Patriots shatter meet mark in 4x800

Patriots shatter meet mark in 4x800

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Patriots shatter meet mark in 4x800

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SOUTH PLAINFIELD

From a collective sentiment of camaraderie, success is often bred. On Wednesday evening, Freehold Township’s 4×800 squad took it a step forward by shattering the Meet Of Champions (MOC) record.

Emily Bracher, Caitlyn Poss, Abigail Faith and Adrian Vitello entered the MOC off a Group IV crown that saw the group of underclassmen post an impressive time of 9:11.68.

Less than one week later, they found themselves shaving more time and by posting a mark of 9:10.69, surpassing a Mount St. Dominic’s 2012 MOC record of 9:14.48.

“I couldn’t have a better team,” explained the Patriots anchor Emily Bracher. “We’re all friends off the track. We hang out together, we work out together and we’ve pushed each other the entire year to achieve more. And it’s really great to know that regardless of the time that we’re running for each other, and that we’ll always have each other.”

Vitello was spark plug for the Patriots, racing to a first-leg time of 2:13.56, before Poss’ 2:14.57, Faith’s 2:25.95, and Bracher’s anchor run of 2:16.07.

“In the final 200, despite our lead, I knew I had to finish strong,” said Bracher. “That was my focus. To get our time down as much as possible, and it turned out to be a meet record. We knew what the record was but we weren’t entirely focused on it. We knew that if we ran the way we did at groups and pushed ourselves a little more, it could happen. But we wanted to win first and foremost. Whatever came with it would be a great bonus.”

“This is what we’ve been training for since indoors,” said Poss. “This was our primary goal, we accomplished what we’ve been dreaming of. We’ve been dreaming about this day for so long and we did it. We’re super happy.”

Raritan’s Jessica Helmstetter capped her high school javelin career with a second-place showing of 134-07, two inches off her career-best toss of 134-9, which came earlier this season at the Shore Conference Championships.

“This feels amazing,” said an elated Helmstetter. “I won my four championships this season leading up to tonight, and to go out as the second best javelin thrower in the state is just incredible.”

The Richard Stockton University-bound senior entered the MOC with a sweep of the 2013 Monmouth County, Shore Conference, Central Group Group II, and Group II championships.

“The past three years and four seasons there could have been a lot more improvements. I could have done a lot more but you can’t go back in time. It’s been an amazing four years and I don’t know what my life would be like right now with out javelin in it.”

Manalapan’s Mary Grace Monahan entered Wednesday as a Group IV, Shore Conference and Monmouth County title winner in the 400 meters, but saved her best for the biggest stage.

The junior continued to bolster her status as a top competitor in the state by recording the best time of her career in the 400 meters, clocking in at 56.27 for seventh place. Columbia’s Olivia Baker, who ran to a title winning time of 54.16 in the Group IV meet on Friday evening, took the Meet Of Champions crown with an impressive 53.85, seven tenths of a second off the meet record set in 1985 by Neptune’s Stephanie Saleem.

“This result really means a lot to me,” explained Monahan. “After winning counties, Shore Conference, and sectionals, to run a new personal best in the Meet Of Champions is the best way to top off this season.”

Monahan’s performance marked successive meets in which the Braves’ captain posted a personal best, as she took fourth place at the Group IV championships with a time of 56.72.

“I’ve had so many personal best races this year, so with so much great competition in this meet I really tried to focus on myself, on my time and continuing to bring it down. To have it come down to a 56.27 is really exciting for me because coming into this season my best time was a 57.8 for outdoor. That’s a big chunk of time to shave off for a 400 runner.”

Holmdel’s Marin Warner capped her season with a sixth-place showing in the 800-meter run, posting a 2:13.14, seven hundredths slower than her personal best set this past weekend at the Group II championships, where the sophomore placed second. Lacey’s Danielle Leavitt finished ninth at 2:13.96, ahead of Southern’s Melana Hammel in 11th at 2:14.39.

Barnegat’s Brianna Young placed fifth in the shot put with a throw of 40-11.50 following victories in both group and sectional championships. Manchester’s Chandler Copeland rounded out the top 10, hitting a mark of 40-01.

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