Sean Lyons of Morristown tops DeSchriver Invitational indoor track meet

Sean Lyons of Morristown tops DeSchriver Invitational indoor track meet

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Sean Lyons of Morristown tops DeSchriver Invitational indoor track meet

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MADISON

Needless to say, the last year or so was extremely frustrating for Morristown senior Sean Lyons.

During the 2012 cross country season, Lyons felt a nasty twinge in the back of his leg, a pain that went undiagnosed for the longest time.

“It was ridiculous,” Lyons said. “Everyone wanted to try something different.”

In the meantime, Lyons spent all of the indoor and outdoor seasons on the sidelines.

“I just wanted to be training,” Lyons said. “It was tough to sit at a desk and worry about schoolwork when my teammates were all out training without me. It was really tough for me.”

Lyons received the medical clearance to begin training on a regular basis last summer, right before the spring outdoor track season concluded.

“I started training, but if I came back too soon, I would have done more harm than good,” Lyons said.

So Lyons patiently waited until his Morristown teammates began to prepare for the 2013 cross country season.

“I felt pretty good,” Lyons said. “I also went to Blue Mountain Cross Country camp in Pennsylvania and that’s when I felt like I was back.”

Lyons led the Colonials to their second consecutive Morris County cross country championship and a second place finish overall among Group III schools.

However, the unlucky Lyons had to endure another injury during the cross country season.

“My back was out of place,” Lyons said. “I had to sit out a little more than two weeks. After the first dual meet of the season, I couldn’t run because my back hurt so much. I couldn’t run. It was frustrating, because I could do nothing but swimming.”

Lyons made it back in time for the championship events and led the Colonials to an impressive campaign.

“My coach (Paul Buccino) trained me hard so I could make it back,” Lyons said.

Monday afternoon, at the DeSchriver Invitational meet at Drew University, Lyons proved that he was all the way back, winning the 1,600-meter run in an impressive 4:27.95, beating teammates Greg Arabagian (second in 4:36.96) and Evan Quinn (fourth in 4:42.44) in the process.

“It’s only my third meet of the season, so this gives me a lot of confidence,” Lyons said. “I still need to improve, but this was against good competition.”

Lyons is also hopeful that his performance opens some eyes at the United States Air Force Academy, where Lyons wants to go next fall. Lyons wants to study aeronautical engineering at the school. He’s already received his appointment letter from Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Morris).

“I’m trying to talk to the coach there,” Lyons said. “I’d definitely love to run there. I just hope that this is a step in the right direction.”

Ashleigh Thurston had only run one 1,600-meter run in her life, so the Morris Hills junior had no idea what to expect at the DeSchriver Invitational Monday.

“I was just looking to go out there and improve,” Thurston said. “I ran 5:21 the first time, so it was a good first time. I knew that this race was going to be competitive.”

In reality, it wasn’t at all, as Thurston sprinted out to the lead and dominated the race, crossing the line first in 5:18.99, three seconds ahead of nearest competitor Christine O’Kane of Morristown.

Thurston had no idea that she was so far in front of the rest of the field.

“I try not to look over my shoulder,” Thurston said. “I just wanted to do my best. I was feeling pretty good and I was going to give it my all.”

Thurston said that she knows she can do better.

“There are things I can improve on,” Thurston said. “But I’m really excited for the rest of the season. I am happy with the way this turned out. At the end, I could see the finish line and I felt the adrenalin rush. It was exciting. There’s definitely a lot to look forward to.”

Jordan Wildermuth had to throw the shot put in the shadows of teammate Carrie Wasdyke last season.

“She was such a great influence on me,” said Wildermuth of Wasdyke, who finished fourth in the NJSIAA Meet of Champions in each of the last two seasons. “She helped me so much. She helped me with my form and with lifting.”

Monday represented the first time the sophomore Wildermuth went into the shot put pit competitively without Wasdyke nearby.

“There was a lot of stress,” Wildermuth said. “I definitely took what she taught me with me today. It was a little weird not having her there to help me calm down and relax.”

Wildermuth did pretty well on her own, throwing 35-1½ to win the gold medal.

“I felt pretty good,” Wildermuth said. “I hadn’t throw 35 in a while.”

Still, Wildermuth feels she has to compete with Wasdyke’s legacy.

“Carrie was so amazing,” Wildermuth said. “I’m just trying to be the best that I can.”

Wildermuth will certainly be heard from for the rest of the season. Her teammate, senior Caitlin Noonan, was third with a throw of 32-5¾. Luisa Gomez of Dover was fifth.

Rudy Torres of Morristown was the impressive winner of the 600-meter run, crossing the line in 1:25.08. Teammate John Vallacchi was second in 1:30.03. Torres, nicknamed “El Flashito” by his teammates, will be one of the top middle distance runners in Morris County this season.

Senior Kassandra Ortiz of Morris Knolls won the 600-meter run in 1:44.92, holding off a late surge from Rhianna Follet of Morris Hills. Ortiz has been one of the more consistent middle distance runners in Morris County the last two seasons.

Malik Dixon of Morris Hills won the pole vault by clearing the bar at 12 feet. The senior Dixon was a busy competitor, also competing in the high jump and relays.

Sean Wukitsch of Morristown was second in the boys’ shot put with a throw of 49-2, two feet better than third place finisher Conor McClain of Morris Hills, who threw 47-1. Vinny Cannarozzi, the standout Jefferson football lineman in the fall and golfer in the spring, was fourth.

Danielle Beniulis of Jefferson was third in the 55-meter hurdles in 9.04 seconds, setting the tone for the rest of the indoor season. Elly Scherer of Randolph, the winner at the Lid Lifter last week, was fourth in 9.08. Alessio DiLorenzo of Morris Hills was third in the boys 55-meter hurdles in 8.28 seconds.

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