Individuals, Teams Shine In States

Individuals, Teams Shine In States South Jersey Individuals, Teams Shine At State Track Championships

There were many impressive showings in the recently completed NJSIAA state track championships, but Sterling Pierce of Rancocas Valley and Luke Petela of Haddon Township were among the key individuals, while Haddonfield earned the difficult double of having its boys and girls win team state championships and the Lenape and Winslow Township used wins in the 4 x 400 relay to earn dramatic state titles.

These were just a few of the highlights in another strong weekend for South Jersey track individuals and teams.

Rancocas Valley won the boys Group 4 state title by scoring 47 points, 10 more than host Egg Harbor Township.

The Red Devils were led by Pierce, who has continued his remarkable track story in a short period of time.

He is the son of Jack Pierce, a Woodbury graduate and a bronze medalist in the 1992 Olympics in the 110-meter hurdles.

Sterling Pierce didn’t begin running track until last season as a junior and this season he is among the top performers in the state, having earned a scholarship to Villanova.

He was part of three state championships, winning the 100 meters in 10.76 seconds, the 200 in 21.7 and was also part of the Red Devils winning 4 x 100 relay team that set a Group 4 record in a time of 42.20 seconds. The others on that winning relay were JeSean Foster, Dyson Scott and Shaun Ellis-Bradley.

Those three events that Pierce was involved in accounted for 30 of the Red Devils 47 points.

While Haddon Township finished second in the Group 1 state championships, Petela, a Penn recruit, was outstanding. Like Pierce, he won two individual gold medals and was part of a winning relay. Petela captured the 1,600 (4:12.79), and 3,200 (9:20.19) and was part of the Hawks winning 4 x 800 relay that also consisted of Joe Domanico, Randy Ladd and Owen Long.

Petela also placed second in the 800, helping the Hawks earn 38 of their 71.5 points. Penns Grove won the Group 1 title with 80 points. The individual champions for Penns Grove were Kimere Brown (long jump) and Allen Killebrew (triple jump).

Leanpe’s girls edged Columbia 53-50, winning the final event, the 4 x 400 relay. The Indians quartet consisted of sophomore Jasmine Staten, senior Carly Pettipaw, junior Shannon Storms and senior Marissa Toploski, who is a Rice University soccer recruit.

The Haddonfield boys used great balance to edge Deptford, 52-50 in the Group 2 championships. Junior Greg Pelose was Haddonfield’s lone individual winner, capturing the 1,600 but he was also part of the winning 4 x 800 relay that also included Austin Stoner, Jack Wood and Chris Goings.

The Haddonfield girls scored 53 points in winning Group 2 by 13 points over second place Ramapo. Sophomore Briana Gess, among the top performers in the state, won the 800, 3,200 and 1,600 meters, and was sixth in the 400, accounting for 31 points.

The other South Jersey champions were the Winslow Township girls, who tied Northern Highlands for the Group 3 title and the St. Joseph’s boys captured the Non-Public B championship.

Senior B.J. Mitchell led the St. Joseph’s win by capturing three events, the long jump, high jump and 400 hurdles.

Winslow Township and Northern Highlands both scored 62 points. For Winslow, winning the 4 x 400 relay was huge. Freshman Flora Ahirake led off the relay followed by sophomore Iyianna Williams, senior Jordan Austin and junior Brittany Preston.

Northern Highlands earned eight points by finishing second and securing the tie with the Eagles.

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