Huskies look to build off conference success at sectional meet


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By Wayne Witkowski

Following strong showings at the Shore Conference Championships Jan. 27, Matawan Regional High School’s boys indoor track and field team looks for a fourth straight NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II title and Matawan’s girls look to advance for a chance to defend their Group II championships at the sectional meet Feb. 5 at the John Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex in Toms River.

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“We’re ready to go,” said Sam Turner, who coaches both teams. “We’re without [shot puter] Donald Smalls, who is out for the rest of indoors and maybe into outdoor season — we don’t know — with a knee injury. With him, we’d win the section, no doubt about it. But we’ve got good people who could help us win it.”

Turner believes the boys are a solid threat behind David Alston in the jumps and Thomas Kalieta in the shorter distances.

On Jan. 30, Kalieta ran a school record of 22.14 in the 200 meters at the Ocean Breeze Invitational in Staten Island, New York, which was one of two school records set this week. Danielle Cross recorded a time of 8.59 in the 55-meter hurdles for second place in the Shore Conference meet at the Bennett complex.

Kalieta also was second in the 400 meters in the Shore Conference meet in 50.54.

Matawan’s boys finished second to Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) in the team standings, 60-32.

CBA’s team win was in part due to taking three of the six scoring spots in the 400, with Mike Zupko winning in 50.24. Brendan Bodisch (52.23) and Tim Jacoutot (52.32) finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

CBA also got three scoring spots in the 800. Drake Anzano (1:57.33) and Sean Martinek (1:58.44) came in first and second, while Josh Martinez placed sixth in 2:00.55.

Matawan’s Kalieta also ran on the 4×400 relay that was second behind CBA, 3:30.08-3:32.25. Bryce Lyew, Jacob Labinger and Charlie Serrano also ran on that Matawan relay, which Turner will count on for points in the section meet. Jacoutot, Bodisch, Martinez and Zupko ran for CBA.

Jacoutot also was fourth in the 55 hurdles in 7.87.

“We haven’t put it together in that one [relay] yet. It’s been up and down,” Turner said. “But now we have a better sense of what’s going on there now.”

Alston had a mark of 6-8 to dramatically win the high jump at the Shore Conference meet. He tried unsuccessfully to clear 6-10 and surpass the school record of 6-9 set three years ago by Justin Love, who is competing at Cornell University as a junior this year. Alston also was third in the 55 hurdles in 7.85.

Turner said Liam Nappi also can place in the hurdles, as can Labinger in the pole vault.

The girls will rely on Samantha Anderson and Cross. At the Shore Conference meet, Anderson won the 400 in 58.56, but Turner said she was disappointed in her 2:21.34 time for second place in the 800.

Matawan finished fourth in the team standings with 26 points — just three behind third-place Red Bank Catholic High School (29).

St. John Vianney High School was second behind winner Southern Regional High School, 42-34.5. The Lancers’ Monica Heil (58.61) and Katie DiFrancesco (1:00.42) finished second and third in the 400.

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