Top Storylines To Watch At The State Group Championships

Group Championships Info Hub 

Here we go!!!!


The NJSIAA Group Championships have arrived, and NJ MileSplit will have you covered with lots of videos, stories, and photos from the three sites around the state. 

To refresh your memory, the Non-Public A and B Championships are at Middletown North High, the Groups 2-4 meet is at Franklin High, and the Groups 2-3 Championships are at Pennsauken High.

I know all you track and field nuts are looking for something to whet your appetite as you get ready to follow all the action. So we've done some digging and have come up with some of the biggest storylines to follow, along with predictions for all 12 teams champions!! See below!!!! 

Good luck, everyone!! Get your PR's on!!! 

What do you say we dive right into this!!





All eyes and stopwatches are sure to be on the one and only Angelina Perez  of Lakeland in the 3,200 and 1,600 this weekend.

Perez, one of the greatest distance runners in state history and the state indoor record holder in the 3,200/2-mile, is a virtual lock to take down her own All Groups meet record of 10:20.25 when she runs in Friday's Group 2 3,200. She ran 10:07.72 in the 3,200 and 4:48.13 in the 1,600 last week to smash the All-Time Sectional records (all Groups combined) in both races at the NJ Sec. 1 meet.

But it remains to be seen how much the University of Florida-bound Perez pushes herself in the 3,200 since she has to come back for the 1,600 on Saturday where she's expected to try to blast a fast time since it will be the final 1,600 of her legendary high school career. The 1,600 should be a dandy between Perez and Metuchen senior Molly Malague, who has run 4:49.98. In case you're wondering, the All-Groups 1,600 record of 4:43.92 was set in 2010 by Olympian and 2022 World Indoor 800 champion Ajee' Wilson of Neptune.    



The Group 4 1,600 and 3,200 titles are up for grabs because of the absence of the state's top two distance runners, Marco Langon of Bridgewater-Raritan and Jackson Barna of Ridge, who would have been the overwhelming favorites to win those races. But they won't be competing, which means that can't run at the Meet of Champions on June 18. 

The Georgetown-bound Barna, who won the 3,200 at the M of C last spring, is gearing up to run the mile at the Brooks PR meet in Seattle before meeting his teammates to run the 4x800 and DMR at the Nike Nationals in Oregon. The Villanova-bound Langon, the M of C winner in XC and in the 3200 indoors, is preparing to run the mile at the NB Nationals in Philadelphia on June 19.       

That leaves the door wide open!!!

So who will win the Group 4 1,600 and 3,200?

The 1,600 is shaping up to be a battle between Kyle Rakitis of Kingsway, who won the 1,600 at the Group 4 meet and at the Meet of Champions last year, and Jacob Heredia of Clifton. The University of Virginia-bound Rakitis ran his PR of 4:08.58 to win the M of C last year, and Heredia dropped a PR of 4:10.50 to win the NJ Sec. 1 race. 

In the 3,200, this really is anyone's race with Heredia, Amiri Whittle of Hackensack, Conor Daly of Westfield, Lucas Reguinho of Elizabeth, and Sahil Sheth of South Brunswick all in the mix. Whittle has run the fastest (9:03.00), but Heredia beat Whittle at the NJ Sec. 1 meet and has run 9:07.11 this season. Daly, who keeps getting faster each week, ran 9:07.38 at the NJ Sec. 2 meet. Sheth has run 9:09.02, and Reguinho's PR is 9:10.13.


Christian Brothers Academy vs Union Catholic!!!

This is the best rivalry in the state, and this latest battle between unbeatens in the Non-Public A meet has the potential to be an instant classic that could be decided by as little as two points if both teams perform the way they are capable of. 

CBA comes into this matchup riding a winning streak of five straight state titles, and the Colts own the state outdoor record with 24 state championships. 

Union Catholic, which knocked off CBA to win the state indoor Non-Public A title, is seeking its fourth state outdoor title (it won in 2013-14-15), and is attempting to complete the triple crown, which consists of winning state titles in all three seasons in the same school year.

