TOMS RIVER, NJ - The Highlander Boys and Girls Winter Track teams traveled to the Bennett Indoor Track Center in Toms River on Sunday for the Central Group 2 Sectional Championships and came away with one relay and five individual titles. The Highlander Girls came in second overall, just three points out of first place. The Highlander Boys placed third.
The girls team had four event championship titles: Shot Put, Pole Vault, 800M, and the 4 X 400 M Relay.
Lauren Boyd was among the athletes that won the Shot Put championship title throwing 39-10, breaking the school record set by Michelle Almeida '16 in the process.
Boyd has been throwing since freshman year and had dreamed of one day breaking the school record. She set out this season to work hard to reach her goal. When Almeida set a new 38 foot school record in 2016, Boyd was determined to work that much harder to realize her dream. "I worked with my trainer in the offseason, and I told him that I wanted the record and that was my goal," said Boyd. "Every session he would remind me of what I was working for, so surpassing it by a foot and a half is more than I could’ve wanted."
Boyd has seen improvement throughout the season and was hopeful of grabbing the sectional title, but did not expect to surpass Almeida's school record. "I was overwhelmed at first, and then really, really happy," she said. "It really just felt like all my hard work the past four years had finally paid off. But I know the season’s not over, and Groups will be that much harder, so I have to put my head down and keep working."
In addition, senior Leah Saifi won the Pole Vault clearing 12-04 and freshman Victoria Vanriele won the 800 M in 2:16.48. Both had previously won the Union County Championship titles in their respective events.
The girls 4 x400 M relay team of Nicole Trezza, Cristal Vilasoa, Danielle Petryk, and Vanriele also placed first in a time of 4:07.54, breaking the Indoor school record
For the boys, Andrew Aguilera won two individual championships -- 55 M hurdles in 7.69 seconds and the 55 M dash in 6.53 seconds, a new school record.
Other point scoring finishers include:
- Brian Rubenstein placed second in pole vault clearing 13'0"
- Lauren Saifi placed second in the pole vault at 10’6”.
- Doug Ladzinski placed third in the 55m hurdles in 7.89 seconds.
- The boys 4 x 400 relay placed fifth in 3:38.19 (Jakada Khalfani, Tim Branthover, Zach Goldman, and Andrew Aguilera).
- Logan Calichman placed sixth in the 3200 M in 10:06.54.
These athletes will compete next in the NJSIAA Group 2 Championships on Saturday, February 18 at the Bennett Indoor Track Center. The top six finishers of each event at the Group Championships will move on to the Meet of Champions on February 25 and 26.
Other notable finishes include:
Nicole Trezza placed 8th in the 400M dash in 1:03.31.
Amanda Johnson placed 7th in the 1600M run in 5:30.12.
Sara Kelly placed 7th in High Jump clearing 4-06.
Alexa Saldida placed 9th in Shop Put throwing 31-3.
Hanna Nordstrom placed 7th in Pole Vault clearing 7-06.