The Verona High School girls track & field team won the SEC Colonial Division Championship at Newark Schools Stadium on Friday. The Lady Hillbillies collected 146 points, well ahead of second place finisher Science High School with 87 points and third place Caldwell High School with 85 points. The VHS boys track & field team finished third, with many team members medalling and scoring personal bests.
In the girls’ events, Kate Ashley was incorrectly tagged in the 400m event as the top seed. She was placed in the unseeded heat and given the dreaded lane eight. Nevertheless, Ashley ran a very fast 58.8 400m, nearly breaking the meet record. With very little rest, she returned to run the 800m and clocked at 2:22, setting a new meet record. Along with two first place finishes in the 400m and 800m, Ashley later anchored Verona’s first place 4 x 400m relay team.
“Our entire team rose to the occasion with each girl delivering a stella performance throughout all the events along with numerous personal best performances,” said Verona girls coach Gene Leporati.
Several Verona girls had a personal best at the championship meet. Carly Waterman took first place in shot put with a throw of 36’5″, while Alex Holland got fourth place with a distance of 27’11. In discus, Isabel Latorre won second place with a distance of 78’4″, while Gabrielle Petti took fourth at 74’3″ and Caleigh Holton had a 66’6″ throw.
In javelin, Caitlyn Keneally took second place at 82’5″ and Julia Cambreleng took fourth at 71’1″. Kelly Petrino and Lily Benanchietti tied for first place in pole vault with vaults of 8’0″.
Other Verona girls’ bests:
100m high hurdles: Cianna Winkler, second place, 17.4; Carolyn Feeley, fifth place, 18.8
400m hurdle: Cianna Winkler, third place, 1:14.3; Julia DiGeronimo, fifth place, 1:16
400m: Chelsea Gruskin, fourth place, 63.2; Olivia Fiore, fifth place, 63.6
800m: Brianna Rigney, third place, 2:29
3200m: Adrianna Fiero, fifth place, 13:21
4 x 400m, first place, 4:14: Olivia Fiore, Brianna Rigney, Chelsea Gruskin and Kate Ashley
These girls medaled in their respective events:
Long jump: Olivia Fiore, second place, 15’11”; Kathleen Nagy, fourth place, 15’2”
Pole vault: Erin Petrino, third pPlace: 7’6”
Javelin: Julianna Spina, sixth place: 70’
High jump: Celine Matta, third place: 4’4”
Many other VHS girls competed in the championship meet, facing stiff competition, including Zoie Petronzo (100m); Francesca Valle (100m & 200m); Victoria Socci (100m); Kathleen Nagy (800m); Julia DiGeronimo, Karishma Parekh and Rebecca Seubert (1600m); Alex Holland and Julianna Spina (high jump); Chelsea Gruskin (long jump); Caleigh Holton (shot put); Carli Lavoie (100m high hurdles and 400m hurdles)
The girls finished the season with an undefeated dual meet record of 9-0.
Also competing this past Friday, the VHS boys track & field team finished third at the Colonial Division championship. In the field events, senior Jake Parent threw a personal best of 155’8 to take first place in javelin. Billy Fauerbach took third and sophomore Peter Jordan took fourth. Junior Nick Galluccio had two personal bests at this meet, placing fifth in shot out throwing 34’8.50, then third in discus throwing a personal best of 99.3 in his first season doing spring track & field. Junior Aydin Sidali placed sixth in shot put, while in pole vault, freshman Owen Fogarty and senior Jimmy Loudon took second and third place respectively, both clearing 10 feet.
On the track, sophomore Frankie Lavery took fifth in the mile in 4:50, and then came back to run his personal best in the 3200 meters, a 10:28 that earned him fourth place. Junior Jason Siegelin had a strong finish in the 800 meters, giving him third place with a time of 2:13. Junior Evan Huaman placed sixth in the 400 meter, running 55.92. Junior Robert Coppola made it to the finals of the highly competitive 100-meter dash. He placed fifth overall in the finals, running 12.11.
Junior Cullen Pelfree took home three medals: a fourth place in the 200 meters running 23.72, second in the 400 intermediate hurdles running 59.55, and anchoring the 4×400 meter relay that took third place. Evan Huaman and freshmen David Navarro and Vincent Hogan teamed up with Pelfree in the 4×400 that took home the bronze and ended the meet.