NJ Stars Shine At NCAA Conference Championships

New Jersey's biggest stars shined all across the country and many produced some eye-popping performances during the NCAA Conference Championships this weekend.

There were several meet records, conference records, big victories, school records and PR's set by the athletes from the Garden State.  And two athletes, Liam Murphy (Villanova) and Ryan Matulonis (UPenn) were named Athletes of the Meet at their respective conference championships.    

We have been digging through all the results to list as many NJ highlights as possible. If we missed someone who deserves to be listed, please let us know so we can add them.   

Here is what we've found so far. 


Liam Murphy and Sean Dolan turned in historic performances for Villanova at the Dr. Conrad Worrill Track and Field Center at Gatley Park in Chicago.

Murphy, named the Co-Outstanding Performer of the Meet in the track events, crossed the finish line first in the 3K in 7:42.51 and teammate Marco Langon (Bridgewater-Raritan High) was right behind him in second-place in 7:43.83 as the pair both destroyed the previous meet record of 7:52.02 that was set by Eric Van Der Els of Connecticut in 2022. Murphy had set Villanova's previous indoor 3K record of 7:45.67 in February 2023 in Boston. He now holds the absolute record, with Saturday's time beating Nova's outdoor mark of 7:43.0 set by Sydney Maree at the Oregon Twilight Meet on June 9, 1979.

Langon (2:56.06 for 1,200) and Murphy (3:59.33 on the anchor) also bookended Nova's winning DMR squad that ran 9:37.24  

The 3K times by Murphy and Langon should qualify both for the NCAA Championships next month in Boston.

An interesting note about Langon's time of 7:43.83. It is more than eight seconds faster than the U20 American record of 7:52.39 set in 2022 by Parker Wolfe of the University of North Carolina, but USATF rules state that U20 records are restricted to athletes who don't turn 20 during the calendar year in which the mark is made. Langon will turn 19 in August. Seems like a silly rule! How about making U20 records count if your under 20 when you set the mark! After all, isn't that what under 20 really means!!!  Under current rules, someone can run under the U20 American record in any event on Jan. 1, but it won't count as a record if they were born on Dec. 31 of that same year. Come on! Make it make sense!   
One of the most anticipated races of the weekend was the final of the men's 800 meters in which defending champion Dolan and Tinoda Matsatsa of Georgetown were each ranked in the top-10 nationally entering the meet. Dolan left nothing to chance in his pursuit of a third straight indoor 800 meter title, as he went out hard with the lead and held on by eight-hundredths of a second at the finish line. Dolan's winning time of 1:46.90 broke the BIG EAST meet record of 1:47.53 that Dolan set two years ago, as well as the indoor school record of 1:46.96 which Dolan set at Penn State last month. Dolan is the first three-time champion in the indoor 800 meters in meet  history.

UConn's Mawali Ossuniyi (Mainland) cleared 7-0.25 to win the high jump to help the Huskies win the team championship. 

Georgetown senior Tim McInerney (CBA) was fourth in 1:47.70, and ran a 49.11 leg on the runner-up 4x400 that ran 3:13.15. Georgetown's Nick Givan (Union Catholic) placed 7th in the 400 in 50.18 (48.84 in the trials), and led off the 4x400 for the Hoyas with a 48.92 split.  
Georgetown's Jackson Barna (Ridge High) finished 9th in the 3K in 8:11.65.

Georgetown's Maya Drayton (Cherry Hill East) ran 24.18 to win the women's 200!

Marquette's Zachariah Murray (Haddonfield High) finished second in the men's 400 in a school record 47.97! !

Georgetown junior Chloe Gonzalez (North Hunterdon) finished third in the mile in 4:44.60 and ran on the third-place 4x800. 

The women's 60 hurdles final featured four NJ girls, including three former teammates at Union Catholic.

UConn's Jailyah Ash (Eastern) placed second in 8.23, UConn's A'liyah Thomas (Union Catholic) finished third in 8.29, Villanova's Ajanae Thompson (Union Catholic) was fourth in 8.55 (8.43 in the trials), and Felicia Quainoo (Union Catholic) was 8th in 9.22 (8.89 in the trials).

Thomas also soared 19-6.25 to place second in the women's long jump for UConn.


Princeton captured its ninth straight men's title and 25th overall, the University of Pennsylvania women, sparked by several NJ stars, won its seventh team championship, and Ryan Matulonis of UPenn, a freshman who starred at Seton Hall Prep, was named Athlete of the Meet!!!

Matulonis smashed his own UPenn school record and set a new meet record and an Ivy League record by winning the men's 500 in 1:01.22. Matulonis broke the school record of 1:01.90 that he ran two weeks ago, and took down the all-time Ivy League record of 1:01.36 set in 2000 by Trinity Gray of Brown!! 