CBA has a huge advantage in the throws with shot/discus throwers Robert Manse, Tyler Mayerhoffer, Nick Williams NJ, and Code Abutel, and Jack Ryan, and Jack Ostrowsky in the javelin. Kam Coleman (hurdles and jumps) and distance runners Nick Sullivan and Joe Barrett will need to come up big for CBA to keep its streak alive.  

UC's strength is on the track where they are led by the dynamic distance trio of Shane Brosnan, Jimmy Wischusen and Myles Plummer, and hurdler/sprinter Nick Givan. Brosnan won the 1,600 at the indoor M of C, Wischusen is the state leader in the 3,200 (8:59.63), and Plummer is one of the state's best in the 800. UC also has very strong jumpers in Cameron Campbell and Noah Cooper

These teams are so close on paper that there's a good chance that the team champion won't be decided until the meet-concluding 4x400 relay!! Buckle up!!!


Julia Jackson NJ of Scotch Plains-Fanwood is another huge star who could take down an All-Groups meet record, and she has also has great chance to pull off another quad as she looks to lead SPF to its first state title ever. 

For the second straight week, Jackson, the state leader in the 400 with a 53.12, will be chasing Olivia Baker of Columbia, the former state 400 record holder Olivia Baker.

Last week, Jackson ran 53.69 to break Baker's All-Time sectional record (all Groups combined) of 53.74, which she set in 2014. This week, Jackson's target is Baker's All Groups meet record of 53.51, set at the 2014 Group 4 meet.

Also last week, in addition to her record-breaking one-lap performance, the Duke-bound Jackson won the 100 (12.12) and 200 (24.82) and anchored the winning the 4x400. She is favored to grab gold in all of the events once again, and if she does and leads the Raiders to the team championships, it would go don as one of the best performances in meet history.      

GREAT 800's

With the amount of talent in the state in the boys 800, there promises to be lots of smoke on the track in some the two-lap races. So much so that sub 1:50 and a new All-Groups record are possible. And it could happen in two races.

There are four runners that have the potential to make a run at taking down the All-Groups record of 1:49.59, set in the Group 4 race by Rey Rivera of Old Bridge in 2017.

The Group 4 race is a clash between the two fastest 800 runners in the state this season,  junior Gabriel Rodriguez of Union and senior Charlie Stock of Westfield, who will square off for the third straight week at the Group 4 meet. Rodriguez defeated Stock at the North Jersey, Sec. 2 meet last week, 1:50.82 to 1:51.02.

The Non-Public A two-lapper should be just as hot as junior Collin Boler of Delbarton and Myles Plummer of Union Catholic will go head-to-head. This season, Plummer has run 1:51.39 and Boler 1:52.90, which are the No. 3 and No.4 times in the state. Even if Plummer and Boler don't quite get under 1:50, the Non-Public A record of 1:51.69 set in 2012 by Allen Eke of Union Catholic is very likely to fall.    


Here we go again!!

Familiar GMC rivals South Brunswick and East Brunswick will go toe-to-toe for the fourth time this season in what promises to be a sizzling Group 4 meet, which also features SJ champ Egg Harbor, NJ. Sec. 2 winner Elizabeth, and NJ Sec. 1 winner Ridgewood.   

South Brunswick, which had a staggering total of 19 athletes advance, is seeking to complete its second undefeated season ever. The Vikings completed its only perfect season when it captured the Group 4 title in 2013. 

South Brunswick  is 3-0 vs. East Brunswick this season, winning the GMC Relay title, the GMC track and field championship, and then last week, in perhaps the most impressive all-round team performance by any team in the state at all the sectionals, SB captured the Central Jersey Group 4 title, 133.50 to 93 over EB.

The Vikings are led in the field by jumping stars Damarion Potts and Jacob Brokaw.

Potts has gone NJ No. 1 6-8 in the HJ, NJ No. 4 23-1.50 in the LJ, and 45-2 in the TJ, which is NJ No. 14. Brokaw won the won the CJ TJ title with a 4PR of 5-9.50 and was second in the LJ with a PR of 22-0.  

South Brunswick also has a talented distance ace in Sahil Sheth, who won the CJ sectional title in the 3,200 and was second in the 1,600, a strong sprinter in Matthew Nurse, and a very good javelin thrower in Nicholas Wisbeski.       

