Patriots defend championship at Monmouth County Relays

BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer

Led by Kelly Berg and Emily Pereira, the Freehold Township High School girls track and field team won the team title at the Monmouth County Relays for the second consecutive year.

The Patriots outdistanced Middletown South and Rumson-Fair Haven Regional, 41- 23, in the meet held at the John Bennett Indoor Athletic Center in Toms River on Jan. 7.

Berg and Pereira were members of three relay teams that had two first-place finishes and one second-place finish.

Berg and Pereira teamed up with Sarah Morrison and Rhianna Zalewski to win the 4×400-meter relay (4:15.58). In the 4×200 it was Morrison, Berg, Emily Pereira and her twin sister Kelly Pereira winning in 1:50.10.

Berg, Deanna Johnson, Marissa Jimenez and Cara Critelli finished second in the 4×55 shuttle hurdles (36.38), behind Colts Neck (36.05).

Zalewski, Heather Spadola, Emily Pereira and Kelly Pereira were second in the 4×800 (9:15.14) behind powerhouse Red Bank Catholic (9:30.21).

Freehold Township’s two wins and two second-place finishes were all it took to make the Patriots back-to-back team champions of the Monmouth County Relays. “The girls had a good night,” coach Todd Briggs said.

Colts Neck’s victorious shuttle hurdles relay team consisted of Rachel Ivanicki, Katherine Wilk, Kelsey Kaub and Julia Petruch, whose anchor leg time of 8.5 was the difference.

The Cougars were sixth in the team standings with 21 points, only two points from second place.

Howell used its cross country talent to win the distance medley relay over Middletown South (13:13.07 to 13:18.05). Jamie Hand ran the anchor 1,600 for the Rebels. The first three legs were handled by Laura Kochenash, Erin Madsen and Kendal Hand.

The Rebels tied Colts Neck for sixth place in the team standings. Among the boys, Freehold Township was second to Christian Brothers Academy (86-44). The Colts won every event except two, the high jump and pole vault relays, and those events were won by the Patriots.

In the high jump relay, Freehold Township’s Jonathan Galya and David Benjamin both cleared 6-4, which tied CBA’s Phil Reid for best jump of the competition. The combined height of 12-8 posted by Galya and Benjamin is a new school relay record.

Freehold Township’s Paul Yoncak and Ryan Barrera each cleared 12-0 in the pole vault to win the competition with a combined height of 24 feet, which equaled the school relay record.

Manalapan did not have a relay winner, but the Braves collected 24 points and finished third in the team standings.

The Shore Conference division championship meets which were scheduled for Jan. 9 were postponed by of a Dec. 8 snow storm in Ocean County. The meet will be held in Toms River on Jan. 23.

Upcoming for the area’s track and field teams are the NJSIAA State Group Relays in Toms River. The Group IV schools (Freehold Township, Howell, Manalapan and Marlboro) will compete on Jan. 14, and the Group III schools (Colts Neck and Freehold) will compete on Jan. 15.

The Monmouth County Championships are scheduled for Jan. 21 and the Shore Conference Championships are scheduled for Jan. 28. All of the meets will be held at the Bennett Complex.