Matawan's Love tops Group II meet

Matawan's Love tops Group II meet

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Matawan's Love tops Group II meet

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SOUTH PLAINFIELD

Sprinting, hurdling, jumping at various heights and distances, the multiple track and field talents of Matawan’s Justin Love are well documented.

But 28 individual team points and a first place finish in the Group 2 400 hurdles event were both career firsts for Love, a phrase not often associated with this decorated senior.

Love’s elongated afternoon and impressive individual effort in the name of the Huskies at Fred Jost Memorial Field commenced with that aforementioned hurdles heat in which the Cornell University-bound athlete boasted a personal best mark of 53.97, bettering his previous benchmark of 54.95.

“I feel pretty accomplished today,” said love, “especially after the 400 race, where I was pretty much dead, and had to race over to compete in the triple jump with no break. I’m proud of that 400 result and with the rest of my events, since I was mainly focused on placing and pacing myself for next week.”

Though Love was pleased with his performance, he admittedly believed that with proper rest and preparations a pair of first place medals could have made it onto his mantle instead of having to settle for a second place mark of 45-1.5 in that triple jump event to Manchester’s Mason Jones and his 45-03.25.

The senior would cap off Group II competition with a third place showing in the high jump, leaping to a height of 6-4.

“I think Justin did great today, all that could be expected of him in this 90-degree weather,” explained Matawan jumps coach Kevin Burns. “Unfortunately, what makes him so valuable to the team is that he has to go out and score in three or four events.”

“By the time he gets to the high jump, it hurts him a little bit, but it’s amazing to watch him battle and overcome that fatigue and keep his head on his shoulders.”

“By what he’s done here today Justin has proven what kind of team athlete he is,” said coach Sam Turner. “The way he chooses to approach this sport shows you how he feels about this team and the pride he has in school. He’s one of the most underrated track athlete’s around and I’m proud to have him on my team…I’m lucky to have him on my team.”

Love earned more than half of his team’s total on Friday lifting the Huskies to a day one total of 52 points and a slim lead over Sterling’s 48 after eight events.

Monsignor Donovan’s Katie Weeks entered Friday’s competition after capturing three individual championships in the long jump, discus, and shot put at the Non-Public South A Sectional meet last weekend, and proceeded to top the Non-Public A shot put field again reaching a personal best distance of 38-02.5, surpassing teammate Dana Carbone’s third place toss of 37-01.75.

“I’m a lot more confident in my abilities after today, and this will help me a lot entering the Meet Of Champions just to know that I’m able to reach 38 feet. 40 feet is the ultimate goal, and I’ll have to continue to work to get to where I want to be.”

With weeks taking the reigns The Griffins pulled into second place after day one with 39 team points, but have work to do on Saturday to catch Academy Of The Holy Angels and their 48-point first place total after nine events.

CBA’s 4×800 collective recorded a Non-Public A first place finish by more than eight seconds, as Stephen Farr, Chris Piatkowksi, Adam Kershner, and Mike Cassify raced to a time of 7:52.10. The Colts concluded opening day with 30 total team points and have lots of ground to make up on Saturday if the celebrated program is to makeup ground on first place Union Catholic and its robust 72.50 after eight events.

Middletown South’s 4×800 girls relay team of Brianna Haspel, Sylvie Evarts, Christiana Rutkowski, and Cassidy Weimer also ran to a title-winning mark of 9:22.67 in their Group 3 event.

Toms River South’s Chris Marco captured his first outdoor group championship racing to a 4:15.07 in the Group III 1600 event.

Barnegat’s Brianna Young improved on a fourth place shot put finish in 2012 to win the Group II event at a distance of 41-01.5, bettering the second place mark of 38-11.75 by Manchester’s Chandler Copeland.

Raritan’s Jessica Helmstetter followed up a championship performance in the javelin at Central Group II sectional last weekend, where she reached a distance of 121-10, with a Group II title on Friday, hitting a mark of 133-08.

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