By Jeff Appelblatt
Manalapan High School junior Anna Czajkowski saved one of her best track and field showings for the perfect time of the year.
At the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Group IV competition June 2-3 at Egg Harbor Township High School, Czajkowski won the girls’ triple jump with a personal best of 37-3 and landed third in the long jump 18-2¾.
Her best triple jump measurement came less than week after her second best effort (36-4¾) at the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group IV May 26 at Hillsborough High School.
Czajkowski’s teammate, Kiera Nealon, also represented the Braves with a fourth-place finish in the 3,200-meter run.
Marlboro High School junior Gianna Gomez, who’s made it a habit to place in the top three in most jumping contests, found herself only No. 8 in the long jump and No. 11 in the triple jump in Egg Harbor Township.
Also for the Mustangs, Antoinette Gyles, a senior her teammates labeled a jack of all trades at the start of the season, finished No. 6 in the discus throw competition.
Sophia Yun from Freehold Township High School took home sixth place in the high jump contest in Egg Harbor Township.
In the boys’ competition, two Patrots finished in the top three in the high jump. Stephen Staklinski finished second and Andrew Colbert was third. They both fell short of John F. Kennedy Memorial High School’s Jason Thobourne.
It’s been a common feat for Colts Neck High School to have three — or even four — runners finish the 3,200 run first. But without the fastest, Jordan Brannan, leading the way in the race at Egg Harbor Township, the Cougars’ trio of Kevin Berry, Matthew Schaefer and Anthony Russo finished sixth, seventh and eighth.
“Jordan [Brannan] got a stress fracture right after the Freehold District Championships,” Colts Neck coach Jim Schlentz said.
The Colts Neck runners have nothing to prove. Not only did the boys’ and girls’ teams each win the cross-country Group III championships in the fall, but the boys also won the indoor Group III competition in the winter for the third straight year.
On top of that, seniors Brannan, Berry and Russo all have college running ahead of them. Brannan will be going to Iona College, Berry to Princeton University and Russo to the University of Pennsylvania.
Schaefer, who is only a junior, will need to find another two or three runners to cross the finish line with him.
Marlboro already had a few athletes back on the track June 4 at Iona Prep School in New Rochelle, New York. For the girls, Briana Mullan won the 400 hurdles and Gomez landed second in the long jump.
For the boys, Edward McBurnie finished first in the 400 hurdles and Kwaku Amponsah finished third in the 100 dash.