2007-06-07 / Sports

Monmouth, RFH 4x400 teams break state records

RBR's Waite, Ocean's Nembhard among state champions
BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer

Staff Writer

The 4x400 relay teams from Monmouth Regional and Rumson-Fair Haven continue to surpass themselves.

Both set new school records on Saturday while capturing State Group titles at the Frank Jost Field in South Plainfield.

Monmouth's boys tinkered with their line-up at the State Group III championships, moving Chris Cox to the second leg from his usual penultimate third slot, switching places with Rashon Verrett. Kelly Fisher still led it off and Charles Cox anchored. The new format certainly worked as the All-American quartet turned in a 3:15.04, breaking the old Shore Conference record set by Monmouth's 1980 team of 3:15.60. They also established a new Group III meet record. Willingboro, which produced nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis, had held the previous meet record of 3:15.71 back in 2002.

Willingboro, which had pushed the Falcons at the Central Jersey championships the week before, once again gave a valiant chase to Monmouth, running a 3:15.63 themselves and setting a new school record.

The 4x400 win helped the Golden Falcons win the State Group III title as they shared it with Morris Hills after both teams scored 45 points.

Charles Cox won the 200-meter dash in 21.42 and was second in the 400 as Willingboro's Antonio Abney upended the defending state champion, 47.43-47.48. Chris Cox was third in the one-lapper (48,11).

As it has all through its championship run this spring, Monmouth got help from its throwers. Edrick Alleyene (54-5) and Brandon Cately (54-4 1/2) were fifth and sixth in the shot put with Alleyene also taking fifth in the discus (150-7). Fisher took third in the long jump (22-2 1/2).

Rumson-Fair Haven's girls exceeded their expectations when they won the State Group II crown with a 3:53.03. It's a time the dynamite team of Jaime Carroll, Gabriella Kelly, Sara Robinson and Melissa Bellin, thought was out of reach.

"We still can't believe it," said Kelly. "Everyone pretty much ran a pr (personal record).

"We were all tired from running other events," she added. "We said 'let's try and qualify (for the Meet of Champions).' "

The Bulldog did more than that in dominating the race and winning by more than three seconds.

Kelly, who was second in the 400 (56.62) and sixth in the 200 (25.72), credited some hard workouts in the last couple of weeks with helping the team produce its unexpected state championship.

"We've been having really tough practices lately," she pointed out.

The season-ending NJSIAA Meet of Champions was held last night back in South Plainfield. The top six finishers from the State Group meets all qualified.

Monmouth's boys were looking to duplicate their indoor MOC title and Rumson's girls were looking to win a medal that would confirm that they are one of the best teams in the state. Both quartets were poised to continue to running faster.

Red Bank Regional's Dennie Waite added the outdoor Group III 1,600 title to his indoor Group title. The senior ran his fastest time of the season, 4:16.84, in fending off Holmdel's George Galasso (4:17.08) at the line. Waite won the indoor MOC 1,600 as well and was looking for the indoor-outdoor double Wednesday.

Mark Degenhart was fifth in the 800 meters (1:58.60) and Mike Kolodziej, fourth in the 3,200 (9:39.12) as the Bucs qualified runners in all three distance events.

Buc sprinter Kerone Rhoden was fourth in the 100 meters (10.83) and sixth in the 200 (22.01).

Ocean Township's Georgina Nembhard sees herself as a sprinter first, but that might be changing. She was again second to Lakewood's Shavon Greaves in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes, despite running her best times of the year, 11.71 and 24.02, behind Greaves' 11.61 and 23.69. The good news for the Spartan senior is that she keeps narrowing the gap between herself and Greaves, and was hoping the MOC would be the perfect time to turn the tables.

But Nembhard does have something to fall back on - the hurdles. A week after surprising herself by winning the Central Jersey title, she captured the State Group III championship in the 100 hurdles winning in 14.39. Nembhard was undecided as to how many of the three events she qualified for she would run at the MOC.

The Spartans' Dan Hitman followed up his state sectional triumph with a victory in the javelin. He threw the spear 181-5 to edge Nutley's Chris Bradley (178-9).

Suhail La Vecchia was sixth in the girl's shot put for Ocean (38-0 3/4).

Monmouth's Eleena Faagai took second in the girl's Group III javelin (129-0).

Shore Regional's Derek Schultz had a pair of fourth places in Group II in the 200 meters (22.59) and the long jump (21-9 3/4). RFH's Alex Smith tied for fifth in the high jump (6-2).

Shore's girls were sixth in the Group II 4x400 (4:02.77). The team is made up of Alicia Baldo, Shannon Harrison, Jamie Pointer and Cameo Kirk.

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