EB, seeking its first outright state title (it shared the Group 4 championship with Hackensack in 2010,  will count on has two of the state's biggest stars, Christopher Serrao NJ (hurdles and sprints) and sprinter Jayden Phillip to do most of the scoring. Serrao, who is NJ No. 1in the HH and IH with a 13.81 and a 52.06, and Phillip also run on EB's state leading 4x100 that has run a Middlesex County record record 41.49 and should challenge the meet record of 41.46 set by Franklin in 2017.

While Serrao and Phillip will rack up lots of points, and Egg Harbor and Elizabeth have the potential to be in the hunt, the feeling is that it will be race to 55 points and South Brunswick will get there first and win the team title. 


There should be lots of high flying excitement in the boys Group 4 pole vault when three 15 foot vaulters battle over the bar in what has the makings of a classic competition.

Hillsborough brothers Brian O'Sullivan and Kevin O'Sullivan and Ridgewood's Luke Gnospelius have all been over 15 this season, and are capable of pushing the bar up to 16-0, which is the Group 4 record, or possibly even higher, 

Brian O'Sullivan, a junior, made 16-0.25 indoors, while Kevin is the state leader this season with a 15-6.25, and Gnospelius is NJ No. 4 with the school record 15-1.25 he cleared to win the NJ. Sec. 1 title.       

The Group 4 record of 16-0 was set by Dan Heyburn of Cranford in 1980, and matched by Brian McSweeney of East Brunswick last year. The All-Groups record of 16-2.75 was set in 2004 by Adam Sarafian of Ocean Sarafian, who also owns the state record of 17-4.50.      


Tyler Zawatski of Freehold Township, Benjamin Shue of Bergen Catholic, and the Union Catholic girls all have the number 200 on their minds. 

Zawatski, the defending Group 4 and Meet of Champions winner in the javelin and the state leader in the event with a 197-7, and Shue, who set the national freshman discus record this season and is the state leader with of 193-8, also both aiming to hit that 200 foot barrier. 

The biggest target for the 6-2, 245-pound Shue, who will be competing at the Non-Public A meet, is the national record for a 16-year-old, which is 210-1 set by Jeff Buckey of Bakersfield, Calif. in 1991. The NJ discus record is 218-4, set by 2020 U.S. Olympian Sam Mattis of East Brunswick in 2012.

The Union Catholic girls, who broke their own All-Groups meet record (all Groups combined) by scoring 189 points to win their sixth straight Non-Public A Championship last year, are seeking to become the first team in state history to ring up 200 points at the Group Championships.

To put that into perspective, the maximum amount of points that can be scored is 390, which consists of placing 1-2-3 in the 15 individual events and sweeping the three relays. So to score 200 or more points means a team would score more than half of the total points possible! That would be remarkable, but not surprising considering that this is the best all-round team that UC has ever had, and that's really saying something. UC is loaded with stars, led by by soph. standout Peyton Hollis, the state leader in the 800, freshman Taylor Cox, the state leader in the 100 hurdles, thrower Jada Mia Puryear, the No. 1 discus thrower in the state this season, junior jumper Alexandra Bonn, the triple jump winner at the M of C this past indoor season, and one fof the state's top vaulter/javelin throwers in Daniela Peralta.  UC also a deep stable of sprinters and middle distance runners.       



You can bet that Shamali Whittle of Hamilton North, one of the greatest sprinters in state history, will be looking to go out with a bang when he runs his final two high school races on NJ soil this weekend.

The University of Georgia-bound Whittle, who won the 100 and 200 at the Meet of Champions last spring, will be running those two races tat the Group 2 Championships. But he said he won't be defending his M of C titles because he will be racing at the New Balance Nationals instead, which is being held on same weekend at Franklin Field in Philadelphia. 

Whittle, who won the 200 at the NB National meet indoors, has nothing left to prove against NJ competition, so targeting his first outdoor national title makes perfect sense. 

