A Look Into the Ocean County Championships

The County championships (In this case Ocean) are usually the "begining" of the indoor track and field season.  It's really a mark of when teams need to make some statements as they head into "championship season" The Shore Conference (Monmouth and Ocean county) year after year have some of the states top runners and contenders for state championships.  This year is no different.  From the 55m down to the shot put a county championship title in the Shore Conference is one to charish.

55m - This race will most certainly come down to two former teammates, Jihaad Howard who hails from Brick Memorial (formerly Lakewood) and current Lakewood junior Ahmier Dupree.  Both have the top two times in Ocean county this early season, 6.57 for Howard (which happens to be #1 in NJ) and Dupree at 6.70.  Both of them ran their season best times in the same meet at the Shore Divisional meet on January 2nd, so look for both of them to be on their game.  Prediction - Jihaad Howard 6.52

400m - This race, like the 55m, is most certain to come down to two runners.  Right now in Ocean County two quarter-milers are clear above the rest, Jackson’s Gilson Cortes who leads the county with a time of 51.71 and Toms River East's Evan Desaulniers who has a season best of 51.81.  The two of them ran those times at the same meet (Merli, in December) where they were not in the same heat so this looks to be the first real head to head matchup of the season.  Both will be roaring around the final turn in hopes of their first county crown.  Prediction - Evan Desaulniers 51.02

800m - The 800m could be one of the most wide open races of the night.  There is no real clear cut favorite here.  Greg Caldwell of Jackson Memorial surely has the fastest PR running 1:58.75 last outdoor season, but has only mustered a 2:03 this indoor season.  There are a crew of runners ranging from 2:07 to 2:03 that may have a chance given the right race.  With Caldwell's experince and speed I think he trumps the younger runners.  Prediction - Greg Caldwell 2:00.21

1600m – This year’s 1600m race could come down to two of the states finest distance runners.  Joe Kotran (TRN) and Matt Valeriani (Southern Regional).  Both of them are capable of getting really close to 4:22.0.  Throw in Aaron Leskow and you have yourself one fine race.  Either of the three have a shot at taking the victory.  Coming around the bell lap they will all be in full sprint mode.  Prediction - Matt Valeriani 4:23.34

3200m – It's likely that the three stud milers will try to double in the 3200m and yet again will come down to one of them.  Don't count out Freshman sensation Matt Nelson who has a personal best of 9:47 a little slower than the other three but he has nothing to lose.  It's it's a fast pace Joe Kotran is the favorite.  Prediction - Joe Kotran 9:28.45

55HH -  The lone hurdle event will be a battle between Jackson Memorial and Manchester.  Each school has two hurdlers clear above the rest.  Adam Stokes and Mike Kaba for Jackson Memorial and Stephan Jokic and John Rementer for Manchester.  This event always comes down to who makes the least mistakes.  Prediction – One of the four of them in a season best

4x400m Relay – Jackson Memorial seems to be a bit faster than the others here.  Monsignor Donovan has recently run 3:33.91 at the State Relay Championships so look for them to push Jackson Memorial to the wire.  Prediction – Jackson Memorial 3:31.56

High Jump – Perennially the Shore Conference has never been very deep in the high jump, sure they have had 7 footers and a slew of 6-8’s and 6-10’s, but never very deep.  This year is more of the same except there are no 6-8’s.  Just two 6-2’s and a bunch of 6 footers.  Sorry guys but this event will not be the highlight of the night.  Prediction – Somebody jumps 6-2 on their first attempt to win it

Pole Vault – The pole vault is one of those events you just never know what to expect.  Sure Eric Cottrell (Toms River South) has jumped 14-0 and nobody else has even cleared 13-6  but the pole vault is so inconsistent on a week to week basis that you never know what your going to get.  Going out on a limb this one is going to be a slight upset.  Prediction – Nick Pirrera (TRN) over Cottrell 13-6

Shot PutIn a down year for Ocean County the shot put has yet to see someone throw 50-0, we haven’t even seen someone throw 49-0.  Adam Skidmore (Central Reg), probably the class of this field shouldn’t have a problem topping the rest of the field.  Don’t sleep on Jim Morris (TRS) though he has a personal best of 53-0.5 and just needs one through to rip this event wide open.  Prediction – Jim Morris get’s back to last year’s throws and launches a 50 footer to win

