Ocean County Track and Field Championships

Kylie Picaro Shatters Barnegat Triple Jump Record to Capture County Crown

May 16, 2018
Photo by: David Biggy Barnegat’s Kylie Picaro finishes off her school-record triple jump of 35 feet, 10 inches to snag the county title during the Ocean County Championships at Central Regional High School on May 10.

Kylie Picaro knows something about successful athletic efforts. The senior spent four seasons as a top-notch gymnast for Barnegat High School, making the state championship meet the past two years. But when she exited the pit at the end of the triple jump runway on May 10, it was difficult to tell who was more excited – Picaro or girls track and field coach Rebecca Kane.

“That just kind of came out of nowhere,” Picaro said of her hop, skip and jump of 35 feet, 10 inches. “I’ve never jumped this far, ever.”

Not only was Picaro’s farthest triple jump ever good enough to break the school record once held by 2013 graduate Jamie Lynch, it was an inch too far for Jackson Memorial’s Nikki Rue, as Picaro snagged the Ocean County title.

“Now that I’ve jumped this far, hopefully I can keep doing it and do well in the state meets,” said Picaro, whose season high going into the county meet was 34 feet, 9 inches. “Maybe I can get to 36 feet. I don’t know. This is pretty exciting, so it’s hard to think of anything better right now.”

No doubt that was the highlight moment for Picaro so far this season, with the Shore Conference Championships coming up later this week and the NJSIAA South Jersey Group II meet a week or so later.

“She broke the record by 7 inches,” Kane said. “It’s incredible. I’m so proud of her.”

But Picaro wasn’t the only winner from a Southern Ocean County squad on May 10 – the first day of the two-day county meet, which concluded on Monday, May 14, after morning thunderstorms on Saturday postponed the second day – as Southern sophomore sensation Karagan Bulger had a fantastic first day and an even better second one.

In the first event of the meet, Bulger captured the county title in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:05.34, then took the 800-meter crown in 2:17.69 before helping the 4x400-meter relay, also comprised of Katelynn Brischler, Caitlin Hambor and Brookelle Kline, to a second-place finish in 4:05.94. Kline also took second in the 400 hurdles with a time of 1:08.09 and fourth in the long jump with a distance of 16 feet, 8 inches.

While Picaro was busy with the triple jump, Maria Mezzo, another top-notch gymnast from Southern, was on the opposite side of the track competing in an event to which she’s quickly acclimating herself – the pole vault. After clearing the bar at 10 feet, Mezzo placed second.

“I was excited to start pole vaulting when Coach (Jason) Church told me to try it, back before the winter season started,” said the high-flying freshman. “But in the winter, I couldn’t even clear 8 feet. So it’s really great to clear 10 feet now. I never thought I’d be going that high as a freshman.”

Church has a knack for taking gymnasts and turning them into solid pole vaulters, though. And while Point Pleasant Borough’s Riley Larsen made clearing 11 feet look easy, Mezzo taking second in the county as a freshman is a big deal.

“Obviously, I didn’t think I was going to get 11 feet yet,” Mezzo said. “But I was going for 10 again and trying to get a second-place finish. It’s exciting to be able to do this well as a freshman because I know I’ll be able to go higher during the next few years. I’d like to get to that 12-6 or 13-foot range at some point.”

Mezzo was just one of many locals who placed second for the meet. Liz Makar, a sophomore from Pinelands Regional, had the lead throw of 38 feet, 4 inches in the shot put, until two throws into the finals, when Toms River East’s Rachel Levine tossed the ball a half-inch farther to win the county title.

“My best coming into the meet was 36-9 and then I threw 37-10 in the preliminaries,” Makar said. “It feels amazing to be able to PR (achieve a personal record) here at the county championships, and taking second to Rachel is great.”

Makar’s 37-10 from the prelims stood as the best throw of the meet until she re-broke her school record on her first throw of the finals. Still, losing by a half-inch was a bitter pill to swallow.

“I can admit that it gets on my nerves a little,” she said with a smile. “It does, only because I had a PR, and this really is a sport where you’re mostly competing against yourself. Personally, I’d like to throw 40 by the end of this season and make it to the Meet of Champions, so I still have work to do.”

Also taking second was Makar’s throwing teammate senior Carly Jannsch, whose throw of 114 feet missed the top spot in the javelin by an inch. Barnegat’s Ginalee Erskine fired the spear 110 feet for third, and Southern’s Jenna Kulinski was fourth with a throw of 109 feet, 8 inches. Erskine also snagged third in the discus with a throw of 113 feet, just ahead of Southern’s Lauren Bakker in fourth at 111 feet, 1 inch, and Barnegat’s Sara Wells in fifth at 110 feet, 2 inches. Wells was fifth in the shot put as well.

The Southern 4x800-meter relay of Amanda Ward, Brischler, Gianna Citarella and Rebecca LaFalce combined for a time of 10:14.24 to also grab a second-place finish, as did the Barnegat 4x100-meter crew of Picaro, Nicole Wood, Reannah Cooper and Jillian Jankowski, who blazed to the finish in 50.63 seconds. Citarella also took fourth in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 11:38.01.

In the boys’ county championship meet, Southern had the only winners, as David Springstead cleared 12 feet to win the pole vault and Joe Guglielmo fired the javelin 166 feet, 1 inch for the victory. Meanwhile, Southern’s Joe Miele managed to grab second in the discus with a throw of 157 feet, 2 inches, and Evan Adanatzian placed second in the 3,200 with a time of 9:29.59.

Barnegat’s Sean Morris secured a pair of third-place finishes when he tossed the shot put 47 feet, 7¾ inches and threw the javelin 155 feet, 5 inches, and Joe Herod also grabbed third and fourth in the 110-meter hurdles (15.55 seconds) and the triple jump (42-10½), respectively. Barnegat’s Ralph Cruz also finished third in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.90 seconds.

— David Biggy


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