Barnegat Takes Run at Boys Track and Field Division Crown
During the winter sport season, the Barnegat boys track and field team had some success on the indoor track as it geared up for the spring. Even though the team is young, coach Joe Doviak is confident this year’s team has enough talent and work ethic to make more noise, particularly in the Shore Conference Class B South division.
“We’re looking good in a lot of areas,” he said. “We started the season with a couple of wins and the goal is to finish among the top three of Ocean County this spring, as well as at the top of B South. In recent years, our nemesis has been Central Regional, but they’re in A South now and I think that opens the door for us.”
Since the Bengals last won the division in 2010, they’ve had a bit of difficulty putting together a formidable team in all facets of track and field. For several years, they had some good throwers and jumpers. Then they added some good distance guys. But now, the Bengals are a more complete team.
“We’ve got more depth in the sprints, as well as some good middle-distance and distance runners,” Doviak said. “Our throwers are better this year, especially with javelin, and our hurdlers are coming along well. We’re a pretty solid team.”
Barnegat showed its newfound depth by starting the season with a 93-47 win over B South foe Pinelands, which also has increased depth this season. Barnegat followed with a 132-4 drubbing of Donovan Catholic on April 4.
But with a clash against Lakewood and Manchester slated for April 18, and upcoming meets against Lacey and Point Pleasant Boro, the Bengals are going to need to score more points in a variety of events to keep winning.
Fortunately, they have a solid bunch of experienced athletes from whom to gain those potential points, starting with senior distance runner Gunnar Pearson, who this past winter finished second in the 800-meter run during the NJSIAA Group II meet and placed 14th overall in the Meet of Champions.
Pearson leads an improved senior class, which also includes Kirston Beaucicault (sprints), Avery Boyer (hurdles), Ramone Davis Jr. (sprints), Kyle Sarno (distance), Joe Scioscio (distance), Alioune Diagne (jumps), Niklas Haas (throws), Matt Nolan (throws), Hunter Mauro (sprints/jumps) and Jake Schmitz (sprints).
The guy at the top of the heap for the junior class is sprinter Nico Adorno, the defending Ocean County champion in the 400-meter dash who will be looking to hit a time of sub-50 seconds this spring. Also among a solid junior class returning to the Bengals are Joe Herod (hurdles/jumps), Nick Kovaly (jumps/distance), Levin Musawa (throws/jumps) and Nico Veneziano (sprints). Sophomore Dewight Smith-Fernandez also returns to the team as one of the top sprinters.
“Nico Adorno’s the man for our sprinters, and he has a nice supporting cast this year,” Doviak said. “Dewight, Ramon and Kirston are the big guns along with Nico, so we’re well covered with a 100, 200 and 400. Then we have Gunnar, who will score a lot of points in the 800 and 1,600, along with some returning athletes who complement him very well. And Kovaly is going to play a bigger role this spring, especially in the high jump, the 800 and the 1,600. Boyer and Herod are going to be two of our main hurdles guys as well. So, we’re going to be good on the track.”
Several of the newcomers to the team expected to significantly impact the Bengals’ scoring include senior Dillon Muratovic, a recent transfer from Nutley who will add to the throws crew; junior sprinter Elijah Chesney; sophomore throwers Sean Morris and Brian Ewan; and freshmen sprinters Ralph Cruz and Justin Gomez.
“We’re not only looking to be strong in B South, though,” Doviak said. “We’re looking to be a force in Ocean County and do really well in the state sectional meet. We haven’t had a team this deep in years, and it’s going to show in the results.”
While very little was known about the Barnegat girls track and field squad heading into the season, it’s safe to say junior throwers Ginalee Erskine and Sara Wells may garner a significant number of points this spring. The pair fared well at the recent Eagle Relays at Central Regional High School.
In the shot put relay, Wells finished fifth with a toss of 32 feet, 2¾ inches while Erskine placed eighth with a throw of 31 feet, 10¾ inches. In the discus relay, Erskine was fourth with a throw of 105 feet, 4 inches while Wells came in at sixth with a throw of 97 feet, 7 inches. And in the javelin relay, Erskine took the top spot with a throw of 102 feet, 2 inches while Wells ended up 15th with a throw of 74 feet, 7 inches.
Erskine also led the way in the high jump relay, clearing 4 feet, 8 inches to tie for fourth, while Sydney Boyer and Kylie Picaro cleared 4 feet, 6 inches to tie for sixth. Picaro also led the long jump relay with a leap of 15 feet, 6¼ inches to place eight overall, while Nina Singh and Alyssia Adorno jumped 14 feet 3½ inches and 13 feet, 8¼ inches, respectively.
The Bengals may also have some solid sprinters who will score some points this season, as evidenced by the 4x100-meter relay’s result in the Eagle Relays. The team of Adorno, Picaro, Alexis Pangilinan and Nicole Larkin placed third with a time of 52.76 seconds.
— David Biggy