Freehold Township's Tarpey toughs it out at rainy sectionals

Freehold Township's Tarpey toughs it out at rainy sectionals


Freehold Township's Tarpey toughs it out at rainy sectionals



A rainy, wind-swept, unseasonably cold day at Hillsborough High School was not the way anyone wanted to enter Day 1 of the NJSIAA Track and Field Sectional Championships. Many of the performances wound up showing just how poor of a weather day it was.

The Central Jersey Group IV boys 1,600, which included a field featuring Freehold Township junior Dylan Tarpey and three of the top seven times in the state this spring, was the prime example.

Starting second up front out of the California start, Tarpey sat fifth in a five-man pack that had broken away from the rest of the field at the midway point. He went through the bell running third in 3:20.8 unofficially, but began to fade over the final 400 meters after tightening up. He hung tough and stayed up for fifth in 4:27.70.

West Windsor-Plainsboro South senior Dan Riff, owner of a New Jersey No. 3 time of 4:10.28, was the winner in 4:24.73, while Old Bridge senior Taylor Casserly was second in 4:25.59.

“One, this is a very talented section, and two, the weather was just brutal on us,” Tarpey said. “The wind and the rain will get you very tight, very quickly, especially in a distance race.”

Tarpey has not raced much this spring, which is admittedly by design. He did not race at the Monmouth County Championships, nor did he run at the Shore Conference Championships. He ran the Penn Relays 3,000, an open 3,200 on May 3 and an open 1,600 on May 16.

That 1,600 at Holmdel High School, which was won by Riff, saw Tarpey run a personal best 4:13.35 to prove his fitness, health and the fact he could hang with a stacked field as he did on Friday.

“I’m feeling good, I have no injuries and I feel like I’m pretty good heading into the end of the season, which is what I was hoping for,” Tarpey said. “This is usually that time of the year where you have to be really cautious.”

In the CJ IV 100, Manalapan junior Saeed Blacknall, the Monmouth County runner-up and Shore Conference third-place finisher, was second in 11.13 out of Lane 6 in the six-man final.

Running out of Lane 3, Trenton Central junior Zyaire Clemens blew away the field in an eye-opening 10.69 despite the poor weather. Clemens’ time is a personal best and the No. 2 time in New Jersey this spring.

Clemens came back later to win the 400 in 48.61, obliterating a field which contained three other runners that had run sub-48. The 47.34 Clemens ran on May 4 is the top mark in the state as he is expected to go for the weekend sprint triple this afternoon in the 200. Clemens has gone as fast as 22.04 in that event at the Mercer County Championships on May 11.

Jackson Memorial senior Kyle Albany won the CJ IV discus with a top toss of 141-6. Albany recovered from a rough outing at Shore Conference where he threw just 126-10 to finish 18th. He has thrown as far as 152-5 this season.

On the girls side, Manalapan junior Mary Grace Monahan remained unbeaten for the season in the 400, running 57.88 for the win and the first outdoor sectional title of her career. Monahan had little resistance in the seeded heat, winning by nearly two seconds.

The CJ IV 100 final saw Marlboro senior Kimberly McKinnon get out-leaned at the line, 12.49 to 12.52, by Montgomery junior Jessica Lee.

McKinnon had been undefeated in the 100 during championship season coming into the day, having picked up wins at Monmouth County (personal best 12.31) and Shore Conference (12.36).

The 1,600 saw Freehold Township freshman Ciara Roche nearly stun defending champion Simone Counts, but the West Windsor-Plainsboro North junior found one final gear late to hold Roche off for the win in 5:06.82.

Roche took second in 5:07.06. She has gone as fast as a personal-best 4:59.72 this spring and ran a 5:13.87 to finish ninth at Monmouth County.

Howell’s Melody Walthers used a toss of 131-4 to win the javelin, just under two feet better than East Brunswick junior Kelsey McDonald.


More USA TODAY High School Sports