N.J. brings gold medal total to 6 on final day of track and field nationals – nj.com

Colts Neck senior Matt Bogdan and the sprint medley team from St. Peter’s Prep won gold medals to close out the final day of competition Saturday at Nike Nationals in Eugene, Oregon.

Their victories brought New Jersey’s win total to six. Overall, eight athletes and 27 relay teams from the Garden State earned All-American honors by finishing in the top six after four days of competition at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field.

Bogdan won the 2,000-meter steeplechase in a near-historic time. The event is not contested during the scholastic season in New Jersey, but that didn’t stop the North Carolina State-bound senior from topping the field in 5:49.95.

The time, good for No. 2 in state history, was less than a second off of what Mount Olive’s Steve Slattery ran at the Foot Locker National Championships in 1998. Slattery went on to star at the University of Colorado in the steeplechase and won a U.S. title in 2003.

While Bogdan just missed Slattery’s record, Joey Morrone, Fitzroy Ledgister, Sam Slade and Edwin Klanke of St. Peter’s Prep shattered several impressive records on their way to win the 1,600-meter sprint medley.

The foursome from Jersey City ran 3:24.40. The next fastest team, Millford Mill Track Club, took second in 3:28.10.

“I think for this group, the thing that I’ll always remember is that they had these expectations and unlike other groups, they met and exceeded the expectations,” St. Peter’s Prep coach Chris Caulfield said Sunday. “The last thing I said to them before they raced was it isn’t good enough to get a medal. We needed gold, and we deserved gold. They went out and earned it”

Ledgister and Slade, each running 200 meters, combined to run 44.86 for the first two legs. Morrone split 47.35 for the 400, and the University of Pennsylvania-bound Klanke anchored the 800 in 1:52.17.

Morrone brought the team from fifth to first to give Klanke a lead he never lost.

“They were the ultimate gamers,” Caulfield said.

The relay team had three runners who finished third or better in their events at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions last month. Together in Oregon, the foursome shattered the Hayward Field high school record and a Hudson County record that had stood for 45 years.

The former county record of 3:25.30 was set by Lincoln in 1976. The Hayward Field record before Saturday was 3:30.48 and held by Polytechnic High School in Long Beach, California.

The record-setting performance put the final touches on the best season in school history for St. Peter’s Prep, which finished No. 3 in the final NJ.com Top 20.

“They put the exclamation mark on the fact that they’re the best team our track program has ever seen,” Caulfield said.

In addition to the two wins, several other relay teams put together impressive performances Saturday.

After winning the 4×800 on Friday, Ridge added a second-place finish in the distance medley in a race featuring three teams separated by just over a second.

Ridgefield from Connecticut won in 10:01.72 while Ridge edged Union Catholic, 10:02.46 to 10:02.86, to finish second.

On the girls side, Haddonfield and Ridgewood also picked up their second All-American honors in the distance relays. Haddonfield finished fifth in the distance medley in 12:00.47. Haddonfield was second in the 4×800 on Friday.

Ridgewood, which ran 12:02.88, finished sixth in the distance medley Saturday and sixth in the 4xmile on Friday.

Still, the biggest winner in Eugene was Union Catholic’s girls team.

NJ.com’s Team of the Year for 2021 had six relay teams, including two in the same race, earn All-American honors. On Saturday, Union Catholic had a team finish second and fifth in the sprint medley.

The second-place team with Leah Gould, Ajanae Thompson, Asydiah Pray-Brown and Kaleigh Gunsiorowski ran 4:02.25. The fifth-place team Ashlee Okunonke, Alexandra Bonn, Morgan Williams and Leilani Gibson clocked a 4:09.05. Remarkably, seven of the eight girls will return next season.

Athletes or relay teams who finish in the top six in their events earn All-American status. The list of All-Americans from New Jersey are below.

Boys

Ryan Allen, Kingsway, Sr.

1st in the 3,000-meter racewalk (14:28.87)

Floyd Whitaker, Highland, Sr.

1st in triple jump (49-11 3/4)

Matt Bogdan, Colts Neck, Sr.

1st in 2,000-meter steeplechase (5:49.94)

Joey Morrone, St. Peter’s Prep, Sr.

3rd in 400 hurdles (52.99)

Fabian Gonzalez, Southern, So.

4th in discus (186-5)

Shamali Whittle, Nottingham, Jr.

4th in 200 (20.73)

Connor Munson, Westwood, Jr.

5th in decathlon (6,588 points)

Chris Serrao, East Brunswick, Jr.

