In a final tune-up before its state title quest, the Union Catholic High School boys track team revved the engine and smoked the competition on Friday.
The Vikings dominated the Union County Championships at Hub Stine Field, compiling a whopping 145 points, nearly double that of runner-up Westfield. And they ended the two-day affair with a bang, smashing the meet record in the 4×400 with a 3:14.63. Incredibly, that effort came with subs running the first two legs.
Kenny Evely (49.7 split) and Andrew Ghizzone (50.1) filled in for banged-up teammates and gave the lead to Jordan Jimerson (47.2) and Taylor McLaughlin (47.3). The quartet of underclassmen shaved two seconds off the old meet standard, set by Rahway in 2009.
“It was great way to end the meet,” Jimerson said. “Since two of our regular guys were gone, I figured let’s just go get the win. When we ran that fast, I was surprised.”
Jimerson was an hour removed from winning the 200 in 22.12. On Thursday he placed second in the 400 in 48.76, behind sophomore phenom McLaughlin (47.99). Union Catholic also got victories from Christoffe Scott in the 110 hurdles (14.01), Zach Ghizzone in the 400 hurdles (54.38) and Sean Brennan in the discus (163-0).
Scott was particularly outstanding. In addition to his hurdles triumph, the senior placed second in the long jump (22-4.75) and triple jump (42-8) and fourth in the high jump (6-2). He accounted for 30 points, the most of any athlete in the meet, boys or girls.
“I was a little tired – prom last night,” Scott said. “But I had ample rest. I thought I had a pretty good meet.”
His 14.01 in the hurdles set a school record. Zach Ghizzone, the indoor state champion in the highs, took second in 14.42.
“I concentrated on getting a good start. Over the eighth hurdle I kind of lost balance but I didn’t let it affect me,” Scott said. “When I heard my time, I thought, ‘What would I have run if I didn’t trip?'”
Individually, the boys pole vault was a highlight as New Providence senior Michael Closs and Westfield senior Peter Fagan both cleared the rarefied height of 15-0. Closs won the gold medal on fewer misses.
Westfield had a strong showing in the boys distances as Matt Luppino won the 1600 (4:22) and Philip Edwards took the 3200 (9:30). Governor Livingston took home three golds courtesy of Mike Murphy in the 100 (11.09), Kevin Tesoro in the javelin (173-2) and Elijah Kay in the high jump (6-4). Scotch Plains-Fanwood freshman Rashan Gary continued to impress in the shot put, placing first with a 51-1.25 heave.
In the girls’ meet, senior standout Samantha Renfree paced Scotch Plains-Fanwood to third overall with three high places: first in the javelin (119-4), second in the discus (106-1) and third in the shot put (35-1.25). Teammate Christine Charles added a silver in the long jump with a 17-11 leap. Westfield won the 4×400 as Lily Burtness (1:01.5), Sophia Goldschmidt (58.8), Natalie Marcotullio (1:01.9) and Amanda Fischer (58.7) clocked 4:01.