By Wayne Witkowski
Kassidy Mulryne showed a strong recovery from nagging injuries in winning two events, including surpassing her school record in the high jump, and Devon Hoernlein also recorded a pair of first-place finishes, including a school record, when Allentown High School’s girls’ outdoor track and field team won the Mercer Coaches Classic May 6 at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North.
Mulryne cleared her career-best 5-7 on her first attempt at that height and easily won the 400-meter hurdles in 1:06.85. She also finished third in the 100 hurdles in 15.64.
“I was just trying to hit 5-4. I had not hit that all season and when I did, I wanted to hit my career best at 5-7,” Mulryne said of the high jump, where she finished 18th at 5-2 in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Meet of Champions last June. “I was just relaxed and felt no pressure once I reached 5-4.”
Hoernlein won the 800 in a school-record 2:22.04. For the second straight year, she won the 1-mile run in 5:13.5, taking the lead on the bell lap and gradually increasing it.
“I’m really happy. I don’t really run the 800 and wanted to see how I’d do in both events in my first big race [of the season],”Hoernlein said.
Lorna Drexler, who also comes off early-season injuries, contributed to the team victory by throwing the discus 95-4 for third place and the javelin 92-6 for fifth place.
“I think we did really well and have been working well in practice. A lot of our underclassmen have been helping out and did it in the relays,” Mulryne said.
“The biggest thing has been staying healthy,” coach Drew Lachenmayer said. “We’ve had a lot of younger girls step up and do a fantastic job.”
Allentown’s 4×800 relay of Sara Gutter, Danielle Etzel, Carly Roche and Brenna McCormick was second in 10:16.10, and its 4×400 relay of Samantha Slimowicz, Danielle Johnson, Victoria Cagnetta and Gutter was sixth in 4:24.76, as Allentown outscored runner-up Robbinsville High School, 74.5-66.
In a fun event of the day, the girls’ 4×100 “throwing” relay, in which students who typically compete in throwing events take to the track, finished fifth in 1:02.33. The relay included Drexler, Angelica Crespo, Lillian Hodgson and Alyssa Hagen.
Highly regarded pole vaulter Roche was slowed by an injury and hopes to be near full strength May 13 for the Mercer County Championships at Steinert High School.
For Allentown’s boys, Liam Murphy was second in the 1,600 in 4:43.87 and Nat Byrnes was sixth in 4:49.68 at the Mercer coaches meet. Dan Hulit was sixth in the pole vault at 12-0, and the Redbirds’ 4×800 was fourth in 8:15.82. Allentown was 13th out of 18 teams.
Giuseppe Arcuri has had a quiet bat at times but belted a three-run homer that rallied No. 2-seed Allentown (14-1) back from a 4-0 deficit to a 5-4 victory over 15th-seeded West Windsor-Plainsboro North (5-11) May 6 in the first round of the Mercer County Tournament in Allentown.
Chris Anderson and Ryan Huth each smashed two hits and drove in a run, and Matt Coiante collected three hits. Jimmy Frein pitched 3.1 innings of one-hit, scoreless relief of Colton Johnson.
“We were very fortunate. [West Windsor-Plainsboro North] was the better team in this game, but our guys have been finding ways to win all year and did so again,” coach Brian Nice said. “Giuseppe has the ability to change a game with one swing, and we were able to put him in a position to do just that.”
It was the fifth straight victory for the Redbirds.
Allentown was scheduled to play seventh-seeded Pennington High School (9-4) in the quarterfinals May 9. It played at Monroe Township High School May 10 before facing Hun School the following day.
Allentown has been at its best at tournament time after a slow start.
Connor Provost and Mike Surace recorded two goals and one assist apiece to lead seventh-seeded Allentown (6-8) over second-seeded Robbinsville, 7-6, May 6 in the quarterfinals of the Mercer County Tournament in Robbinsville. A year ago, Robbinsville eliminated Allentown in the quarterfinals by the same score. Robbinsville (12-2) came into the game with an eight-game win streak.
Clayton Moench scored twice, while James Neebling added a goal and an assist for Allentown. Jared Jones had two assists and Nick Stagnitti notched another. Jared Jordan assisted twice, while goalkeeper Zack Powdermaker made 18 saves for Allentown.
Allentown faced third-seeded Princeton (7-6) in the semifinals May 9. The championship game is May 11 at West Windsor-Plainsboro North.
“The month of May is a new season and if you lose, you’re done for the season,” coach Carl Schubauer said. “Our kids played with full heart against Robbinsville under our new motto, ‘Don’t quit.’ That’s what we said at halftime. We’re coming together at the best time we could.”
Schubauer said moving Dan Drew from attack to midfield has been a plus, as he has 11 goals and 16 assists.
“He has speed and the relentless ability to go after ground balls and knowing what the offense needs to do,” Schubauer said.
He also credited the play of Stagnitti, who comes up big in intangible areas, and a defense of Jason Rider, Jeremy Kleinwaks and freshman Liam O’Keefe.
“Throughout the season, Zack has [kept] games close with his phenomenal saves and directing the defense,” the coach said of Powdermaker.
Allentown topped West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South, 13-0, in the opening round of the county tournament May 4.
Unbeaten Allentown (11-0) controlled play after breaking an early 2-2 tie and went on to beat Princeton (11-6), 9-5, in the Mercer County Tournament to advance to the scheduled May 9 semifinals against Hopewell Valley Central High School (9-7).
“We’ve been trying to be smart with the ball all season and make good decisions and become smarter, better players,” coach Jen Garavente said. “We worked the clock in our favor, and we wanted every possession to end with a goal.
“The [county tournament brings] a whole new level of competition because every team is fighting to be in the finals. With hustle, heart and composure, we will bring our absolute best.”
Marin Hartshorn, who finished with five goals, and Kaitlyn Bergen scored goals to snap a 2-2 tie. Princeton answered with a goal, and Hartshorn scored three in response to widen the lead to 7-3 at the break.
“The girls played a hard-fought game against Princeton, hustling to 50/50 balls and finding the spaces in the back of the net. We also played a smart game, valuing the ball and making good decisions,” Garavente said.
The Princeton game is only the second time this season the Redbirds did not score in double figures.
“Lately, I think more girls are stepping up to contribute to our high-scoring games,” Garavente said. “It is awesome when we have a high number of different goal scorers.”
Surging Allentown exploded for 10 runs in the sixth inning en route to an 18-7 blitz of West Windsor-Plainsboro South. It marks the sixth victory in seven games for Allentown.
Madison Storey drove in three runs, and Dana Ziobro, Heather Devine and Shae Dominici each knocked in two in the latest victory.
Allentown was scheduled to host Hightstown High School in its Mercer County Tournament opener May 9.
“We’re hitting the ball well [in the latest stretch] and our defense is getting better,” coach Kim Maurer said. “Timely hitting will be the key.”