered her state leading time when she won the 55 dash in 7.10, and also captured the 200 in 25.92.
For SPF, the Duke-bound Jackson, the Meet of Champions winner in the 400 last spring, and Kennedy opened the meet by running the two fastest 400 times in the state this season. Jackson won in 56.99 and Kennedy was second in 57.78.
Jackson and Kennedy also ran on the winning 4x400 relay (NJ No. 2 4:00.08). Jackson, who added a runner-up finish in the 55 dash (7.25), is now the state leader in both the 400 and the 200. She ran a NJ No.1 time of 25.17 in the 200 at the Metropolitan Championships last Wednesday.