Mendham girls and boys capture sectional championships

Mendham girls and boys capture sectional championships

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Mendham girls and boys capture sectional championships

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It was a clean sweep for Mendham at the NJSIAA North 2 Group III indoor track championships late Saturday night at the Bennett Center in Toms River.

Both the Mendham girls and boys teams captured team championships in a sectional dominated by local teams.

Led by stellar performances from juniors Audrey O’Neill and Sierra Tonnesen, both of whom won three medals, the Mendham girls successfully defended their sectional championship, holding off a stiff competition from sister school West Morris, winning by just three points, 78-75, with Randolph, a newcomer to the section, finishing third with 53 points.

Christian Kildal-Brandt, the brilliant junior sprinter for the Minutemen, won three gold medals, capturing the 400-meter dash and 800-meter run, while also running the anchor leg in the winning 4×400-meter relay, leading Mendham’s boys to a 66-50 win over Morristown with Randolph finishing third with 45 points.

Mount Olive sensational sprinter Keturah Orji also won three gold medals in the North 1 Group III sectionals held Sunday.

Orji, who Wednesday signed a national letter of intent to attend the University of Georgia in the fall, won the 55 and 400-meter dashes while running the anchor in the Marauders’ winning quartet in the 4×400-meter relay.

Orji said that she definitely felt a little fatigue Sunday in winning the three events.

“It was kind of hard running the 400 (meter),” said Orji, who won in 59.29. “I was feeling it at the end of the day. I was really excited about winning the races, especially the 55. I just go out there and run. There’s not much more I can do.”

Orji’s three gold medals helped the Marauders finish second as a team to Northern Highlands.

The Marauders had to convene at Mount Olive High at 5:45 a.m. Sunday in order to get to Toms River in time for the meet.

“I didn’t have trouble getting up,” said Orji, who woke at 5 a.m. “It was a long bus ride and we could sleep on the bus.”

Orji is also battling a stubborn cold.

“But that really didn’t affect me,” Orji said. “I wouldn’t let it bother me. I didn’t even think about it.”

Tonnesen won the 400-meter dash in 1:00.26, with teammate O’Neill finishing second in 1:00.83, giving the Minutemen 18 team points to start the meet.

Tonnesen was also fourth in the 800-meter in 2:25.53 and was joined by O’Neill, Cali Heffernan and Margo Medenbach on the victorious 4×400-meter relay, winning in 4:14.04.

O’Neill was also second in the 55-meter dash, with teammate Courtney Foshay third, giving Mendham an additional 14 team points in that event.

Senior Mackenzie Barry, the defending gold medal winner in the 3,200-meter run at the Meet of Champions, won the event Saturday night in 10:52.31, some 21 seconds ahead of runner-up Carole Harsch of Randolph, with Brennan Sharkey of West Morris third. The top six finishers in the event all hail from Morris County, with Christine O’Kane (fourth) and Emma Cary (fifth) of Morristown and Defne Sement of Mendham sixth.

West Morris senior Kylene Cochrane continued her brilliant indoor campaign, winning two gold medals, taking home top honors in both the 800 and1,600-meter runs. Cochrane, who won three gold medals at the recent Morris County championships, won the 800 in 2:17.86 over Nora May McSorley and Liz Wellman of Randolph, who finished second and third respectively.

Cochrane won the 1,600-meter run in 4:54.96, 12 seconds ahead of Wellman in second, with Barry third. O’Kane was fifth and Margaret Thomsen of Randolph sixth.

Elly Scherer of Randolph, the county’s top hurdler, won the gold in the 55-meter hurdles in 8.78 seconds, ahead of Deanna Graziani of Roxbury in second and Rayleen Hu of Mendham in third and Kelsey Cronin of West Morris in fourth.

Kristina Lovenberg of West Morris won the high jump, clearing the bar at 4-10, with Cronin second.

Marlena Paz of West Morris won the pole vault, clearing the bar at 10 feet, with Dana Fantuzzi of Randolph second and Julia Mszanski of Mendham third.

Among the North 2 Group III boys, Kildal-Brandt won the 400 in 50.11, with Stephen Nalbach and Collin McAlmont of Randolph finishing second and third respectively. Kildal-Brandt won the 800 in 1:58.73, with Rudy Torres and Greg Arabagian of Morristown placing second and third.

Kildal-Brandt ran the final leg in the Minutemen’s 4×400-meter relay that won in 3:30.57, with Ian Graham, Dylan Geraghty and Malcom Montilus running the other legs.

Sean Lyons of Morristown won both the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs. Lyons crossed the line in 4:21.15 in the 1,600, holding off a late challenge from Paul Ehmann of Mendham, who ran 4:21.96. Lyons won the 3,200 in 9:37.21, with Ehmann fourth. Phil St. Jacques of Mendham was fourth in the 1,600 and fifth in the 3,200.

Sean Wukitsch of Morristown won the shot put with a throw of 45-0. Spenser Clouse of Mendham won the high jump, clearing 6-2 and Max Maroney of West Morris won the pole vault, clearing 14-0.

In North 1 Group III boys, Mount Olive’s Eddie Garcia won the 800-meter run in 1:57.78 and was sixth in the 1,600. Teammate Matt Kraemer won the shot put with a throw of 48-9 ½ and Marauder Robert Shannon was fourth in the 55-meter dash, as Mount Olive finished fourth as a team.

Montville’s Booker McLean was third in the 55-meter dash and helped the Mustangs finish second in the 4×400-meter relay. Abe Rodgers of Montville was fourth in the shot put.

In North 1 Group III girls, Alexandra Christian of Mount Olive was second in the 3,200-meter run. Leah Wis of Montville was third in the shot put and third in the high jump.

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