Brannan, Konig, Amponsah standouts in district track


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Jordan Brannan and Colts Neck High School, Freehold Township High School’s Jake Konig and Marlboro High School’s Kwaku Amponsah headlined this year’s indoor track and field season.

Brannan captured the NJSIAA Meet of Champions (MOC) 3,200-meter championship, turning in the fastest time of the year in the state at 9:14.94.

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Besides joining the Cougars’ legendary Craig Forys and Mark Leininger as an indoor 3,200 MOC champion, he helped the Cougars win the Central Jersey, Group III and overall Group III championships as well.

Colts Neck pulled off a big upset in Central Jersey, Group III, beating Jackson Memorial High School by three points, 52-49. The Cougars’ cross-country standouts — Brannan, Anthony Russo and Kevin Berry — placed first through third in the 3,200, and Brannan and Zach Czipkay were first and fourth in the 1,600, scoring the majority of the points.

At the Group III championships, wins by Brannan (3,200) and Jordan Tomkins (high jump) paved the way for a 34-23 win over Pennsauken High School.

In a matter of two weeks, Brannan went from contender to the state’s best. His breakthrough was the sectional meet, where he won the 1,600 (4:20.62) and 3,200 (9:31.65), which helped Colts Neck win the team championship. He won the 3,200 at the Group III championships (9:19.60), doubling back after taking third in the 1,600 (4:22.2).

Running fresh and with confidence at the MOC, Brannan destroyed the field with a long, extended surge from 650 meters out.

The Cougars’ junior goes into the outdoor season with all eyes on him.

Konig had a sensational year in the 3,200 parlaying a withering kick over the final 400 meters into championships. He was undefeated heading into the MOC, where he finished 11th. Along the way, he won the county; conference; Central Jersey, Group IV; and overall Group IV titles. His personal best was 9:15.49 in winning the Group IV title. The senior is headed to the University of Connecticut to continue his track career.

Amponsah, a junior, was the area’s best sprinter/hurdler and excelled in the 55 hurdles, where he was the county and conference champion (7.77). He was third in Central Jersey, Group IV and Group IV overall. He was pretty good in the straight 55, finishing fifth in the county and turning in the year’s fastest time of 6.75. This was his first indoor track season. and the junior certainly made the most of it.

Brannan, Konig and Amponsah top the News Transcript’s 2016 All-Freehold Regional High School District Boys Track and Field Team. Completing the team are sprinters Mike McNicholas of Manalapan High School and David Galarza of Howell High School; distance runners Jared Skalski of Manalapan, Brannan and Konig; and Howell’s 4×400 relay team of Bill Bajohr, Simas Glebavicius, Alex Behan and Galarza.

The All-District field athletes are Freehold Township’s Alexander Schlumpf and Colts Neck’s Ryan Tompkins and Jonathan Miller.

Tompkins was one of the stars of Colts Neck’s team championships. A foot injury delayed the start of his season, which began with a third-place finish at the Shore Conference meet. In the high jump, he went from 6-0 there to 6-2 at the state sectional and third place. That was the warm-up. At the Group III championships, he raised his personal best to 6-6 and won the state title. His unexpected 10 points were key to the Cougars’ championship. He medaled at the MOC, taking fifth (6-4).

Galarza, a senior, was the only 400 sprinter to reach the MOC. He was fourth at the county meet, third in the conference, fourth in South Jersey, Group IV and seventh in Group IV overall. His season-best time was 51.36. He also anchored the 4×400 team that was third in the county, fourth in the conference and sixth in South Jersey, Group IV. The team of Bajohr, Glebavicius, Behan and Galarza had the year’s best time, 3:34.92. Galarza showed fine range, reaching the 55 dash final at the county championships.

McNicholas was the only sprinter in the district to qualify for the 200 at the MOC, where he was 17th (23.86). He was also one of the county’s fastest 55 sprinters, reaching the county final.

The 800 was a wide-open event this year. It was a race out of state that separated Skalski from the pack. The Braves’ standout started the season strong with a third-place showing at the county meet, and he was fourth in the conference. But he slipped to 10th in Central Jersey, Group IV and did not advance while his rivals did. Skalski wrapped it up by beating his rivals at the Eastern States Championships in New York, New York, running the fastest time of the season at 1:59.50

Schlumpf out-threw the competition throughout the season. He was fifth in the county and ninth in Central Jersey, Group IV. His best throw of the year was 47-11¾, which was better than anyone else threw in 2016.

Miller took the pole vault thanks to his mark of 10-6 at the state sectional meet, where he was seventh.

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