The Verona High School girls winter track team took second place at the state sectional championships on Saturday, in day filled with medals for VHS senior Julia Ashley. The competition, which was held at the Bennett Center in Toms River, is going to be sending 12 Verona athletes to the state group championships on February 14.
Julia Ashley and sister Maggie Ashley placed first and second in the 400m with times of 60.3 and 62.5 respectively while teammate Angel Barkley got sixth with her time of 63.3. In the sectionals, the top six finishers in each event qualify for states.
Barkley also qualified in high jump after winning second place at 4’10”, while Alex Luehs got third at 4’6″ and Cianna Winkler got sixth at 4’4″.
Jessica Williams got sixth in the 55m high hurdles at 9.8. In the 55m, Ariana Matias took third at 7.8 and Barkley qualified for yet another spot with a fifth place at 7.9.
The Ashley sisters double-teamed again in the 800m with Julia first in 2:23 and Maggie second in 2:34. The Ashleys, Barkley and Williams repeated their magic in the 4 x 400m relay, capturing first place for Verona in 4:16.7.
The girls won’t be the only Veronans at states. Christian Grund took first place in shot put with a throw of 37′ 91/4″, while Matt Intilii came in third in the boys 400m at 54.2. Ryan Ramsthaler qualified for two events after taking fifth place in the 1600m at 4:54.8 and sixth place in the 800m at 2:09.5. Ramsthaler and Intili also combined with Larry Studwell and Adam Kazanfer for a fifth place in the boys 4x 400m relay.
The sectionals capped a week of highs for the Verona athletes. On Wednesday, January 28 at the Metropolitan Invitational in New York City, Julia Ashley set a new school record for winter track in the 1600m at 5:23.5, while the team of Angel Barkley, Maggie Ashley, Ariana Matias and Julia Ashley set a new school record in the 4 x 200m in 1:49.3.
Photos copyright Al Kazanfer. Used by permission.