Track Teams Shine At Winter Season Opener


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Jake McConnachie and Andrew Hunt took first and second place in high jump, with jumps of 6’4″ and 5’10” respectively.

Friday was the first meet of the indoor track season, the Leon Bailey Relays at the Jersey City Armory, and the Verona High School boys and girls track teams decided to capture some first place finishes–and quite a few others. The boys came away with 30 medals, two new VHS school records and a tie on one other record.

The distance medley relay team of Sean Carney, Vincent Hogan, Nikhil Parekh and David Navarro took home the gold with a time of 11:58.31, edging out James J. Ferris High School, which had a time of 11:58.96. In the sprint medley relay, Verona’s Nicholas Kozachuk, Aidan Murphy, Hogan and Navarro placed second with a time of 3:57.36, just behind Ferris’ 3:56.11. But that time was good enough to break the VHS sprint medley record, 3:58.36. The team of Kozachuk, Murphy, Hogan and Bryan McKeen placed third in the 4×200 with a time of 1:40.15.

Jake McConnachie, who had a spectacular season as a receiver for VHS football, has decided to compete in track this winter and in his first track meet, he won the high jump with a leap of 6-04.00, tying a 44-year-old VHS record. Verona’s Andrew Hunt came in second in that event with a jump of 5-10.00. The combined jumps of Hunt and McConnachie also broke the Verona team high jump record.

In a sign of good things to come, Verona boys took third in the novice 4×200 relay (Ian Kirby, Cole Martin, Alec Hamson and Connor Robinson) with a time of 1:47.60 and third in the novice distance medley (James Nicolai, John Nicolai, Kiernan Dunphy and Zach Reinecker) in 12:31.59, as well as first in the novice 4×800 in 9:47.41 (Nikhil Parekh, Connor Robinson, Alec Hamson, Sean Carney). The quartet of the Nicolais, Dunphy and Reinecker took sixth in the novice 4×800.

Verona girls also had strong finishes. Selena Caraballo took first in shot put with a throw of 29-01.25 and Abigail Cleary took third with a 28-11.50 throw.

The team of Clara Frizzi, Karina Squilanti, Jenika Ying and Olivia Vogel took second in the 4×800 in 11:08.84, and Ying and Frizzi combined with Jackie DeVivo and Veronica Valera for second in the distance medley in 14:31.53. The team of Carolyn Feeley, Faith Fauerbach, Karen Andre and Chelsea Gruskin took third in shuttle hurdles in 40.40, while the combo of Andre, Fauerbach, DeVivo and Vogel garnered third in sprint medley in 5:07.94.

VHS also did well in novice events. Andre took first (4-06.00) in novice high jump, with Amanda Caldera taking third (4-04.00). In novice shot-put A, Gabriella Petti took first with a 24-09.00 throw and Aimee Griffin came in third with 23-04.00. In shot-put B, Jenna DaRin had a throw of 21-10.50 and Amelia Koehllhofer registered an 18-05.50.

In the novice 4×800 A, Verona’s Arianna Tietjen, Lucy Hogan, Sarah Knoetig and Juliana Squilanti finished first in 11:06.84, while Emily Bosco, Eleanor Newman, Abby Smith and Kara Dunphy took fourth in the 4×800 B.

The team of Abby Castillo, Sofia Saj, Hannah Vargas and Angel Fauerbach finished third in novice girls 4×200 in 2:11.78. The novice distance medley A team of Tietgen, Caldera, Squilanti and Hogan took third in 15:18.40, while the distance medley B team of Newman, Knoetig, Bosco and Dunphy finished fourth.

Verona will be traveling to the Ocean Breeze athletic facility on Staten Island on Monday, December 23, for the SEC indoor track championship.

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