6th in 110 hurdles (13.97)

Relays

Ridge, 1st in 4×800 (7:47.84)

Will Pinto, James Kisker, Jackson Barna, Luke Roberts

St. Peter’s Prep, 1st in 1,600-meter sprint medley (3:24.40)

Fitzroy Ledgister, Samuel Slade, Joseph Morrone, Edwin Klanke

Ridge, 2nd in distance medley (10:02.46)

Will Pinto, Luke Roberts, Andrew McCabe, Jackson Barna

Elizabeth, 3rd in 1,000-meter sprint medley (1:56.71)

Zyeim Lawrence, Vance Thelemaque, Antonio Roopchand, Greg McQueen

Elizabeth, 3rd in 4×400 (3:18.55)

Zyeim Lawrence, Greg McQueen, Vance Thelemaque, Antonio Roopchand

Union Catholic, 3rd in distance medley (10:02.86)

Myles Plummer, Nick Givan, Matt Granizo, Shane Brosnan

Mount Olive, 4th in 4×400 (3:19.72)

JohnLucas Trombley, Anthony Thulin, Anthony Rocco, Gabriel Maya

East Brunswick, 5th in 1,000-meter sprint medley (1:58.92)

Aiden Baldelli, Christopher Serrao, Ali Soherwardy, Jayden Phillip

Elizabeth, 6th in 800-meter sprint medley (1:32.91)

Danny Galvis, Zyeim Lawrence, Antonio Roopchand, Greg McQueen

Paul VI, 6th in 4×200 (1:28.70)

Matthew Jenkins, Cameron Serafinelli, Matthew Mazero, Michael Mazero

Girls

Relays

Haddonfield, 2nd in 4×800 (9:00.51)

Sarah Naticchia, Lindsay Colflesh, Olivia Stoner, Allison Colflesh

Union Catholic, 3rd in 4×800 (9:01.49)

Morgan Williams, Asydiah Pray-Brown, Maameyaa Nyinah, Kaleigh Gunsiorowski

Union Catholic, 3rd in 4×200 (1:43.20)

Leah Gould, Sydney McDonald, Avery Jordan, Ajanae Thompson

Union Catholic A, 2nd in 1,600-meter sprint medley (4:02.25)

Leah Gould, Ajanae Thompson, Asydiah Pray-Brown, Kaleigh Gunsiorowski

Holmdel, 3rd in 800-meter sprint medley (1:47.74)

Arianna Bartholemew, Katie Vassilakos, Margaret Wojie, Sydney Goldson

Colts Neck, 3rd in 1,600-meter sprint medley (4:04.58)

Grace Suhocki, Isabella Marcinkiewicz, Kylie Jacoutot, Lilly Shapiro

Union Catholic, 4th in 4×100 (48.06)

A’Liyah Thomas, Sydney McDonald, Avery Jordan, Ajanae Thompson

Haddonfield, 5th in the distance medley (12:00.47)

Allison Colflesh, Payton Weiner, Lindsay Colflesh, Sarah Naticchia

Holmdel, 5th in 1,000-meter sprint medley (2:17.61)

Arianna Bartholemew, Lexie Wojie, Margaret Wojie, Sydney Goldson

Union Catholic B, 5th in 1,600-meter sprint medley (4:09.05)

Ashlee Okunonke, Alexandra Bonn, Morgan Williams, Leilani Gibson

Hillsborough, 5th in 4×400 (3:54.47)

Sarah Wnorowski, Jayde McDermid, Sia Mahajan, Kirstyn Schechter

Holmdel, 6th in 4×200 (1:43.28)

Sydney Goldson, Lexie Wojie, Katie Vassilakos, Margaret Wojie

Holmdel, 6th in 4×400 (3:55.68)

Margaret Wojie, Katie Vassilakos, Lexie Wojie, Sydney Goldson

Ridgewood, 6th in the distance medley (12:02.88)

Sarah Policano, Olivia Grace, Lucia Rabolli, AnnaMarie Tretola

Ridgewood, 6th in 4×1 mile (20:48.29)

AnnaMarie Tretola, Lily Williams, Olivia Shattuck, Sarah Policano

Mixed events

Relays featuring two boys and two girls per team

Union Catholic, 1st in 4×400 (3:34.66)

Connor Cooper, Nick Givan, Asydiah Pray-Brown, Maameyaa Nyinah

Snyder, 5th in 4×400 (3:46.80)

Jordan Hart, Keyshawn Smith, Chairley Bido, Jezena Aponte

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Patrick Lanni may be reached at planni@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @PatLanniHS and like his Facebook page.

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