For two local high school track standouts, Saturday’s NJSIAA Meet of Champions provides a chance at the sport’s most elusive gold medal.
Bridgewater-Raritan senior Marisa Ruskan and Westfield senior Peter Fagan will be among the favorites in their specialty events at Toms River’s Bennett Indoor Complex. The boys meet starts at 10 a.m., the girls pole vault begins at 11 a.m. and the rest of the girls meet kicks off at 1 p.m.
Ruskan is one of the most decorated distance runners in Somerset County history. She is competing as the fourth seed in the 1600 this weekend after winning the Group IV title last week with a 5:01.06.
“I know that I have a lot of competition in the race ahead,” Ruskan said. “I am just going to have to run the best race that I can and leave it all on the track.”
Ruskan has won a lot in her career, from county to sectional and state group golds. She has also participated in the cross country nationals. There is not much she has not won except a gold medal at the Meet of Champions.
“Winning the Meet of Champions 1600 has been a goal that I set for myself,” Ruskan said. “It would mean a lot to finally achieve my goal. I am now a senior and so this is my last year, and last chance, to win that medal for winter track.”
Westfield’s Fagan is looking to win the pole vault, coming off a win last weekend in the Group IV event, clearing 15-0.
“I did not realize how high I was until after I came down,” Fagan said. “When I went up, it felt like the crossbar was really close so I did not feel like I was up so high. When I landed I was so surprised. It was awesome.”
Other area girls to watch: North Hunterdon junior Morgan Harvey in the 55 hurdles (second seed), Mount St. Mary sophomore Kerry Dyke in the 3200 (fourth seed), Franklin freshman Selena Thorne and Bernards senior Melanie Macchiaverna in the high jump (tied for the second seed), Pingry junior Angel Fluet in the pole vault (third seed) and Hillsborough junior Marlena Sabatino and Montgomery junior Madeline Davidian in the pole vault (tied for the fifth seed).
Other area boys to watch: Franklin senior Yakibu Ibrahim in the 55 hurdles (third seed), Governor Livingston senior Elijah Kay in the high jump (fifth seed), North Hunterdon senior Erik Adamcik in the pole vault (fifth seed) and Union Catholic in the boys 4×400.