UC Finishes Season with Amazing National Meet!
The Union Catholic girls track and field team once again showed why it’s one of the top programs in the country when the Vikings put the finishing touches on one of the greatest seasons in state history with a remarkable showing at the New Balance National Championships that concluded on Sunday at Aggie Stadium on the campus of North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, N.C.
The UC boys also had a very strong meet, highlighted by a runner-up and All-American finish in the sprint medley relay.
In a mind-boggling display of depth and dominance, the UC girls, who went undefeated in team competition this season, flexed its superior firepower by lighting up the track with a victory in the 4×800-meter relay, earning All-American in a total of four relays, placing in the top 10 in two other relays, and recording some of the fastest times ever run in state history.
The biggest highlight was the victory in the 4×800 on Saturday when Morgan Williams, Jerika Lufrano, Ashleigh Patterson, and Leena Morant combined to finish first in 8:59.78, which broke its own Union County record and moved the Vikings up to No. 8 in state history. Williams split 2:16.78, Lufrano ran 2:14.43, Patterson split 2:18.40, and Morant anchored in 2:10.17. The 2:14.43 by Lufrano, which gave UC the lead, was the fastest second leg split of all the teams competing.
UC also earned All-American honors by placing second in the shuttle hurdles in 58.60, which is No. 2 in state history, third in the 4×200 in 1:38.11, which is No. 3 in state history, and fourth in the 4×400 in 3:42.97, which No. 5 in state history. The Vikings also placed eighth in the distance medley relay in 12:07.11, and ran 47.06 in the 4×100 trials, just .01 off its state leading and Union County record of 47.05 that the Vikings ran to finish first at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions.
The Vikings, which won the sprint medley relay at the New Balance National Indoor Championships in March, finished with the No. 1 times in the state for the season in the 4×100, 4×200, 4×400, 4×800, and the shuttle hurdles, and finished No. 3 in the state in the distance medley, and No. 6 in the sprint medley (4:07.72).
Several athletes shined for the UC girls.
Chi Chi Nkulume, Khamil Evans and Sydney Tucker all ran on the 4×100, 4×200, and the 4×400 for UC. Avery Jordan ran on the 4×200 and the shuttle hurdles, Felicia Quianoo ran on the 4×100 and shuttle hurdles. Morant anchored the 4×400, 4xx800, and placed 10th in the 800 in 2:09.27. In addition to her strong 800 leg Lufrano finished fourth in the Emerging Elite mile in a personal best 4:57.13, and Alexandra Kwasnik placed fourth in the Emerging Elite high jump with a personal best 5-7.
For the UC boys, Connor Cooper, Chinedu Okoro, Tyhir Jones, and Elijah Brown nearly captured the sprint medley relay title by placing second in 3:26.48, just behind the 3:26.26 run by the winner, Hall Track Club of Connecticut. UC also finished 13th in the boys 4×400 in 3:18.56. Brown anchored both the SMR (split of 1:53.42) and the 4×400 (48.04), and Jones and Cooper ran on the SMR and 4×400.
Plummer won the Freshman 800 in a personal best 1:55.52, placed second in the Freshman mile in 4:23.26, and he ran a leg on the 4×400. Duru placed 12th in the championship discus division with a personal best 178-3, No. 4 in the state this season, and Reilly cleared 15-1 1/2 to place 11th in the Emerging Elite pole vault.