Angelina Perez NJ of Lakeland Regional and the Willingboro boys made state history, Shamali Whittle sizzled in the sprints, and the Rumson-Fair Haven rocked the girls team competition at the State Group 2 Championships at Franklin High School in Somerset.
Here are the highlights from an amazing two days of running, jumping, and throwing.
Girls Group 2
Perez strengthened her case to be regarded as the greatest female distance runner in NJ history, and the Rumson girls got off to a fast start and kept the pedal to the metal all the way to the finish line as the Bulldogs defeated runner-up Demarest, 64-51, to captured their third state title in school history. Rumson also won the girls Group 2 Championship in 2019, and shared the Group 2 crown with Ewing in 2008.
Perez, headed to the University of Florida, which captured the NCAA Division 1 title this weekend, produced a performance for the ages on Friday when she stopped the clock at 9:53.29 to shatter the State and All Groups meet record in the 3,200. Perez came back Saturday to win the 1,600 in dramatic fashion when she edged Molly Malague of Metuchen to win the 1,600 in 4:48.65.
Lilley, a freshman, was simply spectacular!
On Friday, Lilley ran on Rumson's 4x100 relay that finished first in 49.27, and about 20 minutes later she placed third in the 800 in 2:17.88. On Saturday, Lilley burned up the track by winning the 400 in a personal best 56.57, and then the young star put an exclamation point on Rumson's march to the team title with a 57.41 anchor carry to bring the Bulldogs across the line first in the 4x400 in 4:02.45.
Dotts, a senior, was also sensational for the Bulldogs. She finished second in the 200 (25.39), second in the 400 (a PR of 57.60), fifth in the 100 (a PR of 12.59), and she anchored the winning 4x100.
Rumson also picked up a third-place from its 4x800 squad (9:37.32), received a fifth in the 800 from sophomore Katie Murray (a PR of 2:20.59), and a sixth from junior Julia Shanes in the 1,600 (5:13.12). Other key contributors were junior Megan Burns and senior Tyler Argilagos, who ran on the victorious 4x100 and 4x400 relays, and sophomore Ryan Malone, who ran a leg on the 4x100.
OTHER BIG HIGHLIGHTS
Molly Malague of Metuchen, who is headed to Harvard, ran two of the fastest times in meet history in the 3,200 and 1,600 as she finished as the runner-up in both races to Perez. In the 3,200, Malague ran 10:16, which is No. 9 in state history and smashed her own Middlesex County record. Malague's second-place finish in the 1,600 in 4:48.71 also broke her own Middlesex County record.
Demarest swept the throws for the second straight year!!!!
Wake Forest-bound Casey Sullivan, the Meet of Champions shot put winner last spring, won her second straight shot put title for Demarest with a throw of 42-2, and she won her first state discus championship with a 134-3. Sullivan is the state leader in the shot with a 45-8. Meanwhile, Princeton-bound Nicole Woods, the M of C winner in the javelin last year, repeated as champion for Demarest with a throw of 147-4. Woods is the state leader in the javelin with a 149-11.
Sophomore Jianna Molin burned up the track for Nottingham, winning the 100 on Friday in 12.24, and the 200 on Saturday with a school record 25.28.
River Dell sophomore Christina Allen smashed a pair of school records when she won the 800 in 2:12.19, and placed third in the 1,600 in 4:53.50!
Junior Shea Burke of Point Pleasant Boro made it two straight titles in the 100 hurdles with a time of 14.83. Burke ran 14.71 in the trials.
Boys Group 2
Shamali Whittle of Nottingham, one of the greatest sprinters in state history, smashed two meet record and in his final high school meet in N.J., and Willingboro set one of the most unique records in meet history when the Chimeras rolled to an 86.50-4 victory over runner-up Haddonfield.
The University of Georgia-bound Whittle won his final two state titles on the same track where he won the first state title of his life.
A decade ago as an eight-year-old, Whittle won the state championship in the 400 on the same oval, and it all came full circle as Whittle won the 100 on Friday in a meet record 10.49, and then on Saturday he ran 21.17 to take down the 200 record. Last year, Whittle won the 100 and 200 at the State Group 3 Championships.
