Sports

WolfPack Track and Field Athletes Qualify for Nationals, Earning 12 Medals at USATF Jr. Olympics Regional Track and Field Championships

ROCHESTER, NY - The Berkeley Heights PAL runners competed at the Jr. Olympics USATF Regional Championship in Rochester, New York on July 8 and 9 with athletes qualifying for the Nationals.

“The WolfPacks brought their A-Game, their months of preparation was showcased this weekend,” said Coach Steve SanAntonio. “Our coaching staff is so proud of the runners' new gained confidence and maturity developed over the course of the season, the sky is the limit for them."  

The top five placers in each event get medals and qualify for the Nationals. Early Saturday morning Elsa Spoor started the field events in the girls 11-12 age-group high jump. "She bounced back strong from a foot injury incurred earlier in the season and took gold with an impressive jump of 4 feet 11 inches, qualifying for the Nationals," said Coach SanAntonio.  

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Kicking off the running events, Emma SanAntonio competed in the girls 11-12 age-group 3000 meters. She started with a conservative pace and worked her way up to 5th place, a new personal best by two seconds, qualifying for the Nationals with a 5th place medal in a time of 12:43.64.

Tom Hunt had an impressive first track season, capping it off with high placings at the Regionals. Hunt placed 3rd in the 3000 meter event. He came back the following day and ran a personal best by three seconds in the boys 11-12 age-group 1500 meter in 5:05, placing 3rd and qualifying for the Nationals and receiving medals for both events.

Joe Frank and Chris Marinko battled in the 3000 meter boys 13-14 age-group. Joe Frank narrowly missed the cut-off by placing 6th, but manage to shave 21 seconds for a personal best, with a time of 10:39.98. "What’s extraordinary about Joe is that earlier this year, his personal best for the 1500 meter was 5:20, and now he runs faster than that in the 3000 meter in doubling the distance," said Coach SanAntonio. "This is Joe’s first track season and what a future he will have."

Marinko placed 9th in a time of 11:26.88. "He will now take the time to prepare for Cross Country and will lead the WolfPack’s as team Captain," said Coach SanAntonio.

Louis Abbey competed in the boys 8 and under 1500 meter and also experienced his first track season. "As the gun went off, Louis went with the leaders, and they exchanged leads lap by lap. As the three lead runners headed for the finish line, it was a battle for first and a great sprint ensued," said Coach SanAntonio.  Abbey earned the silver medal and a new personal best by a second, in a time of 5:54. An hour later, he competed again in the 800 meter, topping off the day with a bronze medal qualifying in both events for the Nationals.

In the boys 9-10 1500 meter, Andrew Burkitt, Will Frank and Nicholas Frank represented well. "The battle was on from the start of the gun," said Coach SanAntonio. "Each lap was fast and furious with various runners changing leads." In the final home stretch, Burkitt finished 4th in 5:33.61 and Will Frank finished 5th in 5:33.68 to take the final qualifying spots for the Nationals. Nicholas Frank, 8 years old and the youngest in the group, came in a strong 7th in 5:47. "His future looks bright as he will own this age-group next year," said Coach SanAntonio.

Caroline Mondelli and Rachel Williams competed in the girls 15-16 1500 meter and 800 meter in their first Regional Championships.  Mondelli battled for a top spot and earned a bronze medal in 5:21.83.  Williams competed to hold on for a top spot and medaled with 5th place finish in 5:28.57, almost matching her personal best time.

An hour later, Mondelli and Williams competed in the girls 15-16 800 meter. A demanding pace from the gun, Mondelli hung on and placed 4th medaling in 2:33.61 and right behind was Williams in 5th place medallng in 2:35.25. "This fall, Mondelli will be heading to Governor Livingston High School and Williams will be heading Watchung Hill High School with new found confidence and help lead their track team to success," said Coach SanAntonio.

Rounding out the runners, Kyle Tierney competed in the boys 15-16 1500 meter. "It was a fast pace and there was no letting up. Kyle was challenging and looking to seal a spot, as he rounded the final curve, a runner shot past him and Kyle placed 6th,  just missing out on a medal and Nationals," said Coach SanAntonio. Tierney earned a new personal best by 8 seconds with a time of 4:38.20. He has improved his personal best by nearly 50 seconds in this event this season, said Coach SanAntonio.  

Tierney also competed in the 15-16 800 meter. "He blasted out like a cannonball as the gun went off, his first 400 was fast, in 64 seconds, he tried to hold on, but the 1500 event took the sting out of his legs and held on for 7th in 2:17.96 and a new personal best, just missing a spot again," said Coach SanAntonio. "Kyle can now take this experience as a steppingstone and help lead New Providence High School track and Cross Country to new success."

 The official results link: http://niagara.usatf.org/Events/LiveResults.aspx

SATURDAY July 8th

 High Jump 11-12 Division Girls

  1 Spoor, Elsa               05 WolfPack Track Club      1.50m    4-11.00                

3000 Meter Run 11-12 Division Girls

  5 San Antonio, Emma         05 WolfPack Track Club   12:43.64                 

 3000 Meter Run 11-12 Division Boys

  3 Hunt, Thomas              06 WolfPack Track Club   11:18.38                 

3000 Meter Run 13-14 Division Boys

  6 Frank, Joseph             04 WolfPack Track Club   10:39.98                  

  9 Marinko, Christopher      04 WolfPack Track Club   11:26.88                

 SUNDAY July 9th

  1500 Meter Run 8 & Under Division Boys

   2 Abbey, Louis              09 WolfPack Track Club    5:54.27                 

 1500 Meter Run 9-10 Division Boys

   4 Burkitt, Andrew           07 WolfPack Track Club    5:33.61                

   5 Frank, William            07 WolfPack Track Club    5:33.68       

   7 Frank, Nicholas           08 WolfPack Track Club    5:47.70                  

1500 Meter Run 11-12 Division Boys

  3 Hunt, Thomas              06 WolfPack Track Club    5:05.00                 

1500 Meter Run 15-16 Division Girls

  3 Mondelli, Caroline        02 WolfPack Track Club    5:21.83                 

  5 Williams, Rachel          02 WolfPack Track Club    5:28.57                 

1500 Meter Run 15-16 Division Boys

  6 Tierney, Kyle             02 WolfPack Track Club    4:38.20                 

800 Meter Run 8 & Under Division Boys

  3 Abbey, Louis              09 WolfPack Track Club    3:03.68                      

800 Meter Run 15-16 Division Girls

  4 Mondelli, Caroline        02 WolfPack Track Club    2:33.61                 

  5 Williams, Rachel          02 WolfPack Track Club    2:35.25                 

800 Meter Run 15-16 Division Boys

  7 Tierney, Kyle             02 WolfPack Track Club    2:17.96                 

The WolfPack Track Club sponsored by the BH PAL is a USATF certified club that serves hundreds of youth runners throughout the year. For more information you can contact the club at www.wolfpacktc.org or contact Coach Steve SanAntonio at wolfpacktrackclub@gmail.com.

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