Meet New Jersey’s newest javelin throwing star – Georgian Court University freshman Michael Brazzel.
With a mighty heave of 68.41 meters/224 feet, 5 inches at the Osprey Open Meet at Stockton University last Saturday, the rookie Lion out of North Arlington High School delivered perhaps the best performance in the two-year history of the GCU men’s track and field program, and gained national recognition in the process.
“He just let it go, and it flew and flew,” said GCU assistant coach/throws specialist Joe Napoli, himself a former top-ranked discus thrower. “The javelin official in the field, Josiah Novack, stopped the meet right then, telling people there ‘that was a national qualifier,’ and then made sure everything was 100 percent.”
And everything certainly was. The long toss puts Brazzel high on the list of NCAA Division II national championship qualifiers and marks him as full of promise for much bigger things just ahead.
New Jersey has produced a long array of javelin stars – the roster includes American record-breakers Bob Roggy and Barbara Friedrich Parcinski, Olympic stars Bill Miller and Mark Murro, Olympic Trials winner Bobby Smith, and even a former state high school champion named Eugene Orowitz who morphed into Hollywood’s Michael Landon.
“This was just Michael’s second javelin meet for us,” said Napoli. “And the weather last Saturday wasn’t the greatest. We all know he can get a lot better.”
Brazzell is listed on the GCU roster as a 5-7, 170-pound freshman sprinter and criminal justice major. He’s also an excellent long jumper, but is now expected to focus on the spear event as his potential ticket to the top.
“Michael’s a lefty, too,” said Napoli, a rightie. “The coaching part, we have that all worked out. He just mirrors everything I show him, and he’s a pretty good student.”
Busy-busy-busy Brazzel also teamed with Michael Rogers, Nick Claudeo and Jalen Hunter in lowering the GCU 4×100 relay record to 44.94. Other Georgian Court school men’s record-breakers winners in the Osprey Open included Rogers (50.53 400), Alaa Al-Shrouf (46-6 3/4 shot put) and the Claudeo-Rogers-Tom Natoli-Jhonathan Matamoros 4×400 team (3:25.84.) Hunter won the 110 high hurdles (16.21) and Jordan Fagan the high jump (6-2.)
Tops for the GCU women was Octavia Booker, with a school-record 37-8 1/2 triple jump. Other winners included Moriah Jennings (27.67 200), Chanel Rogers (1:07.87 400 hurdles) and Shelby Frink (43-1 1/2 shot put.)
Winner of the Osprey women’s open hammer throw was Donovan Catholic High School’s Alyssa Wilson, with a toss of 164-5 that ranks her high on the national sophomore charts.
Monmouth athletes excel in Virginia meets
Split Monmouth University squads competed in the Colonial Relays and the Liberty Collegiate Invitational Meet in Virginia last weekend.
Top men’s marks at Colonial were produced by Jalen Walker (14.36 high hurdles) and the Andrew Langhille-anchored 4×800 relay team (7:32.) Mackenzie Roche anchored the MU women to a 4×1500 win (19:17) and Tionna Garner anchored a second-place 4×800 team (8:57.63.)
Monmouth winners in the Liberty meet included Erik Anderson (6-8 1/4 high jump) and Liam Vogt (23-5 1/4 long jump.) Teammate Taylor Johnson won the women’s hammer throw (167-10.)
Top racewalkers coming to Ocean County
Many of America’s leading racewalkers are entered in the USATF Pan Am Cup 20K Trials and New Jersey Association Championships, an event hosted by Freehold Area Running Club and directed by Ron Salvio, starting 9:30 a.m. Sunday at Harry Wright Lake Park, Whiting, Manchester.
Top men competing include Californians John Nunn and Nick Christie, Texans Alejandro Chavez and Emmanuel Corvera, Michigan’s John Cody Risch, and Shore AC athletes Michael Mannozzi, Richard Luettchau and John Soucheck. Leading women entries include New Yorkers Maria Michta-Coffey, Miranda Melville and Katie Burnett, Ohio’s Jill Cobb, Missouri’s Molly Josephs and Shore AC members Erin Taylor-Talcott, Susan Randall and Chelsea Conway.
Matthew Weissiger (16:06.4) and Tina Walkowski (19:03.9) were winners in the Celtic Tribute 5K, hosted by Jersey Shore Running Club in Long Branch last Saturday.
Penn Relays invitees named
The Shore Conference will be well represented in the individual scholastic events at the 121st annual Penn Relays at Franklin Field, April 23-24-25.
Boys event invitees include Luke Grodeska, St. Rose, and Andrew Liskowitz, CBA, in the shot put; Kevin Benson, Toms River North, and Daniel Gilligan, Toms River East, discus; and Cinjun Erskin, Barnegat, and Mark Orlando, Marlboro, javelin. Allentown’s Conor Murphy runs the 3000 meters.
Invited girls athletes include Lauren Sapone, Red Bank Regional, Ciara Roche, Freehold Township, and Marin Warner, Holmdel, in the mile; Nicole Macco, Matawan Regional, pole vault; Domonique Panton, Freehold Township, triple jump; Michelle Mazza, Ocean, shot put; Alyssa Wilson and Jade Cunningham, Donovan Catholic, Jada Taylor, Neptune, Fidele Jules, Red Bank Catholic, discus; and Rachel Kershner, Red Bank Catholic, and Sinead Slade, Middletown North, javelin.