Whittle's 10.49 is just off his 10.48 PR from the Meet of Champions last year, is No. 2 in the state this season, and it broke the Group 2 record of 10.60 shared by three sprinters. The 21.17 by Whittle and smashed the Group 2 record of 21.35 set in 2019 by Daniel Duncan of North Plainfield.
Whittle, who ran a 20.55 (No. 2 in state history for all conditions) earlier this season, won the 200 at the New Balance Indoor Nationals in March, will run at the New Balance Nationals next week rather than defend his 100 and 200 titles at the Meet of Champions. Whittle wants to add an outdoor national title to his remarkable resume.
In the team competition, Willingboro became the first program to ever capture State Championships in all four public school Groups as the Chimeras raised their total to 14 state titles, the 14th most in state history. Only Christian Brothers Academy (24), Montclair (21), and Glen Ridge (15) have won more.
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.
Several athletes contributed in the dominating victory for Willingboro.
Senior Anaias Hughes won the high jump on Friday with a personal-best 6-4, and ran a PR of 14.29 to win the 110 hurdles on Saturday. C.J. Johnson won the shot (56-11.75) and placed second in the discus (162-9). Sophomore sprint star Malachi James placed second in both the 100 (10.49) and the 200 (21.69).
Willingboro also picked up won the 4x100 relay (42.70) as Miles Allen, Jackson Murry, Rae-Jaun Gayle, and Jaylen Young shared the baton, and placed second in the 4x400 as Allen, Geordan Collins, Young and Chris Johnson combined to run 3:21.85.
OTHER BIG HIGHLIGHTS
Metuchen's Brandon Sinclair was one of the biggest stars of the weekend.
On Friday, the junior avenged his loss in the Central Jersey, Group 2 meet, by running PR of 1:55.07 to win the 800. Then on Saturday, he took the baton in fifth place and split 1:52.14 as he came roaring back from way behind on the anchor leg to give the Bulldogs a dramatic win in the 4x800 in 8:01.97, just ahead of Cedar Creek, (8:02.31).
The first three legs for Metuchen's all-underclassmen 4x800 consisted of sophomore Juan Nicholas Hidalgo (2:03.26),sophomore Alex Patelski (2:01.72), and freshman Eric Schleif (2:04.70), who all PR'd as the Bulldogs sliced nearly 15 seconds off its winning time of 8:15.91 at the Central Jersey meet last week.
Haddonfield's Seth Clevenger and George Andrus, who have both overcome significant injuries during their careers, dominated the 1,600 and 3,200. Clevenger, who is headed to Iowa State, won the 3,200 on Friday in 9:08.92, and captured the 1,600 in 4:11.90 on Saturday. Andrus, a junior, was second in both races in 4:17.37, and 9:09.38.
Clevenger has now captured state titles in all three seasons this school year. He won the Group 2 title in cross-country, the Group 2 1,600 indoors, and now has two outdoor titles. What an amazing career!!!!
Max Zuckerman of Pascack Hills won his second straight pole vault title in dramatic fashion when he made 15-6 to win a jump-off vs. Cnnor Munson of Westwood. After both vaulters missed their third attempts at 15-6, the bar stayed at that height for the jump-off, and Zuckerman, who used a new and bigger pole when he got to 15-6, made it and Munson missed.
Alexander Sadikov of Ocean Township, who got DQ'd for pushing over a hurdle when his steps where off in the 400 hurdles on Friday, got the redemption he was seeking on Saturday when he won two gold medals.
Sadikov, a junior who placed second in the 400 at the Nike Indoor Nationals, ran a season best and NJ No. 7 48.15 to win the 400, and split 48.76 to anchor Ocean Township's winning 4x400 (3:21.51).
Manchester Township swept the horizontal jumps as senior D'Maari Brown shattered the school record when he won the triple jump with a 47-0.50, and junior Al-Mubaraq-Aderogba soared 22-0.50 to win the long jump.
Senior Daniel Jakubowski-Lewis of Roselle dropped a big PR when he won the 400 hurdles in 54.42. Jakubowski recently had a bout with bronchitis that slowed him up, but he got healthy in time to score the biggest win of his career.