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Hillsborough captures 15th Somerset County Relay girls track & field championship

The Hillsborough High School girls track & field team celebrate placing first at the Somerset County Relays on April 16 in Basking Ridge.

The ending to spring break vacation was a sweet one to stay the least for the Hillsborough High School girls track & field team.

The Raiders captured the program’s 15th Somerset County Relay crown by scoring 121 points to finish atop the team standings at the 60th running of the meet on April 16 at Ridge High School in Basking Ridge.

Hillsborough earned a top-four placement in every relay event to win its first Somerset County Relay championship since 2019.

It was a little “redemption” for the Raiders after coming up short in the meet last year, said Coach Richard Refi.

“Any time you win a team trophy, it’s a great accomplishment,” he said. “It took an overall team effort. We scored points from everywhere.”

The key to victory for the Raiders started with their throwers, Refi said. Hillsborough won gold in all three throwing events during the meet.

The team with the farthest distances combined by its top three throwers won the event.

Both senior Claudia DeRasmo (discus) and sophomore Anna Dao (javelin) recorded the farthest throw in their respective event to help the Raiders to capture gold in both events.

DeRasmo’s top throw was recorded at 97 feet and 8 inches in the discus.

Sophomores Michaela Ruffa and Mackenzie McLaughlin each placed in the Top 10 for Hillsborough to help the Raiders claim the first-place prize.

Dao was the only competitor to surpass the 100-foot mark in the girls javelin event, placing first with a throw of 101 feet and 5 inches. Senior Khadijah Colburn (98’5”) and junior Kayla Lockburner (88’0”) placed third and fourth to give Hillsborough three competitors in the Top 5 to place first.

In the shot put relay portion of the meet, senior Aksoua Boateng (34’11.25’’) and Ruffa (33’8.5”) placed second and third to lead Hillsborough to victory. Junior Danae Dewberry had a Top 10 finish to contribute to the first place finish for the Raiders.

On the track, sophomore Sabrina Sadar had an excellent showing as part of Hillsborough’s success.

Sardar won a silver medal in three of her four events during the meet. She ran the first leg of the 4×400 meter relay that included teammates Lisa O’Sullivan, Ayanna Cords and Zoe Amofa, who placed second with a time of 4:17.61.

Sardar joined teammates Ernestina Danquah, Elom Acolatse and Chloe Montgomery on Hillsborough’s 4×200 meter relay team that finished second by recording a time of 1:48.13.
The sophomore’s last silver medal came individually while competing in the 400 meter hurdles, where she recorded a time of 1:07.74 to place second.

Sardar added a bronze medal to her ledger by running the 400 meter portion of the sprint medley relay for Hillsborough. Junior Chloe Bynes and sophomores Laina Denys and Camryn McDermid were also part of Hillsborough’s sprint medley relay team that placed third at the county meet.

“She ran really well,” Refi said of Sardar’s performance at Somerset County Relays.

The team of Danquah, Montgomery, Coords and Acolatse scored a second-place finish for Hillsborough in the 4×100 meter relay with a time of 51.48 seconds.

Hillsborough’s 4×800 relay team that consisted of O’Sullivan, Preeta Joshi, Lauren Barker and Anna King won a bronze medal by recording a time of 10:27.65 in the event.

Hillsborough earned a four place finish in the distance medley relay with a time of 13:50.97. King, Joshi, Denys and Grace Liu were the participants in that event for the Raiders.

Senior Breanna Schechter’s performance in the high jump and pole vault highlighted more success at the meet for Hillsborough.

Schechter recorded a jump of 15 feet and 11.5 inches to place first in the high jump and earned silver medal in the pole vault with her mark of 8 feet and 6 inches.

The senior also competed on the 4×100 shuttle hurdle relay team and helped Hillsborough place second in the event with a time of 1:11.18. Amofa, Siena Sowers and Ella Karolewski competed alongside Schechter on the 4×100 shuttle relay squad.

In the high jump, freshman Cira Palmera earned a four place finish for the Raiders with a mark of 4 feet and 8 inches.

Refi said he was pleased to see both his veterans and newcomers perform well at the meet. He believes it’s the first step to more great things to come for his squad this spring.

“It was cool to see them all step up and perform well for us,” Refi said. “We didn’t have a season in 2020. We won quite a bit last year with different names. It was great to see different people in scoring positions for us.”

Hillsborough will look to add another team championship at the Somerset County Championships next month. The Raiders have both meets in the same season 11 times dating back to 1998.

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