EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP
The Southern Regional High School girls’ track and field team had hoisted the NJSIAA South Group IV trophy in six of the last seven years, so they’re always among the favorites in the meet.
But on Saturday, at the sectionals at Egg Harbor Township High School, they were edged by Cherokee by just three points (110-107).
“Coming into this day we weren’t really sure how we would do,” junior Brianna Angellella said. “After (Friday) night, we had like 40 points, so we really had to come out today and show what we’ve got. This morning, we won almost all our jumps, and that really boosted us up.”
Angellella won the high jump with a height of 5-feet, 2-inches, then anchored the winning 4×400 relay team which crossed the line in 3:56.34. The height was short of her personal record of 5-4, but she was happy with the gold medal.
“It feels good,” Angellella said. “I won in winter, too, so I was just trying to maintain and keep going.”
On Saturday, Melana Hammell won the 800 in 2:16.27 and Samantha Burns won the pole vault, clearing 10-6. The Rams scored in eight of the 10 events held on the second day of competition.
After the meet, Rams coach Brian Zatorski was happy with his team’s performance even though it didn’t bring home a trophy.
“We had a wonderful meet, and hats off to Cherokee, we knew they were the favorites coming in and they were able to execute their plan,” Zatorski said. “And I wouldn’t change a thing. We did everything we could, they were just three points better and it is what it is.”
“Everyone did their absolute best that they could do,” Angellella said.
Southern’s focus immediately turns to next week’s Group meet, which is at Egg Harbor Township again. This year, the team scoring has been changed so the top two finishers from each section compete and the score is based on performance among those squads only. Zatorski said the new rules should favor a team built around depth, like his.
“I think it helps us tremendously. We’ve been second place many, many times by team with two kids that just were phenomenal kids and the way it was set up it just didn’t work out for us. I look forward to seeing how it’s going to go.”