Track: We Are The Champions


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Nick Lukas, Dave Lukas and Dave Oster

The dominance of the Verona track program continued unabated yesterday, as both the boys’ and girls’ teams swept the Super Essex Conference Championships at Shabazz High School in Newark.

Despite a late start due to rain and high winds throughout the day, the boys shone with 132 points to #2 West Essex’s 82 and the girls tallied 107 1/3 to runner-up Mount Saint Dominic Academy’s 89. The strength of both teams was their depth, as Verona athletes placed in nearly all events. Competitors included Montclair Kimberly Academy, Cedar Grove, Glen Ridge, Science Park, Caldwell and Newark Academy.

The boys had an especially impressive showing in the distance runs. In the 3,200 meter race, Verona boys had a triple whammy with a first (Dave Lukas with 10:22.73); second (brother Nick Lukas with 10:31.85) and third (Eddie Congdon, 10:41.26). They nearly repeated the feat in the 1,600-meter run with Dave Oster in first with 4:25.51, Dave Lukas in second with 4:37.08 and Nick Lukas in fourth with 4:39.54. The 1,600-meter relay team also took third with 3:45.28.

Joel Paisner
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In the field events, Joel Paisner took third in the 110-meter hurdles with 16.25.3 and Kweku-Sapara Grant took fourth with 16.66. Sapara-Grant placed third in triple jump with 42-0 and fifth in long jump with 18-7. In the Javelin throw, Sean McGinley took third with a throw of 136-03 and Matt Wolfman took fourth with 136-3. 4. Billy Meade took a fifth in high jump with 5-4; Sapara-Grant also took fifth in long jump with 18-7. Justin Bruso threw the discus 112-11 for fourth place and Brian Hardenberg took fifth with a throw of 107-0.

The girls’ strong suit was the 400-intermediate hurdles, where Ashlee Petroski took first with 1:05.16, Marybeth Grund took second with 1:08.42 and Erin Smythe took third with 1:09.15. Petroski and Rebecca Slotkin continued their dominance of hurdles and pole vault respectively, as Petroski took first in the 110-meter hurdles with 16.76 and Slotkin took first in pole vault with 10-6. Slotkin also took a second in Javelin with her throw of 98-3.

Kweku Sapara-Grant

The Verona girls had a number of third places too: Kelly Scully placed third with 12:27.18 in the 3,200-meter run, Amanda Langan placed third in long jump with 14-7 1/2 and Montana Del Colle took third in discus with a throw of 96-4. The 1,600-meter relay team took third as well with a time of 4:22.13.

Other place winners from the girls team: Kelly Scully, 4th in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:37.83. Heather Sweeney was fifth with 5:38.85. Colleen Carr came in fifth in the high jump with 4-6. In addition to Petroski’s first in 11o-meter hurdles, Verona had a fourth and a fifth place, from Marybeth Grund, with 17.84 and Rebecca Slotkin, with 18.83. Finally, in the 3,200-meter run, Heather Sweeney placed 4th with 12:29.49. 

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Julia Martin Langan
Julia Martin Langan
Julia Martin Langan moved to Verona in 1989. A long-time journalist, she has been on the staff of Money, Sports Illustrated, Bride’s and Redbook magazines. Her articles on health and parenting appear in a variety of national publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, Parents, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, Self and Family Circle. She and her husband Greg have three school-aged children, and are members of Our Lady of the Lake Church. You can reach Julia at [email protected]



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