TOMS RIVER, NJ - Senior Sam Dennerlein broke his own school record in winning the shot put and senior Anthony Scerbo defended his 800-meter title with a first-place finish, highlighting the team effort that propelled the Chatham boys to the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 state winter track championship on Friday at the Bennett Center.
Chatham piled up 65 points to outscore Irvington, which had 59 points and Mendham, third with 46. It is the second winter track state sectional won by the Cougars, who took the Group 2 sectional title in 2015.
The top finishers advance to the Group 3 Championships set for Feb. 29.
"The meet was a close one all evening with Irvington mounting the most serious challenge," Chatham coach Patrick Barry said. "However, led by the very talented and motivated senior class, the team worked their way relentlessly to the final event, the 4x400, and brought home the trophy. There were many, many contributions to help secure the team win."
Chatham clinched the sectional championship with a first-place finish in the 4x400 relay, posting a season-best time of 3:29.07. Senior Sam Viola ran a 50.9 anchor leg as the Cougars finished two seconds ahead of second-place Irvington.
Michael Culleton led off the 4x400 for the Cougars with a 53.0 split, Scerbo followed with a 51.6 and Ryan Krill ran 53.2 before handing the baton to Viola.
Dennerlein's throw of 53 feet, 10 inches earned him the state sectional championship and erased his own indoor mark of 53 feet, 6.5 inches set in January.
Scerbo successfully defended his 2019 sectional championship by winning in a personal-record time of 1:58.18.
Chatham senior Alec Gironda set a personal record in placing second in the 3200 with a time of 9:30.86; Kyle Kressler earned third place in the high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 10 inches, and Ryan Storm took third in the pole vault by clearing 11 feet.
Chatham's Qualifiers for Groups: places 4-6.
4th Place: Thomas DePinto: High Jump; 5 feet, 10 inches.
4th Place: Ben Krill; 55-meter dash; personal record 6.76
5th Place: Sam Viola; 400 meter; 52.21
5th Place: Sean Dutton; 800 meter; 2:03.79, personal record
5th Place: Joseph DeCandia; Pole Vault; personal record 9 feet.
6th Place: Kevin Ferreira; Shot Put: 42 feet, 10 inches, a personal record.
Other notables for Chatham:
Jackson Koury: Qualified for finals in the High Hurdles, finishing 7th in 8.39
Thomas Whyte: 9th in the Shot Put at 38 feet, 8.5 inches.
Michael Culleton: 7th in the 400 at 52.81
Jack Powers: 11th in the 55 with a Pr of 6.92
Patrick Grosso: 9th in the 800 in 2:06.5
Ryan Beegle: 8th in the 1600 in 4:40.74, a personal record
Sam Ellis: 9th in the 1600 in 4:43.82
Greg Himstreet: 7th in the 3200 in 9:59.74, a personal record