For the second year in a row, the Hillsborough High School girls winter track team was victorious at the Somerset County Championships that were held on Jan. 2 at the Ocean Breeze Track and Field Facility in Staten Island, N.Y.
Hillsborough scored 72 points to place first out of the 11 schools competing in the meet that was held under relay tournament rules.
Out of the eight scoring events at the meet, Hillsborough had five first place finishes and didn’t place lower than third.
“It was a championship meet and our girls brought their A-Game,” said longtime Hillsborough coach Richard Refi. “We medaled in every relay meet. It was a very strong collaborative effort by our team.”
This is the fifth county championship in winter track for the program. The Hillsborough girls have won 15 Somerset County Relay championships in spring track.
Hillsborough took home gold medals in the 4×51.5 meter relay, the 4×200 meter relay, the 4×800 meter relay, the distance medley relay and the shot put relay.
Seniors Zoe Amofa, Anastasia Ramirez and Siena Sowers were joined by freshman Stella Martinez to win the 4×51.5 meter relay with a first place time of 36.11 seconds.
The electric trio of senior Anna King and juniors Sabrina Sardar and Lisa O’Sullivan led the way to help Hillsborough place first in both the 4×800 meter relay and the distance medley relay.
The three runners were joined by senior Lauren Barker to win gold in the 4×800 meter relay with a time of 10:25.26.
King (1,600 meter), Sardar (1,200 meter), O’Sullivan (800 meter) and junior Grace Liu (400 meter) combined for a time of 13:09.76 to help Hillsborough win gold in the distance medley relay.
The quartet of Ernestina Danquah, Chloe Montgomery, Elom Acolaste and Chloe Bynes scored a winning time of 1:49.43 in the 4×200 meter relay for Hillsborough.
Montgomery also took home a gold medal in the open triple jump competition with a mark of 35 feet and 10 inches, which is a meet record, according to Refi.
In the shot put relay, the senior duo of Michaela Ruffa (35-5) and Danae Dewberry (30-09) combined to place first in the event for the Raiders.
Hillsborough won a silver medal with second place finishes in both the high jump relay and 4×400 meter relay, and also added a bronze medal by placing third in the sprint medley relay.
Other top performances during the open events at the meet for Hillsborough included juniors Lania Denys and Liana Dudajek finishing second and third in the 1,600 meter run, and Cira Palmera coming in second place in the long jump.
“I’’s always fun to win and they were all very happy with their performances,” Refi said.
Hillsborough will look to add another team championship to its ledger on Jan. 8 when they head back to Ocean Breeze to compete in the Skyland Conference Championships. The Raiders last won the Skyland Conference team title back in 2020 on their way to winning the program’s first ever state championship.