Xavier Donaldson took over the state lead in the 400-meter run to highlight a big day for Seton Hall Prep, the Livingston girls jumped out to a big lead, and Elizabeth Fitzgerald of Montclair smashed a record on the first day of the Essex County Championships on Thursday at historic Woodman Field in Montclair.
The second and final day of the meet is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. on Friday at Woodman Field.
Donaldson, a junior, led a remarkable 1-3-4 finish for Seton Hall Prep with his NJ No. 1 time of 47.70!! Donaldson, who also placed second in the 100, finished 10 meters ahead of runner-up Cashieve Blair of Irvington, who ran a NJ No. 4 48.23. Seton Hall juniors Nicholas DeVita (a big PR of 49.27) and Ryan Matulonis (a PR of 50.05) finished 3-4 as defending champion Seton Hall racked up 20 its 56 points to take a commanding 35-point lead over East Orange Campus.
Matulonis got Seton Hall off to a great start when he won the 400 hurdles, the first event, in 53.95. That's just off his PR and NJ No. 3 time of 53.58 that he ran at the Morris Hills Relays last month.
Seton Hall Prep also picked up a key 3-4 in the discus from senior Kyalo Mutuku (PR of 131-0) and sophomore Tyler Dunn (PR of 129-1), and a second place finish from senior Reece Watkins in the high jump (6-0).
In the girls team competition, Livingston holds a 54.33-30 lead over defending champion Montclair.
Livingston scored 40.33 points in the field!
Livingston, coming off the American Division team title at the SEC Championships last weekend, went 1-2 in the javelin as junior Erica Wang (102-7) and freshman Jessica Oji (102-2) each unloaded personal best throws. Oji also finished third in the shot put with a throw of 37-6.50. The Lancers picked up 16.33 more points in the pole vault as senior Summer Yung (9-0), sophomore Sophia Scharf (8-0), and sophomore Jessica Su went 2-3-4.
The biggest highlight of the meet in the girls competition came in the pole vault.
Fitzgerald, a senior, cleared 12-1 to shatter the meet record of 11-6 and earn a share of the state season lead with junior Lauren Cashman of Montgomery, who made 12-1 on Tuesday to win the vault at the Somerset County Championships. Fitzgerald's previous PR was the 12-0 she made to place fourth at the Meet of Champions last June.
In a battle between two of the top throwers in the state, Columbia sophomore Madison Stevens NJ, the indoor Meet of Champions shot put winner, improved her NJ No. 2 throw to 42-7 to defeat West Orange senior Olivia Prescott, second with a 40-10.25.