Union Catholic And Wynn Spark Historic Meet of Champions

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Eye-popping results by Union Catholic and Sianni Wynn of Pennsauken fueled one of the greatest collection of performances in meet history at Sunday's NJSIAA Meet of Champions at Ocean Breeze on Staten Island.

Union Catholic and Wynn combined for six of the nine victories on the track!!

The sheer domination by Union Catholic, who flexed their depth and talent to rack up a meet record five victories, including a 1-2-3 sweep in the 800 and a meet record in the triple jump, and the historic sprint double by freshman phenom Wynn were mind-blowing. 


Union Catholic's epic day got rolling right away when the Vikings won the meet-opening 4x800 relay in 9:28.77, nine second ahead of runner-up Westfield. But that doesn't begin to tell the whole story.

UC won the 4x800 without their three fastest half milers. They went with Jimmiea King (2:19.98), Victoria Urbaez (2:22.42), Alexandra Moore (2:24.21), and Leilani Gibson (2:22.18). There's that depth and talent pool that is unprecedented.  

Next up for UC was Alexandra Bonn in the triple jump. 

The senior not only successfully defended her title, but she soared to a meet record 39-6.25, which placed her No. 10 in state history. Bonn broke the meet record of 38-2, set by Pope John's Teja Brown at the 2020 indoor Meet of Champions.

The Yale-bound Bonn, who also won the TJ at the M of C last spring, missed winning her fourth M of C title by an inch and half when she placed second in the long jump with an 18-0. Lia Malave of Toms River North went 18-1.25 on her final jump to win.            

Then it was Taylor Cox's turn.

Cox, a sophomore at UC, scored one of the mot dramatic wins of the meet when she outleaned Quaycian Davis of East Orange, 7.88 to 7.90. The time by Cox, who leaned so hard that she did a summersault after she crossed the line,  is No. 3 in meet history, tied for No. 5 in state history, and it's No. 4 in the nation this season. The 7.90 by Davis is No. 4 in meet history, and No. 8 in NJ history. 

On the track next for the Vikings were Peyton Hollis, Kaleigh Gunsiorowski, and Maameyaa Nyinah, who pulled of the 1-2-3 sweep, the second time a girls team has ever done that in any event in the 44 year history of the girls M of C. The North Hunterdon girls went 1-2-3 in the 3,200 in 1987.

Hollis, a junior, won in 2:11.92 as she edged Gunsiorowski, second  with a PR of 2:11.95, and Nyinah was third in 2:14.24, just ahead of Kelsey Niglio of Cherokee, fourth in 2:14.27. The victory for Hollis was especially satisfying because she has been building back up after missing the end of the cross-country season with an injury.

Nyinah, Cox, Gunsiorowski, and Hollis returned the track to run the 4x400, and put the finishing touches on Union Catholic's dominating day by finishing first in 3:52.16, the No. 1 time in the state this season,  No. 7 in meet history, and No. 5 in the country this season. 

The 4x400 splits for UC were 58.57 for the North Carolina-bound Nyinah, 57.54 for Cox, 58.03 for the Notre Dame-bound Gunsiorowski, and 58.03 for Hollis.

Oh, I almost forgot. Union Catholic is also the first team to ever win both the 4x800 and 4x400 at the same M of C.

What a day for the Vikings!! 


The only girl to win two individual titles was Wynn, the sizzling sprinter who became the first freshman to win ever two events at this meet. Wynn's winning times of 7.00 in the 55 dash and 24.48 in the 200 are both state freshman records

Wynn, now the fastest freshman in the country in the 55 and the No. 2 among freshmen in the US in the 200, broke the state freshman 55 dash record of 7.04 that she shared with Olympic gold medalist English Gardner of Eastern, and the 24.48 broke Wynn's own state freshman mark of 24.81 that she ran two months ago at the Hispanic Games at the NY Armory.

Wynn, who is also NJ No. 2 in the 400 with a 56.10, capped of her magnificent meet by splitting 57.23 on Pennsauken's 6th-place 4x400 relay team.


Brooke'Lyn Drakeford of Piscataway was one of the biggest stars of the meet.

The University of Virginia-bound Drakeford dropped a massive PR when she went wire-to-wire to win the 400 in 55.51, the 8th fastest time in meet history, the No. 1 time in NJ and  the nation this season.

Drakeford, who won the 400 hurdles at the M of C last June, also burned a 55.76 anchor in the 4x400 to bring Piscataway across the line in second place in 3:54.10, which is NJ No. 3 and US No. 10 this season. 

Rumson sophomore Clemmie Lilley was second to Drakeford in the two-lapper with a huge PR of 56.90, which is NJ No. 4, and the eighth fastest time by a sophomore in the nation this season! Lilley also split 58.76 on the anchor leg to bring Rumson across fifth in 58.76.  


Cate DeSousa of Red Bank Catholic had just one thing missing from her remarkable resume when she toed the line to run the 3,200.

But she took care of that in sizzling fashion as the distance running dynamo, who has been so close to winning her first of C title in the past, got that elusive crown by throwing down the best performance of her life, stopping the clock at 10:16.20.

That's the second best time in meet history (Angelina Perez of Lakeland set the meet record of 10:00.90), is No. 4 in state history, and No. 6 in the nation this season.

The University of Virginia-bound DeSousa, second in the 1,600 at the M of C last spring, execited her race plan to perfection, using a 5:01.94 last 1,600 and 2:23.26 final 800 to pull away for the biggest win of her life.

Leanna Johnston, a senior at Immaculate Heart Academy, was second in 10:26.25, No. 4 in meet history, and is now NJ No. 2 on the season.


Since winning the 1,600 at the Meet of Champions last spring, Emma Zawatski of Freehold Township has handled the pressure of being expected to perform at a high level about as well as you can.

"Pressure makes diamonds,'' said Zawatski.

It sure does for Zawatski, who added another big jewel to her collection to complete the prestigious distance running triple crown by winning the 1,600 in 4:49.53, No. 3 in meet history.

Zawatski has now won Meet of Champions titles in all three seasons, which equals the triple crown. After winning the 1,600 last June, Zawatski captured the XC M of C title, and now she has an indoor championship to finish off the triple crown.

Zawatski was simply too strong for the rest of the field. After sitting behind Julia Scrudato of Montgomery for the first 800, which hit in 2:29.28, Zawatski started to crank it up and take command of the race. She split 2:20.25 for the final 800, and ran 67.43 over the final two laps.

Scrudato, a junior, was second with a PR of 4:52.96, and River Dell junior Christina Allen, a two-time M of C winner outdoors, was third in 4:55.39.


Lia Malave was down to her last attempt and needed the best jump of her life to win the long jump.

The senior at Toms River North came through in the clutch with a dramatic PR and NJ No. 1 leap of 18-1.25 to edge Alexandra Bonn of Union Catholic, second at 18-0. 

Jessica Oji, a sophomore at Livingston, unloaded a 44-8.50 in her first attempt in the shot put, and that throw held as the best of the competition.

Oji, who unloaded a US No. 4 throw of 47-2.25 to win the Group 4 title two weeks ago, defeated defending champion Madison Stevens of Columbia, who was second with mark of 42-0.75.

In a battle between Meet of Champions winners Samantha Strydesky of Howell and defending champ Alanna Woolfolk of Clayton, Strydesky, the outdoor M of C winner last year, won on misses at 5-6. Woolfolk, who was second, has won two M of C titles in the HJ (one indoors and one outdoors)  

Pompton Lakes senior Emma Keating of Pompton Lakes, the pole vault champ at the outdoor M of C last June,  cleared 12-0 to add the indoor title to her resume.