STATEN ISLAND, NY -- The Union Catholic track and field teams put on a remarkable show by sweeping the 4x400-meter relays, picking up a gold medal performance from A'Liyah Thomas, and sevreal medals at Sunday's 52nd NJSIAA Track and Field Meet of Champions at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex.
The Union Catholic girls continued their incredible dominance by capturing the 4x400 for an unprecedented sixth straight year with a time of 3:51.68, which is No. 4 in meet history, No. 1 for NJ team this season and the seventh fastest time in the nation this winter. UC's time of 3:51.68 is just off the high school facility record run by Benjamin Cardozo of NY in 2016.
Just how impressive is UC's six-year winning streak? Well, no girls team has ever won more than two consecutive relay titles at the Meet of Champions, indoors or outdoors.
UC's four runners consisted of freshman Maameyaa Nyinah (59.01), junior Avery Jordan (58.56), sophomore Asydiah Pray-Brown (58.22), and senior Chidumga Nkulume (55.89). Nkulume also placed second in the 400 in 56.50, the third fastest time in the state this season.
After the girls won the 4x400, it was the boys turn to grab the spotlight as the Vikings burned a high school facility record and nearly broke the meet record with its winning time of 3:18.78, which is No. 2 in the country this season and No. 2 in meet history!
This was fourth title in the past seven years for the boys in the 4x400. They also won in 2014, '15, '16.
The 3:18.78 by the Vikings smashed the facility record of 3:19.91 set on Saturday by Huntington at the NY State Championships, and just missed the meet record of 3:18.26 set in 2017 by East Orange.
The race was a battle between Union County rivals as UC edged Union, which ran a US# 3 3:19.09, No. 3 in meet history.
Union led for most of the race, but UC senior Elijah Brown used a huge surge off the final turn to catch Union and deliver the victory.
UC's splits were 49.90 for senior Tyhir Jones, 50.66 for junior Connor Cooper, 49.85 for sophomore Myles Plummer, and 48.27 for Brown.
Individually for the UC girls, Thomas was her usual spectacular self in the long jump.
Thomas, a junior, entered the meet with the state's top mark, and she left with the gold medal after leaping 18-7 ¼ on her third jump to win the title. Thomas, who soared a NJ#1 18-9 ½ at the Union County Championships last month at Ocean Breeze, said she always seems to jump her best at Ocean Breeze.
Her mark of 18-7 ¼ was just shy of the meet record of 18-7 ½ set by North Brunswick's Nakaja Weaver.
Thomas was obviously elated with her performance.
"I came into this year with a goal of improving as much as I could with my eye on trying to win a Meet of Champions title as a senior next year,'' said Thomas, who also placed eighth in the high jump at 5-2. "The fact that I won this as a junior is just so exciting. Now my next goal is go for 19 feet.''
In other girls highlights for UC, the 4x800 relay team placed second in 9:22.93, Morgan Williams placed third in the 800 in 2:15.86, Felicia Quainoo finished fourth (36-8 1/2) and Alexandra Bonn was fifth (36-7 ¾) in the triple jump.
On the boys side individually, Brown, the defending champion in the 800, placed fourth in the 800 in 1:53.26, the 10th fastest time in the nation this season, and Plummer placed third in the 1,600 in 4:18.99.
The Vikings will cap its season this weekend at the New Balance National Championships at the New Balance Track and Field Center at the 168th Street Armory in New York.