Colts Neck, Rumson, Manchester, WWN, Whittle Shine In CJ

Shamali Whittle lit up the track, the Colts Neck girls made it three in a row, the Manchester boys won their first title, and the Rumson girls and West Windsor-Plainsboro North boys returned to the top at Saturday's NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 2-3 Championships at the Bennett Center in Toms River 

The top performer of the meet was triple-winner Whittle of Hamilton North, who added to history legacy as one of the greatest sprinters in state history by winning the 55 dash in a meet record 6.33, placing first in the 400 in 50.55, and winning the 55 hurdles in 7.57. 

The 6.33 by the University of Georgia-bound Whittle broke the overall sectional record (all Sections and Groups combined) of 6.35 set in 2018 by Mario Heslop of Franklin, is tied for No. 5 on the state's all-time list, and is tied for No. 8 in the country this season. Heslop and Damiere Byrd of Timber Creek share the state record of 6.26. Byrd ran that time when he finished first at the 2011 New Balance Nationals. Heslop matched it when he placed second at the New Balance Nationals in 2018.    


Double winner Nicholas Loffredo was the catalyst for a balanced Manchester Township attack as the Hawks soared to their first title, 60.50-48 over Cinnaminson and Hamilton North, who tied for second. Manchester scored in nine of the ten events en route to the championships.   

Loffredo, a junior who was one of many underclassmen to shine for Manchester, won the 1,600 in 4:24.94, and the 3,200 in 9:46.88. Junior William Freeman also came up huge for the Hawks, placing second in the 400, and the 800, and running a leg on the runner-up 4x400 to clinch the title. Tyrone Benjamin, another junior, showed his versatility by placing fifth in the high jump and sixth in the 55 dash.   

Also for Manchester, sophomore Brian Swain placed third in the pole vault, junior Vander McFarland finished fourth in the high jump, and sophomore Joe Kurak was sixth in the hurdles.   


Malwandla Baloyi's sensational triple and Nikhil Makker's distance double sparked the West Windsor-Plansboro North boys to an overpowering 90-43 victory over runner-up Middletown North in Group 3.

This is the sixth title for WWN. The Knights also captured titles in 2008, '09, '12, '18, and '19.

Baloyi, a senior who one of the state's most versatile stars, cleared a huge PR and NJ No. 3 6-5.25 to win the high jump, made 12-6 to capture the pole vault, and ran 7.96 to finish first in the hurdles. Baloyi's previous best in the high jump was 6-2. For the season, Baloyi now owns PR's of 7.94 in the hurdles, 14-0 in the vault, and 6-5.25 in the high jump. Baloyi is one of the most talented athletes in the state that not many people know about. This performance should change that.

Makker, also a senior, led a potent distance attack for the Knights by leading a 1-2-3 finish in the 3,200 and a 1-3-4 finish in the 1,600 as WW North racked up 44 points in those two races. Makker won the 1,600 in 4:19.99 and placed first in the 3,200 in 9:38.49. Senior Jeffrey Chen was second in the 3,200 and third in the 1,600 for WWN, and senior Anish Agrawal finished third in the 3,200 and fourth in the 1,600.


Juniors Megan Burns and Julia Shanes led the charge for Rumson when the Bulldogs steamrolled their way to a 107-62 victory over runner-up Point Pleasant Boro in Group 2.

It's the seventh sectional title for Rumson. The previous six came in 2012, '13, '14, '15, ,18, and '19.   

Burns led a 1-2-3 finish for Rumson in the 400 with a winning time of 1:00.09, placed third in the 55 dash in 7.48, and ran on the winning 4x400. Freshman Clemmie Lilley finished second in the 400, and senior Chloee Dotts placed third in the 400, and fourth in the 55 dash.

Shanes piled up 20 points by winning the 1,600 in 5:26.12, placing second in the 800, and finishing fifth in the 3,200. Freshman Logan Rettino also came up big for Rumson, finishing second in both the 1,600 and 3,200.       


Colts Neck, led by Lilly Shapiro, owned the distance races and also received a great performance from Kylie Jacoutot on the way to an 80-54 victory over runner-up Middletown North as the Cougars captured their third straight championship.

The University of North Carolina-bound Shapiro led a Colts Neck distance crew that rang up 54 points in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 combined.

In the 800, Shapiro finished first in 2:18.45 to lead a 1-2-5 finish for Colts Neck. Shapiro also won the 1,600 to spark a 1-4-5 finish for Colts Neck. In the 3,200, the Cougars went 1-2 with Presslie Mariner first and  Shapiro second. Olivia Petschauer added a runner-up finish for Colts Neck in the 800, Ashley Pavlovsky finished fourth and Ava Wilmot fifth in the 1,600, and Ava Suhocki placed fifth in the 800.     

Jacoutot had a spectacular meet for Colts Neck.

The junior finished second in the 400 in a season-best 59.95, placed second in the 55 hurdles in 9.28, and ran on the winning 4x400 that clocked a 4:13.89.

In the field events, Colts Neck received a fifth-place from Katherine Taylor in the high jump, and a sixth from Mikaela Hartman in the shot put.