Track sprints into the post season sectional competition


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Brody Watt finished second overall in the 1600 at counties, and helped Bernards to a meet record in the 4×1600

Julian Bonk, Sports Editor

Only one month remains in the boys and girls spring track seasons. For many, this campaign represents their last ever season wearing a Bernards uniform. Thus far, the level of intensity and commitment that the athletes have broughten has led to quite the successful season so far. As of May 8th, there have been a total of eight meets which the Mountaineers have partake in, both in the form of relay-based events and individual ones.

Starting with the boys side, the Sectional Champion squad that won the winter title has not missed a beat thus far. The Skyland Conference Relays and Somerset County Relays have given a chance for the 4×800 meter relay, Distance Medley Relay (DMR), and 4×1600 meter relay to shine. Conferences, which took place on April 15th at Franklin High School, saw both the DMR, anchored by Nike Indoor Freshman Champion Brody Watt, and the 4×800 both take gold in the smaller school race. Both quartets ran fast enough to earn second overall for the entire conference. On the DMR, John Richardson ran the 1200 opening leg, Carson Crain was on the 400 portion, and another national qualifier, Pat Griffin, ran the 800. The 4×800 consisted of Watt, Richardson, Cody King, and Griffin anchored. The DMR was able to follow up their opening performance with another second place finish at counties. Another impressive showing at the Somerset County Championship came from the Sprint Medley Relay squad, composed of Sean Cross and Jaden Phillips running the 200 meters, Carson Crain on the 400 leg, and Pat Griffin closing over 800 meters. However, the 4×1600 meter relay was the one that stole the show at nearby Ridge High School. Each team entered four runners, and their times would be combined for a final time. Not only did the team of Cody King, Ben Connell, Richardson, and Watt finish with a combined time of 18:25.46 to win the event, they also possibly qualified for nationals in the event. There are still some questions whether the time can be converted to that for a full mile opposed to 1600 meters. Brody Watt ‘26 says “I was disappointed that I didn’t win the [individual] race…but that changed when they announced that we got the meet record.” As a team, Bernards earned 7th place overall at counties, and 9th in the conference. Aside from these larger meets, the team has also had its fair share of dual meets. These lower pressure meets have given opportunities to more athletes to run, throw, and jump in events of their choosing. Bernards opened the season with a dual meet at Gill St. Bernard’s, and has also hosted a few dual meets thus far. Contrary to that of the winter season, there are many opportunities every week for teams to race locally. Colby Giunta ‘25, who throws the discus and javelin for the team, is very keen on the diversity which track and field has brought so far. He says that “The variety of events leads to a variety of people on the team, and they are all supportive.” Giunta has record throws of 104’7” and 111’6” for the discus and javelin, respectively.

Shifting over to the girls team, the throwing events and sprints have been the bright spots through the first month. At the recent Somerset County Relays, the 4×200 relay team was the top performer for the girls on the track. Alice Gonzalez, Ayla Johnson, Emma Walsh, and Sydney Osborne combined to earn a 4th-place finish in the event, with a 1:57.25 combined time. The girls team has also excelled in throwing events so far. At the conference championship meet, both Isabella Sciarra and Ella Damratoski finished in the top ten in their best event. The former threw the javelin 78’9”, good for 10th place overall. Damratoski achieved a throw of 27’8” with the shot put. This throw earned her an impressive sixth place finish. Sciarra followed up her performance one week later in the discus, when she finished in 7th place at counties with a distance of 81’3”. Coach LaChac says that the team’s “Times, Jumps, & Throws have improved significantly since last year. Our top times and runners are only complemented by the depth of skill we have on the team.” The quantity on the girls side is certainly there. The team size has more than doubled from the winter season to the spring season. 

Looking ahead, the Mountaineers are set to take part in the Sectional Championships, from June 2nd to June 3rd in South Plainfield. While all areas of the team are performing at a very high level right now, there is some uncertainty facing the end-of-season competitions. Coach LaChac adds that “[sectionals] is the same day/weekend of senior prom, however we are going in with an open mind and excited to see a lot of our young talent compete at the championship level.” Stay tuned for updates on the results as the boys team looks to defend their Winter Track Sectional title.

Brody Watt finished second overall in the 1600 at counties, and helped Bernards to a meet record in the 4×1600 relay.