Zalewski Breaks VHS Record At Meet Of Champs As Neale Comes Close

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Ian Zalewski broke a Verona High School indoor track record that had held for 14 years at the state Meet of Champions on Sunday. Running in the 1600m, Zalewski turned in a time of 4:20.22, shaving another four seconds off the personal best he had just turned in at the NJSIAA Group 1 championship on February 17 and breaking the time set by Dave Otter, VHS ’10. Zalewski’s time, which was down from 4:24.33 at Groups, enabled him to finish 10th overall.

Gwen Neale, who was competing for Verona in the 800m, also demolished the personal best that she had set at Groups. She finished in eighth place at the Meet of Champions with a personal record time of 2:15.61, down from 2:19.37. The new time she laid down at the Ocean Breeze complex on Staten Island approaches the VHS girls indoor 800m record of 2:14.58 set by Julia Ashley in 2015.

“Congratulations on the amazing performances by both Ian and Gwen at Meet of Champions,” said VHS Athletic Director Laura Palmerezzi. “I am so proud of all the hard work and dedication they put into the sport of running.” Palmerezzi coached Verona track athletes before becoming head of athletics.

“I would like to extend my congratulations to both the past record holder, Dave Oster, and our current record holder, Ian Zalewski for their incredible achievements in the indoor 1600m,” Palmerezzi added. “Dave Oster set a high standard for Verona track and field with his exceptional talent and dedication to the sport. His accomplishment paved the way for future track athletes like Ian Zalewski to push the boundaries even further and achieve new heights in the sport.”

Zalewski is a senior and he will continue to compete in track in college while pursuing a major in computer engineering and integrated business engineering at Lehigh University. Neale is only a sophomore in her second varsity track season.

“I am immensely proud of both Verona athletes and the legacy they have created within both our track and field and our school community,” Palmerezzi said. “Their achievements remind us of the incredible potential and talent that exists within our student-athletes.”

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