UC Sweeps Non Public State Titles!
The Union Catholic track and field teams pulled the ultimate flex and solidified their status as the best combined boys and girls program in the state by producing dominating performances to sweep the team titles at Friday’s State Non-Public Championships at the Bennett Center in Toms River.
Union Catholic’s girls, one of the best teams in state history, added to its remarkable streak by blitzing the competition on the way to an eighth straight A Division championship. The Vikings outscored runner-up Red Bank Catholic, 98-29. The last team other than Union Catholic to win the Non-Public A girls title was Pope John in 2014.
In the boys competition, Union Catholic, the Non-Public A champion last year, dropped down to B this season and that proved to be a big mismatch for the rest of the teams as the Vikings, sparked by Jimmy Wischusen’s two meet records, hung a staggering All Groups combined record of 139.5 points on the board. Union Catholic won by a whopping 88.5 points and have now captured four state indoor titles (2012 and ’13 and 2023 in the B Division/2022 in the A Division.
The UC girls burned up the track with several sizzling performances.
It’s very rare for any team to throw down a 1-2-3 sweep in an event. The UC girls did it three times in the six individual running events!!
The Vikings pulled off sweeps in the 800, the 55 hurdles and the 55 dash, which was worth 72 of their 98 points. Red Bank Catholic was second with 29.
UC swept the 800 for the second straight year as Kaleigh Gunsiorowski (2:16.49) won for the second straight year. Peyton Hollis (2:17.14) and Maameya Nyinah (2:17.68) finished 2-3.
In the dash, sophomore Taylor Aska burned a meet record and NJ No. 2 time of 7.10 to finish first. Cox was second in a PR and NJ No. 5 7.14, and Thompson was third in 7.24.
Nyinah, Vonya Gould, Gunsiorowski, and Hollis combined to win the 4×400 in 4:01.85.UC’s other points came from Courtney Kaiser, fourth in the 3,200 in a school record 10:56.17, Leah Gould, fifth in the 400 in 1:01.90, Ebony Turner, third in the high jump (5-0), and Seton Dill cleared 8-0 to place fourth in the pole vault.
On the boys side, Wischusen, a junior who is orchestrating another great comeback story this season, led the blowout victory by capturing the first two state titles of his career in record-breaking fashion.
Wischusen, who missed most of the indoor season last year and a big chunk of this past XC campaign with injuries, has come back strong this season and showed how high high his fitness level is by winning the 1,600 in a meet record 4:18.26 and the 3,200 in 9:12.45, also a meet record and the fastest time in the state this season!!!
Whichever race Wischusen chooses to run at the Meet of Champions (March 5 at Ocean Breeze on Staten Island), he will be one of the favorites.
Wischusen’s victory in the 3200 ignited a 1-2-3 finish for UC. Ryan Cichocki was second in 9:26.62, and Michael Devine placed third in 9:39.41.
The others winners for UC were Al-Qamar Rojas in the hurdles (a PR of 8.02), Emerson McKindra in the high jump (5-10), and the 4×400 squad of McKindra, Rojas, Marcus McCoy, and Avery Atexide combined to win in 3:31.04.
The Vikings also picked up huge points in the 400 from Avery Atexide, second in 52.88, McCoy, third in 53.01, and McKindra, fourth in 53.08, and Chris Wilson in the hurdles, second with a PR of 8.42.
UC also had a very impressive showing in the pole vault as senior Matthew Schutz made a huge PR of 12-6 to finish second, and senior Aidan Reidy made 11-0 to finish fourth! Schutz’s previous best was 11-6.