By Tim Morris
Ocean Township High School’s Eliot Gindi led a parade of area athletes who were victorious at the Monmouth Country Track and Field Championships.
The two-day meet (May 11 and 13) was held at Holmdel High School’s Bob Roggy Memorial Field.
Gindi, who won the county cross-country championship in the fall at Holmdel Park and the indoor 1,600 title in the winter, completed the distance county triple for 2015-16 by capturing the 3,200 championship on the second day of the meet. Gindi took home the gold in 9:36.86.
Gindi set the pace in a loaded 1,600 field. The field included NJSIAA Meet of Champions winners Drake Anzano of Christian Brothers Academy (outdoor 1,600) and Jordan Brannan of Colts Neck High School (indoor 3,200). The Spartans’ standout took the bull by the horns after a slow 2:17 in the opening 800.
Because the slow pace played into the hands of a kicker like Anzano, Gindi tried to take the sting out of the Colts’ runner by making it a long sprint home. However, Anzano held tough and gutted out the victory, holding off a determined Gindi, who made a late-race charge. Anzano won in 4:20.73, running the closing 800 in a swift 2:03. Gindi was second in 4:21.26.
Closing fast in third was Shore Regional High School’s Drew Maher (4:21.33), who made his mark on the second day of the championships.
The 800 produced a field sprint in the homestretch with five runners in contention across the track. Maher out-kicked the field, winning in 1:58.36. Six runners were under two minutes.
Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School’s Douglas Young soared higher than anyone else in the pole vault with a 13-0 clearance.
For the girls, Red Bank Catholic High School had a pair of champions in the field. Fidele Jules won the discus (125-11) and Cassie Riley took the high jump at 5-2.
Christian Brothers Academy won the boys team championship with 83 points. Besides Anzano’s win in the 1,600, the other Colts victors were Mike Zupko in the 400 (48.08) and Will Lutkewitte in the discus (168-6).
St. John Vianney High School won the girls championship with 63 points. The Lancers were led by sprinters Katie DiFrancesco and Monica Heil, who went first and second in the 200 and 400 dashes with DiFrancesco winning both, 25-40-25.64 in the 200 and 57.02-57.05 in the 400.
They ran leadoff (DiFrancesco) and anchor (Heil) for the Lancers’ 4×400 relay team that broke four minutes (3:59.93) in its triumph. The team included Ashley Omoregie and Olivia Wojtowicz.
Freehold Township High School distance runner Ciara Roche was the meet’s dominant performer, winning the 800 (2:09.88), 1,600 (4:58.15) and 3,200 (11:07. 78).
Next up are the Shore Conference Championships May 21 at Central Regional High School in Berkley Township. Central Regional has a new 10-lane track, and it will host next month’s NJSIAA Meet of Champions.
Then it’s onto the NJSIAA sectionals May 27-28. Central Jersey, Group I and IV are at Hillsborough High School. Central Jersey, Group II and III are at Northern Burlington Regional High School. South Jersey, Non-Public A is down it Egg Harbor Township High School, while South Jersey, Non-Public B is at Central Regional.