Track and field athletes from the Freehold Regional High School District are setting the benchmarks for the indoor season.
In the early meets of the 2015-16 under cover season, a quartet of area athletes have turned in the top marks in the state.
It started at the Demarest Invitational Dec. 19 at the John Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex in Toms River, where Howell High School’s Niamh Hayes turned in the fastest girls 3,000-meter mark of the season at 10:30.65.
The Rebels’ junior was so far ahead of the competition that it was practically a solo effort on her part.
Freehold Township High School’s Jake Konig matched Hayes and turned in the fastest boys 3,000 mark of the season, winning in 9:01.85.
Two other Rebels were victorious in their first meet of the season. Stephanie Bock won the girls shot put at a distance of 37-9¾, and Bill Bajohr won the 1,000 meters in 2:41.15.
At the Shore Track Coaches Association’s Season Opener held at the Bennett Complex Dec. 21, Freehold Township High School’s Ciara Roche, running her first race since her all-state cross-country season, won the girls 1,600 handily in 5:02.50, which put her atop the state’s 1,600 list. Konig won the boys 1,600 in 4:32.00.
At the Spiked Shoe Holiday Festival in the New Balance Armory in New York City, Marlboro High School’s Matt Linder had a record-setting day.
Not only did the junior break the school indoor high jump record Dec. 21 with his 6- 6 jump, but he also won the competition and had the state’s best jump to date.
The next major meet at the Bennett Complex is the Monmouth County Relays on Jan. 3.
The Monmouth County Championships are Jan. 8, and the Shore Conference meet is Jan. 22.
The NJSIAA State Relays are Jan. 14-15 for Group IV, Jan. 16 for Group II and Non- Public A and Non-Public B, and Jan. 17 for Groups I and III.
Central Jersey, Groups II and III are Feb. 5 and Central Jersey, Groups I and IV are Feb. 12. The group meets are Feb. 19 and 20, and the Meet of Champions is Feb. 27.
All state meets are in Toms River.
Howell High School gives throwers, who are often overlooked, the spotlight when it hosts the Rebel Shot Put series during the winter. The next meet is Jan. 6, and the series finale is Jan. 20.