Whippany Park swept the Group 1 titles, Ridge captured its eighth straight girls crown and state record 10th overall, Westfield won its first boys Group 4 trophy, and Jackson Barna, Marco Langon and Charles Stock smashed records at the North Jersey, Section 2 Group 1-4 Championships on Saturday at the Bennett Center in Toms River.
WHIPPANY'S BROOM JOB
For the third time since the sectional championships began in 2008, Whippany Park broke out the brooms and swept the Group 1 championships. The Wildcats also pulled off the daily double in 2015 and 2016.
This is the second straight title for the Whippany Park girls, which outscored Morris County rival Hanover Park, 72-62, and their fifth overall. They also won in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2020. The meet wasn't held last year.
Guerard, a sophomore, won the pole vault and high jump. Kelly O'Grady placed second in the 400 and 800 and anchored the winning 4x400 relay, and Colleen O'Grady led off the victorious 4x400 and finished second in the 55 dash.
On the boys side, Whippany Park defeated runner-up Verona, 63-38, to capture its sixth sectional trophy. The other five came in 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016, and 2018.
Matt Griffin led the charge for Whippany Park. The junior won the 400 in 52.36, placed second in the 800 in 2:14.66, and ran on the winning 4x400 relay that ran 3:46.62.
BLUE DEVILS RUNAWAY WITH FIRST TITLE
Westfield continued one of its greatest seasons ever by rolling to its first sectional title, 76-52 over runner-up Ridge.
The biggest highlight for Westfield came from senior Charles Stock.
Stock, the state leader in the 800 this season with a 1:55.02, smashed the overall sectional record (all sections and Groups combined) by winning the two-lapper in 1:55.55. The former record was 1:55.87 by Brad Paternostro of Ramapo in 2011.
Westfield, the Union County champs this season, also picked up a victory from Max Owens in the pole vault (13-3). The well-balanced attack by the Blue Devils also featured a 2-3-4 finish in the 3,200 from Avery Keith (9:22.14), Conor Daly (9:26.58), and Benjamin Hacker (9:31.40). Keith, a sophomore, also finished fourth in the 1,600 in 4:22.94.
Westfield also picked up a third from Owen Paul in the shot put, and a 2-3 from Justin Colby and Charles Garrettson in the 400, a fourth from Leo Schwartz in the high jump, a fourth from Ben Spergel in the hurdles, a sixth from Jonathan Scalia in the 800.
CLASH OF TITANS
This time it happened twice!!
In a pair of epic showdowns between two of the best distance studs in the nation, Barna and Langon pushed each other to the fastest 1,600 and 3,200 races in meet history as they split the two showdowns.
The Georgetown-bound Barna came out on top in the 1,600 with a PR of 4:09.96 to Langon's 4:11.40 as both runners ran well under the former overall meet record (all sections and all Groups combined). The former meet record of 4:14.43 was set in 2010 by Curtis Richburg of West Orange.
Langon, who is headed to Villanova, avenged that defeat later in the meet in the 3,200 by winning with a US No. 6 time of 9:05.09. Barna, was second in 9:11.21. Langon broke the overall meet record of 9:10.21 set in 2018 by current Stanford star Devin Hart of Point Pleasant Boro.
How fast are these guys going to run in the 1,600 at the State Group 4 race when you add Kyle Rakitis of Kingsway into the mix. Rakitis won the 1,600 at the Meet of Champions last spring in 4:08.58. Langon has run 4:07.18 for the mile this season, and now Barna is under 4:10!!
RIDGE KEEPS ROCKING
Led by the sensational all-round performance of Maura Medenilla and two victories in the field events, the Ridge girls extended its remarkable winning streak to eight in a row with a 66-41 victory over runner-up Elizabeth.
Ridge is now tied with Bernards (2009-20015) for the longest sectional winning streak in state history, and now owns the state record for the most sectional titles ever won with 10. Ridge also won the NJ. Sec. 2 Group 3 titles in 2008 and '09.
Medenilla, a senior, placed second in the 400, second in the 800, second in the 800, and she ran on the fourth-place 4x400 to account for 28 points for Ridge.