Old Tappan’s Caroline O’Sullivan leads repeat winners at BMOC by Nick Gantaifis of The Record
HACKENSACK – Caroline O’Sullivan was looking to raise the stakes.
The NV/Old Tappan senior track standout wanted to challenge herself heading into the final stretch of her high school career.
After winning consecutive titles in the 800-meter race at the last two Bergen County Meet of Champions, O’Sullivan decided to double-down and take aim at the 1,600 event in Friday’s 27th annual Lou Lanzalotto Bergen Meet of Champions at the Ed Church Track & Field Complex.
“I decided last week that I wanted to run a hard 1,600 instead of running the 800 as usual just so I could get ready for states,” said O’Sullivan, who won the race in 4:59.27, outdistancing the field by 70 yards. “I just wanted more of a challenge to help prepare for what’s ahead. I started to train seriously in the 1,600 about a year ago, and I felt good coming into this meet. I had a good week of practice and I was looking forward to the challenge.”
O’Sullivan, who will run at the University of Pennsylvania next fall, earned the Tom Zaccone Award, given to the meet’s outstanding girls’ track athlete. She also ran a sizzling 57.1 anchor leg on the Golden Knights’ 4-x-1600-meter relay team that finished fourth overall.
“I’m hoping this performance helps me reach my goal of running under 4:50 in the 1,600 and under 2:10 in the 800,” O’Sullivan said. “I’m pretty confident with my recent performances and I don’t feel I’ve even peaked yet. This is just my base strength and I feel I have a lot more in me.”
O’Sullivan was one of two girls to repeat as county champion on Friday in the track events, joining Indian Hills’ sophomore Grace Smiechowski, who won her second-straight 400 intermediate hurdle title in 1:03.03.
Rutherford’s Jenna Rogers also repeated as champion, winning a second-straight high jump title in the field events and breaking a 20-year old meet record in the process when she jumped 5-10 on her first attempt.
“I knew from my last couple of races that I needed to get out faster,” Smiechowski said. “My coach told me what I needed to do and I did it. I’ve been working on my starts and form. Overall, I’m happy with my time and performance. I’m getting there. Last year I didn’t even know what hurdles were. That was my rookie year I guess. Now that I’m more familiar with hurdling I’m getting more comfortable with it. I think this performance puts me in a good spot heading into the state sectionals.”
In the sprint events, senior Sophia Castronovo of Emerson claimed gold in the girls’ 100-meter race with a winning time of 12.89 and Paramus Catholic sophomore Mariah Fede claimed the 200 in 25.80.
Sophomore Kyla Krawczyk of Northern Highlands won the 400 in 58.12, edging 2017 champion Megan Gasnick of Park Ridge.
“I had confidence coming in knowing I was the top seed,” Krawczyk said. “Megan [Gasnick] is a great athlete, so of course I was a little nervous. I knew it was going to be a fight down that last stretch. But I knew I was strong enough to finish and all the hard work is starting to pay off.”
In the 100 high hurdles, junior Grace O’Shea of Ramapo posted a winning time of 14.89, finishing ahead of 2017 champion and rival, junior Isabelle Dely of Paramus Catholic.
The River Dell duo of freshman Amanda Mircovich and junior Kellie O’Donnell won gold as Mircovich won the half mile in 2:16.24 and O’Donnell the two mile in 11:20.94. It was only the second time this season that Mircovich ran the 800.
On the boys’ side, Bergen Catholic junior Rahmir Johnson and Indian Hills’ senior Hank Anderson repeated in the 200 and 110 high hurdles, respectively. Johnson claimed his second-straight 200 title in 22.58 and Anderson posted a 14.75 in the hurdles to set a new PR for himself.
Anderson earned the Mike Glynn Award, given to the meet’s outstanding boys’ track athlete.
“I felt pretty good all week even though the weather was challenging,” said Johnson, a standout football player who is committed to the University of Nebraska. “My goal is to break my marks in both the 100 and 200. I’m going to keep striving and driving.”
Hackensack senior sprinter Rayshawn Hammond won the 100 in 11:30 and NV/Old Tappan junior John Lohrer captured the 400 hurdles in 55.22.
Senior Wellington Ventura of Cresskill was the fastest in the 400 in 49.77, while Indian Hills’ Stephen Fiumefreddo won the 1,600 in 4:23.32.
In one of the tightest and thrilling races of the meet, senior Jonathan Marcus of Fair Lawn edged NV/Demarest’s Josh Munoz at the finish line in the 800 meters, crossing the line in 1:56.61, just ahead of Munoz’s 1:56.68.
Dillon Jensen of Pascack Hills won the 3,200.
In the final event of the night, the 4-x-1,600 relay, the NV/Old Tappan boys and Ramapo girls claimed gold. The Golden Knights were clocked in 3:24.88 to record the fastest boys’ time in Bergen County this season.