EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP
The boys 3,200 at the NJSIAA Group IV Championships on Saturday afternoon, contested on a 92-degree day when the temperature on the track was approaching 100 degrees, wasn’t going to produce any personal bests. For Dylan Tarpey, it was about further proving to himself that on any given day, he can run with anybody.
The race went out fast despite the heat, with the Freehold Township junior running fourth after going through 1,600 meters in 4:43. Absegami’s Salim Khalid, Cherokee’s Shawn Wilson and West Windsor South’s Dan Riff comprised the lead pack, with Khalid leading them through in 4:38.
That three-man pack came back to Tarpey at about 2,000 meters, but he was still running fourth at the bell in 8:23 with Riff leading. Tarpey dropped Khalid to move into third, but he himself was dropped by Wilson and Riff with about 200 meters left.
Wilson charged for the win in 9:23.72, Riff, last weekend’s Central Jersey Group IV winner, stayed up for second in 9:26.37 and Tarpey settled for third in 9:30.04.
The fact Tarpey spent some time alone behind the lead pack, running into the wind on the backstretch without anyone else there to help take the brunt of it, may have contributed to him not being able to find another gear over those final 200 meters.
“I just think, and my coach was saying it too, maybe I was taking all that wind by myself because I had my own little pack,” Tarpey said. “The weather combined with that, I just wasn’t able to push myself through it this time. I knew no matter what the plan was, I wasn’t going to really know how I was gonna feel until it was out here.”
Last Saturday was the complete opposite weather-wise as Tarpey was second in the CJ IV 3,200 to Riff in a rainy, unseasonably cold afternoon at Hillsborough High School. Combine these last two 3,200 races, plus the 9:16.64 he ran in an open 3,200 May 3 and Tarpey is beginning to believe he can hang with anyone in New Jersey with the Meet of Champions coming on Wednesday.
“First we have our section and then you add in two more guys (Wilson and Khalid) who are just as good as us, if not better, and then with the weather? It’s all about mental toughness,” Tarpey said. “I’m feeling a lot more confident in these last few weeks than I have been. I’ve had no painful injuries or anything like that. Again, it’s just the mental toughness.”
Less than 24 hours after running 10.86 to finish third in the Group IV 100, Southern senior Kevin Barreau put together another career effort in the 200, running 22.25 out of the third of four heats to finish fourth overall in a personal best 22.25. His previous best was 22.64 at last week’s South Jersey Group IV meet.
In his heat, Barreau got out of the blocks well in Lane 5, making up the stagger and powering around the turn into the final 100 meters. Barreau led the whole way, holding off a charging Jake Sabatini to win that third heat. Sabatini 22.37 for second in the heat and fifth overall.
Trenton Central’s Zyaire Clemens won the event, going 21.47 for his third win of the weekend following 100 and 400 triumphs on Friday.
On the girls side, Southern finished fourth with 70 points, 90 behind runaway winner Columbia. The Cougars got a win Saturday from multi-event sensation Olivia Baker in finishing the meet with 160 points, 79 ahead of second-place Franklin.
That is the fourth consecutive state title for Columbia and its ninth overall, which leaves in third-place for most all-time. Notre Dame is the leader with 12, while Pope John XXIII won Non-Public on Saturday for its 10th.
The Rams 4×100 squad of Amaysia Lake, Jenna Ritchie, Kelly Fay and Bailey Decker was fifth overall and third among scoring teams in 49.16.
Their 4×400, always a staple of longtime head coach Brian Zatorski’s program, took second in 3:56.48. That quartet of Ritchie, Carly Burnup, Melana Hammel and Brianna Angellela won South Jersey Group IV last week in 3:56.54.