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Putting the finishing touches on a season marked by record-breaking performances, nine Big Blue track and field athletes qualified for the 2018 NJSIAA Meet of Champions (MOCs), which took place on June 9 at Northern Burlington High School. What's more, four of them placed in the top three in their respective events, and took home medals.
The meet, which gathers "the Garden State's finest track and field athletes," according to NJ.com, is a showcase of not simply the state's top talent, but the nation's as well. Big Blue's performances reinforced its standing among the state's elite competitors.
A highlight was sophomore pole vaulter Caroline Dannenbaum's second-place finish, clearing 12'6". Her teammate, Carol Ann Perry '20, cleared 11' to finish 16th. Caroline's vault wasn't a PR, but it was close, and it came on the heels of a breakthrough performance at the NJSIAA Non-Public A Group Championships on June 2, when, during a battle for first with Notre Dame's Haley Horvath (who took first at MOCs), both soared to a meet-record height of 13' (Haley was the first to do so, and therefore earned gold; Caroline took second). That achievement tied Caroline for a #1 national ranking among sophomores. In addition to the meet record, her performance also earned her a school record, both of which were set by her, Julia, who is now vaulting for the Washington University in St. Louis, last year.
Also earning a medal was Nicole Vanasse '20, who holds Pingry's indoor and outdoor record in the 1600 meters and won the event at Groups. She took third at MOCs, running 4:57.
Zach Aanstoots '18, who broke the school's high jump record and bettered his PR on three separate occasions this season, earned third at MOCs, clearing 6'6". Last weekend at Groups, he placed second (6'4"), and earlier in the season, at the Somerset County Championships, he cleared 6'8" to tie for a #2 ranking in the state.
Austin Parsons '18 placed second in the javelin, throwing 195'6" to improve upon a PR and school record he set earlier in the season. He is currently ranked #3 in the state.
In more field action, Sophia Weldon '18, who holds Pingry's high and triple jump records and qualified for both events at MOCs, took 15th in the high jump (5'2") and 13th in the triple (37'04"). Grace O'Mara '19, who broke the school record in the discus (123'05") and won the event at the Group Championships, placed 12th with a throw of 114'11". In the 800 meters, Avery Schiffman '18 placed 16th, clocking 2:20. Ben Vazquez '18, who took second in the 800 meters at Groups with a time of 1:54, placed 23rd, running 2:05.
Six of these athletes—Caroline, Sophia, Nicole, Austin, Zach, and Ben—in addition to Henry Wood '21 in the freshman mile, qualified to compete at New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina, from June 15-17. Congratulations Big Blue track & field athletes, and good luck at Nationals!
Contact: Andrea Dawson, Senior Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org