Matulonis capped off his remarkable meet by splitting 47.70 as the anchor on the 4x400 that finished second in a school record 3:12.16!! How awesome is that!

For the Princeton men, freshman Collin Boler (Delbarton) won the 1,000 in 2:22.28 and ran a 1:52.06 third leg on the winning 4x800 that finished in 7:32.85. 

Sophomore Greg Foster (Lawrenceville Prep) won his third Ivy League long jump title by soaring 25-2, and was second in the triple jump with a season best 50-2. Foster won the Ivy long jump title as a freshman last year and captured that championship during the outdoor season. 

Princeton freshman Zach Della Rocca (Princeton High) tied the all-time Ivy League record in the men's 60m dash with his meet record time of 6.67 in Saturday's trials. He finished second in Sunday's final in 6.71, just .005 behind Dimitri Nicholson of UPenn. Della Rocca also placed second in the 200 in 21.21. 

Jack Stanley (Mendham High) led off Princeton's third-place DMR with a 3:05.65 1,200 leg, and ran 4:05.71 to place fourth in the mile.

For the UPenn women, junior Aliya Garozzo (Paul VI High) had a huge meet for the Quakers. She ran a UPenn school record of 8.29 inthe trials of the 60 hurdles on Saturday, and came back Sunday to win the final in 8.5 37. Garozzo also placed fourth in the 400 in 54.95 and put an exclamation point on Penn's team title with a 53.60 anchor carry to bring the Quakers across first in meet record 3:35.73.

UPenn sophomore Christiana Nwachuku (Kent Place) was second in the 60 dash in 7.42, third in the 200 in 23.97, and led off the winning 4x400 with a 54.90 carry.

Also for UPenn, freshman Samantha Strydesky (Howell High) was fourth in the high jump (5-7.75), Lily Orr (Rumson) was fifth in the 500 in 1:15.81, and Lily Murphy (Oak Knoll) finished fifth in the 5K in 16:10.22.

Also at the Ivy League Championships, Columbia senior Nicole Vanasse (Pingry) won the mile at the Ivy League Championships with a PR of 4:36.52.

Brady Shute of Cornell (Woodbury High) was fourth in the 1K in 2:24.42. Shute broke the Cornell school record on Saturday when he ran 2:23.51 in the first round of the 3K.

UPenn's Edwin Klanke (St. Peter's Prep) was fifth in the mile in 4:05.83 and he anchored the 5th place DMR with a 4:11.89. 


Penn State graduate student Cheickna Traore, a 2019 graduate of Snyder High who also compete at Ramapo College, was a triple gold medalist, and Alex Carlson (North Hunterdon High) put the finishing touches on a great weekend for Rutgers with two gold medals on the final day of competition at the Big Ten Indoor Championships at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.

Traore lit up the sprints for the Nittany Lions, earning three Big Ten titles on Saturday. Traore re-set his own school record with a 6.54 to win the men's 60m, clocked a 20.44 to win the men's 200m, and split 44.6 as the anchor the twinning men's 4x400-meter relay team, which ran 3:06.36!!! How awesome s that!! Traore is Penn State's first-ever indoor 200-meter Big Ten Champion.

Carlson's golds gave the Scarlet Knights women seven over the two-day meet and helped the squad rack up 61 points, finishing seventh out of 13 schools. It marked the highest point total and team finish at the Big East Indoor Championships in the program's history.

Rutgers secured 15 podium finishes and 21 performances that ranked on the school's top-10 all-time list.

"I'm so proud of this team," said Bobby Farrell, director of track & field and cross country. The women stepped up huge. They are a special group that keeps getting better and better. The men's team is very young and talented but inexperienced. The indoor season was critical in their learning process and they'll be ready for a big outdoor. Forty four of the 48 student-athletes who competed this weekend come back next year."

On Saturday, Carslon won the women's mile in 4:34.01, and doubled back to win the 3K for the second straight year in 9:16.47.

The women also picked up wins from Chloe Timberg and Celine-Jada Brown (Plainfield High grad) 

Timberg successfully defended her title in the pole vault. For the second year in a row, she set the Big Ten and school record in the event, clearing a height of 4.55m (14'-11).

Brown added the Scarlet Knights other gold medal as she won the long jump with a jump of 6.37m (20' 10.75"). She was joined on the podium by Kristina Tossas (Rancocas Valley), who took home the bronze in the event with a jump of 6.22m (20' 5")
The women's squad received contributions from all around the track, including Shelby Whetstone (Lenape High)who finished fourth in the 600-meter with time of 1:29.93. Sydney Hawkins (Phillipsburg High) also placed fourth, giving the Scarlet Knights a podium finish in the 60-meter with a personal-best time of 7.33.

