Girls Win 6th Straight State Relay Title! Boys 2nd.
The Union Catholic girls once again left little doubt about its status as the top team in the state by rolling to its sixth straight title, and the boys pulled off a huge win in the distance medley relay and pole vault at the NJSIAA Non-Public A Relays at the Bennett Center in Toms River.
Year after year the UC girls lose All-State athletes to graduation, but every year new stars emerge to help the Vikings maintain their place as the best program in the state.
Despite not being a full strength, the Vikings still blitzed the competition by winning six of the nine events (shuttle hurdles, 4×200, SMR, 4×800, 4×400, and the high jump), on the way to a dominating 75-28 victory over runner-up Notre Dame.
The six straight titles by UC is the second most for a girls program in meet history behind the nine in a row that Hopewell Valley captured from 2002-10.
UC, which came into the meet ranked NJ#1 in the 4×400 (3:56.34), 4×800 (9:21.86), and shuttles (31.50), and NJ#2 in the SMR (4:16.02), and NJ#3 in the 4×200 (1:44.82), nearly matched their season best times in the shuttles (32.17), SMR (4:16.16) and 4×200 (1:44.82).
Triple winner Avery Jordan (watch a video interview with her here) was one of many stars for Union Catholic. The junior anchored the shuttle hurdles (8.2), ran the third leg in the 4×200 (26.7), and led off the 4×400 (62.7).
Also for UC, junior A’Liyah Thomas anchored the 4×200 in 25.8 and cleared a meet best 5-2 in the high jump. Freshman Alexandra Bonn went 8.0 in the hurdles and cleared 4-10 in the HJ. Freshman Ajanae Thompson ran 8.1 in the hurdles and 27.1 in the 4×200. Senior Felicia Quainoo ran 26.7 in the SMR and 7.6 in the shuttles. Senior Chi Chi Nkulume ran 24.9 in the 4×200 and 59.4 in the SMR. Senior Zamira Ysaac and Aniyah Charles ran on the 4×400 and runner-up DMR, and freshman Maameyaa Nyinah ran on the 4×800 and 4×400. Morgan Jackson anchored he winning SMR with a 2:23.5 carry. Ashleigh Patterson split 2:26 as the anchor on the 4×800, and Abby Granrath ran 5:17.1 for the runner-up DMR.
The highlight of the meet for the boys, which placed a very strong second to Christian Brothers Academy, 80-54, came in the DMR.
The Vikings were trailing CBA after the first two legs, but George Mason-bound Elijah Brown, who won the 800 at the Meet of Champions last winter, blasted a 1:55.4 800 to come from way back to give UC the lead for good. Soph. Myles Plummer closed it out with a 4:25.8 anchor to bring the Vikings across the line first in 10:34.19, the second fastest time in the state this season, to win the DMR. Zach Turner led off for UC with a 3:21.2 1,200 carry, and Tyhir Jones went 51.4 on the 400 leg. The UC boys DMR squad is pictured below.
The Vikings also picked up a victory in the pole vault when senior Conor Reilly, ranked NJ#3 with a 15-6, cleared a meet best 15-0 and Justin Lopez made 11-0 for a wining total of 26-0.
In other highlights for the UC boys, Reilly split 22.8, Jones 23.0, Connor Cooper 22.6, and Oluwafemi Asenuga 23.7 on the runner-up 4×200 team that ran 1:32.36. Brown ran 51.1 for 400, Reilly went 23.4, Cooper 23.3, and Plummer went 1:57.9 on the 800 in the sprint medley that placed second in 3:36.05.The Vikings also placed second in the 4×400, third in the 4×800 in 8:33.40, and fourth in the high jump.