Braddock Leads Way as Southern Boys Win Track and Field County Title

BRINGIN’ IT HOME: The Southern Regional boys track and field team celebrates after winning the Ocean County Championships on May 15. (Photo courtesy of Southern Athletics)
After climbing to the top of the chart in the Ocean County Relays a week earlier, the Southern Regional boys track and field squad kept it going at the Ocean County Championships over the weekend, capturing the team title with 114 points, easily getting by Toms River South with 95 and Toms River North with 80.
Senior distance runner Jackson Braddock was the big winner of the two-day event, swiping the top spot in the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter races. Braddock won the 800 in 1:53.69 and the two-mile in 9:22.03, but the University of Virginia-bound Ram delivered an epic performance in the 1,600, securing the sixth-fastest time in state history with a 4:06.25. Braddock also anchored the 4×800 relay, during which he and teammates Jake Harrison, J.P. Prosperi and Mike Chanda placed second in 8:20.07.
Several Rams scored points in multiple events as well, including senior Nick Fabrizzio, who won the javelin with a top throw of 150 feet and swiped fourth in the long jump with a distance of 20 feet, 6¼ inches; and classmate Tim Sincavage, who placed fourth and fifth in the 3,200 and 1,600, respectively, with times of 9:44.67 and 4:28.42.
Chanda placed sixth in the 800 at 2:01.01. Harrison placed fourth in the 800 with a time of 2:00.91, and he and Chanda also assisted Gavin Lum and Dominic Plesniarski in the 4×400 relay, which took fourth in 3:32.06. Fabrizzio helped the 4×100 team of Hank Gallacher, Andrew Falletta and Taner Drexler snag second in 44.81 seconds, and Gallacher added third-place points in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.26 seconds. Lum grabbed third in the pole vault by clearing 12 feet and snatched fourth in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of :58.16.
Meanwhile, senior Angel Santiago captured the first county crown of his career by clearing 12 feet to win the pole vault; Fabian Gonzalez swiped second in the shot put with a top throw of 55 feet, 7 inches; Jaiden Brown took fourth in the shot put with a toss of 53 feet, 7 inches; and Luke Hart managed to grab sixth in the 400 hurdles at :59.36.
As for the other local boys’ squads, Pinelands ended up 10th with 11 points – all scored by senior Dom Darcy, who registered third-place points in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.87 seconds, took fourth in the 100-meter dash in 11.49 seconds, and added a sixth-place finish in the 400-meter dash in :52.08. Nate Szwed just missed placing in the long jump with a top distance of 19 feet, 7¼ inches, as did Mart Villanueva in the 3,200 when he ran a 10:00.28.
For Barnegat, which finished 13th as a team, Declan Lustenberger scored fourth-place points in the javelin with a top throw of 138 feet, 7 inches, and Keann Paul grabbed fifth place in the discus with a top throw of 120 feet, 11 inches. The Barnegat 4×400 relay of Julian Cruz, Benjamin Brown, Gavin Wheeler and Adonye Corbin took sixth with a time of 3:42.78.
Southern Girls Finish
Third in County
In the girls’ meet, the wiggle room at the top of the team standings wasn’t much, and Southern ended up third with 75 points. Manchester won the county title with 80 points, and Toms River South managed 78.3 points to snag second.
The Rams received a big effort from senior Tiffany Ortner, who won the 400 hurdles in 1:07.46, scored third-place points in the long jump with a distance of 17 feet, 3½ inches, and grabbed fifth in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 16.28 seconds. Senior Maria Mezzo also scored multiple medals, capturing the county title in the pole vault by clearing 10 feet and adding a third-place finish in the 100 hurdles at 15.62 seconds. Hailey Hochstrasser also won the 400 dash in swift :59.84, and senior Bailey Hradek grabbed a pair of medals by placing fourth in the high jump at 4 feet, 10 inches and sixth in the triple jump with a distance of 32 feet, 8 inches.
Also for Southern, Shannon Flaherty took fifth in the 800 with a time of 2:27.55, Mia Mastrogiovanni grabbed sixth in the 3,200 in 12:22.61, Marlyse Haack snagged sixth in the 400 with a time of 1:02.33, and Kelly Enterline finished sixth in the discus with a distance of 102 feet, 11 inches. Ortner, Flaherty and Hochstrasser teamed with Gabi Bates to win the 4×400 relay in 4:03.65, while Flaherty and Mastrogiovanni linked up with Rachel Short and Grace Fessler to win the 4×800 in 10:01.96, and Hochstrasser, Haack and Mezzo teamed with Brielle Romano to finish sixth in the 4×100 in :51.45.
For Barnegat, Madison Cappuccio was the big winner, taking first in the high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 2 inches, and Valencia Gosser grabbed a pair of medals by taking third in the 100 dash with a time of 12.85 seconds and fourth in the 200 in 26.58 seconds. The quartet of Jillian Jankowski, Mya Gomez, Caitlyn Tai and Gosser finished second in 50.19 – just .08 behind Manchester – during the 4×100 relay.
For Pinelands, senior Marlee Tharp had a big day, swiping fourth in the 800 with a time of 2:26.91 and fifth in the 1,600 with a time of 5:21.54. Freshman Brenna Omert just missed breaking the top-six in the 400 with a time of 1:03.45.
David Biggy

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