55m – For the girls this is the easiest event for me to call.  Barring some kind of catastrophe (i.e. a false start) Tylia Gillon (Jackson Memorial) is going to dominate this event.  With a season best time of 7.26 she is clearly out in front of the rest of the county.  Gillon has gotten as low as 7.13 indoors and with a good start could be there again.  Prediction – duhh

400m – This event could get interesting.  With Chelsea Cox still in school (she’s now a senior) you would guess she would be the clear cut favorite.  That depends on how healthy she is.  Just the other night at the Group IV relays, Cox anchored Southern’ Sprint Medley Relay and did not look herself.  So much so that she was walked down by a Sophomore from Washington twp.  Her split was somewhere in the ballpark of 2:17, not your every day Chelsea Cox.  Was she sick, tired, or just had a bad race?  I’m certain it’s one of them.  If Cox is healthy and ready to race it doesn’t matter who is in this race, she wins.  Prediction – Chelsea Cox 57.40

800m – Once again this one if Cox’s for the taking, but it’s hard saying if she’ll run.  If she does no question she wins but let’s play devil’s advocate and say she doesn’t this race would then become a wide open race.  Elissa Knight, Cox’s teammate has the fastest open 800m coming in with a time of 2:25.53 but Jacquelin Kemmer of Toms River North is right on her heels with a time of 2:25.86. Prediction – Elissa Knight 2:24.80

1600m – Corrie Gethard (Southern Regional) is clearly the favorite here.  A season best time of 5:19.50 that was run last decade (December 19th) puts her more than 4 seconds in front of the next fastest in the county, which happens to be teammate Chelsea Cox which I highly doubt is running this.  After Cox the next closest competitor is Jacquelin Kemmer of Toms River North at 5:36.16.  Prediction – Corrie Gethard gets her first county crown winning in 5:12.35

3200m – Gethard could take the only individual double on the day (since there is no 200m for Tylia Gillon to run in) by winning the 3200m.  It is likely she will try to double as Southern will need those valuable points to hold off Toms River North for the team title.  She is the clear favorite again and will likely take the victory.  Prediction Corrie Gethard 11:36.xx

55HHThree runners stand out in the lone hurdle event and it will be a battle of underclassmen.  Samantha Jensen (Central Regional), Samantha Rodriguez (Southern Regional) and Katherine Frye (Pt. Boro).  Jensen has the fastest open time coming in having run 8.74 at the Shore Divisional meet, but Rodriguez and Frye are not far behind with times of 8.88 and 8.98 respectively.  Those three are the only runners under 9.00.  Prediction – Samantha Rodriguez 8.61

4x400mThis will absolutely be a battle for the team title as Toms River North, Jackson Memorial and Southern Regional will all be fighting for the crown not only in this race but overall.  Toms River North comes in with the fastest time running 4:04.35 just this past weekend at the State Group IV relays.  Jackson Memorial posted a 4:05.51 at the Ocean County Relay on January 9th and finishing just behind Toms River North on Sunday was Southern Regional in 4:06.66.  Winner of this race might very well take the team title.  Prediction – If Chelsea Cox is healthy enough coming into the meet she will anchor this race and lead Southern to a repeat title.

High Jump – Three Ocean County jumpers have cleared 5-2 or better this season.  Elly Wardle (Toms River South), Brooke Angellella (Southern Regional) and Colleen McAndrews (Toms River North) with another 4 jumpers clearing 5-0.  This is one of the most inconsistent events at the Jersey Shore.  Taking a shot in the dark, Prediction – Brooke Angellella 5-4

Pole Vault – This year’s vault will most certainly be dominated by two jumpers.  Dana Schweiger (Toms River North) and Chelsea Vaughan (Southern Regional).  Coming in Schweiger has the top jump this season with an 11-6 at the Shore Divisional meet, and Vaughan has a jump of 10-6 at the state relays this past Sunday.  Schweiger has jumped 11-6 4 times so look for her to have the advantage.  Vaughan, will definitely need a personal best to have a shot to beat Schweiger.  Prediction – Dana Schweiger 11-6

Shot Put – There are two shot putters that are about a foot further than the next closest competitor.  Taylor Jacobs (Toms River North) and Tilah Young (Barnegat).  Jacobs leads the county with a toss of 37-9.25 at the Frostbite Fieldeventapalooza while Young has thrown 37-6.5 at the Shore Divisional meet.  Both are seniors and have the experience to outlast a crew of underclassmen below them.  Prediction – Taylor Jacobs 37-11