UC Girls Win 7th Straight NPA State Relay Title
UC Girls Wins 7th straight State Non-Pubic A Relay Title, boys place third
Year after year, the powerhouse track and field program loses All-State athletes and several key point scorers to graduation, but new stars keep emerging to maintain their status as the best program in the state.
The latest example came on Friday when Union Catholic blitzed the competition en route to a seventh straight title at the NJSIAA Non-Public A Relays at the Bennett Center in Toms River. The Vikings racked up 72 of a possible 90 points to defeat runner-up Paramus Catholic by 40 points
UC’s seven straight titles is the second most for a girls program in meet history behind the nine in a row that Hopewell Valley captured from 2002-10.
The UC boys were short-handed as some of the top runners didn’t compete, but the Vikings still finished a very solid third in the team standings.
In the girls competition, UC began its march to the title by burning a US No. 1 32.96 to win the shuttle hurdles. The Vikings also received a NJ No.2/US No. 8 throw of 42-10.75 from senior Jada Mia Puryear, who broke her own school record, and UC finished first in the 4×200 in a NJ No. 2 1:46.98, first in the sprint medley relay in 4:22.03, and second in the high jump, 4×400, 4×800, and DMR.
UC’s shuttle hurdles consisted of Taylor Cox (7.8), Ajanae Thompson (7.7), McKenzie Johnson, and Alexandra Bonn (7.9). Thompson, who was second in the 100 hurdles at the Meet of Champions last June, also split 26.0 on the 4×200, and Cox went 26.7 on the 4×200. Bonn was also a member of the runner-up high jump squad. Maameyaa Nyinah had a very impressive anchor carry of 2:22.2 for UC in the SMR, and Asydiah Pray-Brown ran a 2:26.9 in the 4×800 for UC. UC junior Seton Dill was the only girl in the meet to clear a height in the pole vault as she made a personal best 7-0. Dill also ran on the 4×800. Simone Motley teamed with Puryear to win the shot put.
The hottest race of the meet came in the girls distance medley relay when Kent Place and UC hooked up in a great duel. Kent Place emerged with the victory in 12:25.17 and UC was second in 12:28.50 as the Union County distance powers ran the second and third fastest times in the nation this season.
UC’s DMR splits were 3:49 for Abby Granrath, 64.4 for Erica Dines, 2:25.0 for Leilani Gibson, and 5:09.0 for Kaleigh Gunsiorowski. Gibson also split 63.5 leading off the SMR.
“I am proud of the girls,” said UC coach Mike McCabe. “They have worked hard to win this title. Great to see our seniors win this meet every year. I’m excited to see them progress throughout the year.”
On the boys side, the Vikings scored 44 points to place third behind Christian Brothers Academy, first with 72, and Seton Hall Prep, second with 49.50.
The Vikings won the shuttle hurdles in 32.67, and finished first in the high jump, and placed second in 4×800, second in the 4×200, and second in the pole vault.
Nick Givan led the charge for UC. The senior all-round star ran on the shuttles, cleared 6-0 in the high jump, and led off the 4×200 with a 23.0 split. Noah Cooper and Al-Qamar Rojas each ran on the shuttles and 4×200. Aidan Reidy (9-6) and Matthew Schutz (9-0) combined to place second in the pole vault for UC. Justice Hicks was on the runner-up HJ team, and Caudell Cajuste ran 2:05.3 in the 4×800.