Whittle's personal bests are 10.48 in the 100 and his 20.55 earlier this season in the 200 is the second fastest all-conditions time in state history. Only Antonio Tarantino of Paul VI (a 2.8 wind-aided 20.51 in 2018 ) has run faster in NJ history than Whittle.        


One of the biggest locks for a team title this weekend is the Clayton girls in Group 1.

Last week, senior triplets Arianna Sharpe, Amirah Sharpe, and Ariel Sharpe, who are all competing this season under the Bridge Program, combined to account for 90 points when Clayton won its second straight SJ title last week. And there is a good chance they could rack up close to that many points again this weekend when they compete in their final high school meet in NJ. The Sharpe triplets will be competing at the New Balance Nationals instead of the Meet of Champions.     

Last week, Arianna was the biggest winner, collecting four gold medals and rack ng up 40 points. She won the 100 with a NJ No. 4 time of 12.03, the 200 with a NJ No. 1 time of 24.25, the 400 with a NJ No. 2 and an overall SJ sectional record time of 53.49, and she ran on the winning 4x400 (3:56.73). The All Group meet records of 23.1 in the 200, and 53.51 in the 400 are in Arianna's crosshairs!! 

Amirah won the 400 hurdles in 1:01.66, placed second in the 200 in 24.35, which equals Arianna for the top time in the state, placed second in the 400 in a NJ No. 3 53.60 (also under the former overall SJ sectional record), and ran on the victorious 4x400.

Ariel placed third in both the 200 (25.84) and the 400 (57.27), placed second in the 400 hurdles in 1:06.1, and finished fourth in the 800 (2:24.94).

Sophomore Alanna Woolfolk, the  indoor M of C winner in the high jump, also had a big meet for Clayton last week, winning the high jump at 5-6, and placing third in the long jump (15-6).

No one is beating Clayton!!! 


The Willingboro boys are on the verge of making state history at the Group 2 meet. If the Chimeras, who are heavily favored to win after its huge victory at the SJ meet last week, finish first then Willingboro would become the first program to ever capture a State  Championship in all four public school Groups. 

Willingboro won Group 4 titles in 1979, 1981, 1982, 1990, 1991, 1993, and 1994. It captured the Group 3 championships in 1986, 1988, 1989, 2002, and 2003, and then the Chimeras finished first in Group 1 in 2019. After placing second behind Clayton in Group 1 last year, the Boro moved up to Group 2 this season.            


There are several team titles that are so close to call.

In the girls Group 2 competition, Central Jersey champ Rumson, CJ runner-up Metuchen, NJ Sec. 1 winner Demarest, and Lakeland, the third in NJ Sec. 1, are all by about 12 points apart on paper. But Rumson, led by senior standout Chloee Dotts and freshman star Clemmie Lilley, appears to be the only team that can get to 60 points, which looks like the magic number.

The battle for the girls Group 3 is another toss up. 

Old Tappan, the NJ. Sec. 1 winner, CJ champ Colts Neck, Timber Creek, the SJ winner, NJ. Sec. 2 champ North Hunterdon, and Mendham are all contenders. It seems like whichever team can get to 45 points will take home the trophy. If defending champion Colts Neck is able to win without injured star Lilly Shapiro that would be one of the most amazing stories of the season! 

The boys Groups 1 and 3 meets should also be barn burners.

In Group 1, the top three teams from NJ Sec. 1, Emerson, Kinnelon, and Wallkill Valley, are separated by just a few points and could go 1-2-3. SJ co-champs Salem and Audubon, CJ winner Dayton, and NJ Sec. 2 champ Whippany Park will try to spring the upset. 

The Group 3 team title looks like it will come down to a SJ showdown between defending champ Pennsauken and Delsea, which defeated Pennsauken, 105-92, to capture its fifth straight sectional title last week. 



GROUP 4: South Brunswick
GROUP 3: Delsea
GROUP 2: Willingboro
GROUP 1: Emerson
NON-PUBLIC A: Union Catholic


GROUP 4: Scotch Plains-Fanwood
GROUP 3: Old Tappan
GROUP 2: Rumson
GROUP 1: Clayton
NON-PUBLIC A: Union Catholic
NON-PUBLIC B: Morris Catholic