By Wayne Witkoiwski
Drake Ariano of Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) in the 1,600 meters and Thomas Kalieta of Matawan Regional High School in the 400 will return to defend their New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Meet of Champions (MOC) titles June 10 at Northern Burlington County Regional High School.
Both advanced with winning performances in their respective group meets June 3.
Ariano ran a time of 4:16.64 in the Non-Public A finals at Egg Harbor Township High School, which was well behind his winning time of 4:08.96 in the MOC a year ago.
Kalieta, on the other hand, ran a time of 47.69 in the 400 at the Group II finals at Northern Burlington, which was faster than his mark of 47.83 in the MOC a year ago. Kalieta also won the 200 at last year’s MOC in 21.57.
In this year’s MOC, Kalieta also will run on Matawan’s 4×400 relay that won Group II in 3:20.10. Liam Nappi and sophomores Zach Hall and Charlie Serrano also run on the relay.
“He’s running well and ready to go,” said Matawan coach Sam Turner of Kalieta, who is bound for Middlesex County College in the fall.
He’ll be joined in the MOC by David Alston, who finished in third place in the high jump in Group II at 6-4 — the same height he cleared finishing second at last year’s MOC. Alston, who will compete for Rowan University starting in the fall, is one of only two area athletes to qualify in three events, as he was sixth in the 110 hurdles in 15.08 and sixth in the long jump at 21-4¾. He’s nearly recovered from leg problems throughout the spring and could win the long jump and finish high in at least one other event.
Donald Small of Matawan could surprise in the shot put, where he finished third in Group II with a throw of 53-6½. Small, who is headed to Glenville State College in the fall, was 5 inches behind the second-place finisher from Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest. It proved pivotal in the team standings when Northern Valley finished tied with Matawan for second place with 37 points each. Governor Livingston High School won the team title with 46 points.
“He has the potential to be really great and can throw 55 or 56 feet,” Turner said. “His [injured] knees are back now, and he’s getting his legs under him.”
Other qualifiers from Matawan included Nappi, who was fifth in the 400 hurdles in 55.53, and Mike Pepe, who was sixth in the discus in 146-10. Nappi is going to East Stroudsburg University in the fall.
Matawan girls’ team star Sam Anderson will return to the MOC but not in the 200. She qualified instead with fifth-place finishes in the 400 (58.55) and the 800 (2:14.80). Anderson led a finish from fifth to seventh in the 800. Freshman Cassandra Daniele was sixth in 2:15.12, as she develops into a star of the future for the Huskies, while Rachel Kenny hopes for a return to the MOC as a wild card after finishing seventh in 2:15.50.
Four athletes return to the MOC from CBA, including Ariano, and they led the Colts to the Non-Public A team title, 128-108, over runner-up Union Catholic Regional High School.
Don Mead returns to the MOC after a pair of first-place finishes in the discus at 162-0 and the shot put at 57-1. Mead was 28th in the discus with a throw of 141-11 at last year’s MOC and he was 33rd in the shot put with a throw of 41-1½.
Also returning are Tim Jacoutot off a winning time of 54.50 in the 400 hurdles. He was 14th in the MOC last year at 55.65. Brian Hill returns in the 3,200 after finishing second in the group meet in 9:16.84. He ran 9:22.16 at last year’s MOC, which was good for 16th place.
Jacoutot also advanced to the MOC in the 200 after finishing third in the group meet in 22.06. Tim McInerney won the 800 in 1:54.92 and was fifth in the 1,600 in 4:18.46. Distance runner Noah Yuro was third in the 1,600 (4:16.84) and sixth in the 3,200 (9:31.14).
CBA also got winning efforts from Brendan Bodisch in the long jump at 22-0 and pole vaulter Nick Ebert, who cleared 13-0.
CBA went fourth and fifth in the javelin with Jack Lotosky (163-1) and Kyle Foltz (157-1), who also qualified in the high jump by leaping 5-10. John Healy advanced in the pole vault, clearing 12-3. Two relays also advanced, as the 4×800 won in 7:59.04 and the 4×400 was second in 3:24.73.
In all, 11 CBA athletes advanced in 17 events.
Mater Dei Prep also had a show of strength in winning the Non-Public B team title, as 11 individuals qualified in 12 events at Northern Burlington, led by Isaiah McClain, who qualified in three events. McClain was fourth in the high jump at 5-8 and the long jump at 20-2½ and was fifth in the 100 in 11.67.
Griffin Cole was runner-up in the 110 hurdles in 16.14. Three other Seraphs qualified in two events each. Shane Mastro threw the discus 146-6 for fourth place and the shot put 52-2 for fifth place. Distance runner John Spinelli was second in the 3,200 in 9:44.91 and fourth in the 1,600 in 4:32.42. Patrick Osborne finished second in the 800 in 1:57.80 and third in the 400 hurdles in 59.30.
Two Mater Dei pole vaulters advanced, as Steve Allegretta and Alton Chaney both cleared 9-6 and finished third and fifth, respectively, based on misses. Two Mater Dei javelin throwers also advanced, as John Close was fourth at 145-8 and Luke Lino was sixth at 141-0. Mario Rodriguez was sixth in the discus at 124-4.
All three Mater Dei relays advanced. The 4×800 team won in 8:26.57, the 4×100 was third in 45.93 and the 4×400 was fourth in 3:40.46.
Cassidy Stimpson of Mater Dei’s girls team qualified in the discus with a fourth-place throw of 94-4.
Three boys and four girls advance from the Middletown schools off the Group III meet at Northern Burlington.
Mark Anseli was fourth in the high jump at 6-2 and Aneeh Agrawal was fifth in the javelin at 174-4 for Middletown High School South. Eagles pole vaulter Denver Bradley hopes for a wild card spot after finishing seventh in the pole vault at 13-0.
Jake Sheehan of Middletown High School North was fourth in the javelin at 181-1.
On the girls’ side, Middletown South’s Madison Brand was third in the 1,600 in 4:56.53, and teammate Taylor Oxley was fourth in the javelin at 115-9. Two Middletown North girls made the sixth and final automatic qualifying spot: Casey Bogues in the javelin at 112-4 and Kathy Pacheco in the pole vault (10-6) and triple jump (35-10).
Middletown North’s 4×400 relay was fifth in 3:57.54.
Saint John Vianney
Katie DeFrancesco led three qualifiers from Saint John Vianney High School’s girls’ team in Non-Public A with second-place finishes in the 100 (11.94) and the 200 (24.64). Kaleigh Remick was sixth in the pole vault (9-6), and Rahmena Henderson was sixth in the triple jump (34-10).
Keyport High School has a pair of MOC qualifiers in Brendan O’Brien, who finished third in the 400 hurdles in 55.98 and sixth in the triple jump in 42-3½, and Noah Geraghty, who was was fifth in the 110 hurdles in 15.64 in the Group I meet at Egg Harbor Township.