SUMMIT, NJ - More than 30 teams from across the state participated in the 36th annual Summit Relays at Tatlock Field on Saturday. Some of the schools included Summit, New Providence, Madison, Cranford, Dayton Regional, Delbarton, Oratory and Union Catholic.

Many teams were looking to use this meet as a chance to qualify for the upcoming Penn Relays. The day featured 3 x 400m IH, 4 x 100, 4 x 800, Novice Sprint Medley (100, 100, 200, and 400), The “Rich Thomasey” Shuttle Hurdle Relay, Novice 4 x 800, Sprint Medley, Distance Medley, and Novice 4 x 400, 4 x 400 and a full slate of field relay events.

The stadium was packed with students running, hurdling, stretching and preparing with their coaches. Three students from Del Barton High School who had just finished a relay against St. Joe’s, said they were pleased with their performance considering the team was comprised of many new people.

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“I wasn’t too confident going into it,” junior Van Johnson said.  

Newcomer Luke, who is a freshman, said he was just happy to be there and gain valuable experience. Because it was his first time there he didn’t know what to expect, he said.

“I was just expecting to make it, not die,” Luke said.

The two of them finished fourth and sixth, but they both agreed they were trying to keep up with their fastest runner, Jules, who placed first.

The Madison Dodgers squared off against one of their heated rivals, Chatham in a race early in the morning. After winning the state championship in the winter, sophomore Stevie said the goal was to build on that and continue winning at the relays today.

“We were hoping for good results,” Stevie said, adding that they hope to finish in the top five.

While the players had time in between races to stretch and relax, coaches were all over the field preparing the students for each race, timing them and watching race closely.

Summit Head boys Coach Tony Martins said the team had surpassed expectations and many of the students were already clocking faster times than last year. With a lot of new students participating, this could be a stepping stone for future events, he said.

“It’s kind of a different experience for them,” Martins said.

With many students on vacation for spring break, Kevin Kelly, the head coach of the New Providence Pioneers said they only brought a few students to the races, but they were doing very well. With primarily juniors and seniors participating, the school had experience on its side, Kelly said.

“We’re hoping that the boys can run under an 8:15 to qualify,” he said. Kelly added the students seemed confident they could win and qualify for the Pen Relays.

After just competing in the 4x100 relay against five schools, members of the Dayton Bulldogs were in good spirits. Juniors Anthony Cioffi and Kenny Rocha said although the team lacks experience, they are fast and plan to succeed.

“We’re all new, but we’re getting better,” Rocha said.