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Rafferty among Jackson athletes moving on to indoor MOC

By Wayne Witkowski

Jackson Memorial High School senior Ryan Rafferty qualified for a return to the NJSIAA Meet of Champions (MOC) in two events, which did not go as expected.

Rafferty finished second in the 1,600 meters at the Group III championships Feb. 20 at the John Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex in Toms River, clocking a time of 4:20.9. He was in third place in the second half of the race but moved past Jordan Brannan of Colts Neck High School and finished behind the winning mark of 4:19.28 from Tim Bason of West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South.

Rafferty said he also was surprised when he was told by his coaches he would run the 800 meters that day and finished fourth in the event in 1:58.58.

Rafferty said he expected only to run the 1,600, where he finished third in the indoor MOC last year in an indoor personal best of 4:16.96, although he qualified for the group meet in both events.

“I was feeling hot — it was hot inside [the complex] with the warm weather — so I went outside, cooled down and ran the 800 as soon as I came back in right away,” Rafferty said. “It was kind of cool also running that. But I most likely will stay with the mile (1,600 meters) at the MOC. But things could change. The 800 still is a possibility. It’s ironic that I’m seeded 10th there but seeded 12th in the mile.”

Rafferty had set up that scenario the previous weekend in the Central Jersey Group III meet when he ran 4:23.06 in the 1,600 for third place and won the 800 in 2:01.50.

Rafferty said he wants to get his 1,600 time to around 4:14 for the MOC, which means a good, strong start. He also will be competing in the upcoming Eastern States meet at the 168th Street Armory but says he and his coaches have been talking about him running 3,200 meters instead during the outdoor season.

“It will be difficult switching to that, but I’ll benefit from it,” Rafferty said.

Dan Kaba also advanced to the MOC for the first time and did it in two events for Jackson Memorial. With the top six finishers automatically qualifying, Kaba placed sixth in the 55-meter hurdles in 7.85 and also ran on the sixth-place 4×400 relay team with Tyler Towns, Brendan Sweet and Ross Delhagen that was timed in 3:34.41.

Kimberly Gerratt of Jackson Memorial’s girls team also qualified for the MOC in the 1,600 with a times of 5:18.22 for sixth place.

Jackson Liberty High School’s Danielle Notarfrancesco, coming off a Central Jersey Group III championship effort in the shot put, earned a return to the MOC when she won the Group III title with a measure of 45-2¾. Notarfrancesco, competing as a sophomore last year, finished 20th at the MOC with a throw of 36-6.

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