By Tim Morris
Elliot Gindi has established himself as one of the best distance runners in the state.
The Ocean Township High School junior has followed up his outstanding cross-country season by dominating the indoor 1,600-meter run. The Spartans’ standout won the boys race at the Shore Conference Championships Jan. 27 at the John Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex in Toms River. That gives him bookend championships, having captured the Monmouth County title previously this season.
Gindi’s winning time in Toms River was 4:20.55.
He was not the only area athlete to complete the county-conference double. Red Bank Catholic (RBC) High School’s Kassie Riley and Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) did as well. CBA easily won the boys team title with 60 points.
CBA’s Mike Zupko (400), Drake Anzano (800) and the Colts’ 4×400 relay team also repeated their county victories at the Shore Conference meet.
Zupko won the 400 in 50.42, while Anzano captured the 800 in 1:57.33. Zupko and teammates Tim Jacoutot, Brendan Bodisch and Josh Martinez took the 1,600 relay in 3:30.08.
The Colts scored points in every event but two (55 dash and high jump) en route to the championship.
RBC’s Riley was the only jumper to clear 5-2, paving her way to the championship.
St. John Vianney High School’s girls used their sprinting power to finish second to Southern Regional High School, 42-34.5. RBC, which won the Monmouth County meet, was a close third (30).
The Lancers’ lone win was in the 4×400, where Katie DiFrancesco, Ashley Omoregie, Olivia Wojtowicz and Monica Heil held off Matawan Regional High School, 4:07.43-4:07.78.
Heil (58.61) and DiFrancesco (1:00.42) ran second and third in the 400 and in the 55 dash finals, DiFrancesco (7.41) and Heil (7.44) were third and fourth. RBC’s Abby Collins was second (7.39).
Other girls to medal at the conference championships were: 400, Monmouth Regional High School’s Todd MacKenzie (1:01.37), fifth, and Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School’s Grace Hofferber (1:01.62), sixth; 800, Shore Regional’s Sarah George (2:24.04), fourth; 1,600, RBC’s Gabriella Ferrigine (5:15.42), third, and Megan Cronk (5:17.66), fourth, and Rumson-Fair Haven’s Emily Hellman (5:17.84), fifth; 3,200, Rebecca Ley (11:18.0), fourth; 55 hurdles, Rumson-Fair Haven’s Emily Boak (9.06), fifth; high jump, Jyllissa Harris (4-10), sixth; pole vault, St. John Vianney’s Kaleigh Remick (8-6), sixth; shot put, Red Bank Regional High School’s Tiaunna Macon (35-6¼), fifth; and the 4×400, Shore Regional’s Sarah George, Hannah Birdsall, Mary Kate George and Meghan Hellman (4:18.57), fifth.
The boys who medaled were: 400, RBC’s Jack Pelech (52.10), fourth, and CBA’s Bodisch (52.23), fifth, and Jacoutot (52.33), sixth; 800, CBA’s Sean Martinek (1:58.44), second, Shore Regional’s Drew Maher (2:00.53), fifth, and CBA’s Martinez (2:00.55), sixth; 1,600, CBA’s Paul Knepple (4:23.31), fourth; 55 hurdles, CBA’s Jacoutot (7.87), fourth, and Ocean Township’s Qudratullah Qadiri (8.16), fifth; pole vault, Ocean Township’s Qadiri (12-0), third, CBA’s John Healy (12-0), fourth, and Colton Brooks (11-6), sixth; and shot put, CBA’s Will Lutkewitte (52-2¼), third.
Next up at the Bennett complex are the NJSIAA sectional meets. Central Jersey Groups II and III go Feb. 5, and Group I and IV compete Feb. 12. The NJSIAA Group Championships are Feb. 19 and 20 in Toms River.