Rutgers also received a PR from Faith Bethea (Snyder High) as she placed eighth in the triple jump with a leap of 12.71m (41' 8.5"). The 4x400 relay team of Alexandria Yarbrough, Cynthia Boakye (Elizabeth High), Whetstone and Celine-Jada Brown (Plainfield) closed out the day with a podium finish to help the women secure their record-breaking point total. The group ran a time of 3:40.30 to finish fifth at the Big Ten Championships.

The Rutgers men's finished ninth out of 11 teams with 28.5 points.

Sincere Robinson (Newark Tech High) captured his second podium finish of the weekend on Saturday as he finished tied for fourth in the high jump, recording a height of 7-0.50. He was joined by Micah Wood, who also secured scoring for the men's squad on day two with his sixth-place finish in the 600-meter. Wood ran a time of 1:17.85 to earn a spot on the podium.

On Friday, Robinson, a two-time medalist in the men's long jump, picked up his second career silver with a second-place finish as he recorded a jump of 7.88m (25' 10.25").

Making his Big Ten Championship debut, Kevin O'Sullivan (Hillsborough High) finished second in the pole vault as he cleared a height of 5.23m (17' 1.75"). It was a family affair on the podium with his brother Brian O'Sullivan, who earned a sixth-place finish in the pole vault. Brian O'Sullivan recorded a height of 5.13m (16' 10") to secure a podium finish in his rookie season.

The Scarlet Knights also received points from the men's distance medley relay team as it finished seventh to close out day one. Gavin Richards (North Hunterdon), Gabriel Rodriguez (Union High), Alec Snell and Brian Pedretti (North Hunterdon) combined to run 9:48.95 in the final event of Friday Big Ten Championship action.

Purdue sophomore Bryanna Craig, who attended Millville High as a freshman and sophomore, finished second in the women's heptathlon with 3,992 points, just 18 points behind the winner, senior Chloe Royce of Penn State, who won with 4.010 points.

Iowa senior Tionna Tobias (Winslow) finished fifth in the 60 hurdles in 8.31, and her high school teammate Nylah Perry was 6th in the 400 in 53.37 and ran on the runner-up 4x400 relay that clocked a 3:34.29, No. 7 in Iowa indoor history.

Nebraska's Jenna Rogers (Rutherford High) finished second in the high jump on misses at 6-2.25.

Wisconsin's Alexa Westley (Warren Hills) ran 16:16.29 to place sixth in the 5K. 

Penn State junior Lucciano Pizarro (Cherokee High) unloaded a PR of 60-8.50 to place eighth in the men's shot put.


Syracuse's Jaheem Hayles, who finished third in the 110 hurdles at the NCAA Championships last spring, won the 60 hurdles for Syracuse in 7.65 at the ACC Championships at the New Balance Center Boston. Hayles won the 110 hurdles at the NJ Meet of Champions in 2019 as a senior at Roselle High.

Duke sophomore Julia Jackson (Scotch Plains-Fanwood)  placed fourth in the women's 400 at the ACC Championships and ran 54.04 on the leadoff leg on Duke's runner-up 4x400 relay that ran 3:34.15


Junior Benjamin Godish (Highland Park High) earned the meet's Most Outstanding Track Performer award and led Northeastern to the men's team title at the CAA Championships that concluded on Friday at the New York Armory.  

Godish, who ran a school record and CAA indoor record of 3:57.43 in the mile earlier this month, won two gold medals at the CAA Championships. He ran 4:03.80 to win the mile and captured the 3000m with a time of 8:14.84.

Also, at the CAA Championships, Emma Crozier-Carole (Mainland) set a new freshman school record for UNC Wilmington when she scored 3,143 points to place eighth in the pentathlon, the second highest point total in school history. 


Tennessee's Dennisha Page (Woodrow Wilson High in Camden) was 8th in the women's 60 dash in 7.32 (7.19 in the trials) at the Randall Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas. 


Rider junior Mariah Stephens (Egg Harbor High) was a triple winner and smashed a school record to lead the Broncs to the women's team title at the MAAC Championships at the New York Armory. The Rider men also won to make it a team sweep!! 

Stephens went a school record 39-8.75 to win the triple jump, and captured the 60 hurdles in 8.64, and the long jump with a personal best 19-1.  

The all NJ lineup of Grace Kennedy (Scotch Plains-Fanwood), Svea Wickelgren (Columbia), Stephanie Webb (Montclair), and Kasey White (Rancocas Valley) combined to place fifth the 4x400 for Lehigh in a school record 3:52.19 at Boston University. Kennedy split 57.57, Wickelgren ran 57.99, Webb went 57.89, and White anchored in 58.74.  

Also for Lehigh, Gianna Mangili (Mt. St. Dominc) ran a school record 7.66 in the trials of the women's 60m dash and was sixth in the final in 7.66.