Spring Track News


Trainer Tells Team, "Warm-Up, Stretch, Diet, and Hydration are the Keys to Athletic Health"

PJ TRACK (March 22, 2005) - Pope John Athletic Trainer, Sven Lilienthal, spent thirty minutes today addressing the team and entertaining questions regarding athletic health and fitness.  Mr. Lilienthal is a certified athletic trainer, and as the Director of Sports Medicine is responsible for the health of all Pope John athletes.  Prior to accepting his position at PJ, Mr. Lilienthal was an assistant trainer at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck.

Pope John Athletic Trainer - Sven Lilienthal The team listens intently as Trainer Lilienthal gives advice and answers questions

           Lilienthal focused his presentation on how to prevent injuries common to track and field athletes.  He emphasized the importance of warming-up, stretching, diet and hydration.  "Warming up is an individual responsibility.   Everybody needs to warm-up to a point where you're breaking a sweat", said Lilienthal.   After warm-up a thorough and complete stretch is necessary, not just a pose, but a stretch.  Lilienthal stressed that, especially with female athletes who may have participated in dance and/or gymnastics, that their natural flexibility may falsely lead the young athlete to believe that they are stretched when they really are not.  "If you don't feel a stretch, then you're not really stretching", he said.  He pointed out further that track and field athletes often use muscles that they haven't used before, and those muscles are most susceptible to injury.  In order to minimize the possibility of sustaining injuries such as these, Lilienthal told all of the athletes that his door is always open to them, and he is available to show them techniques to help prevent injury.

            "Track and field is a demanding sport", the trainer said, "and you will feel sore."  "This is natural and does not require any special treatment", he added.  "The best way to be prepared for track, and for any sport, is to eat well and drink lots of water to stay hydrated."  Specifically, Lilienthal urged the athletes to avoid fried foods and carbonated or caffeinated drinks.  "Fried foods are full of fat that your body cannot easily convert to muscle and soda does not hydrate as well as water - in fact, water is the best drink of all", he said.  "You should drink eight to ten glasses of water a day.  Your body is mostly water and it is necessary for all athletes to maintain hydration."  He also noted that proper diet and hydration will allow the athlete to recover more quickly from soreness caused by workouts and following lifting days.

            Finally, Mr. Lilienthal emphasized the importance of rest.  All athletic activity stresses the body and it is necessary to give the body sufficient time to recover.  Sleep and rest are often the best ways to prevent injuries and to heal.

            On behalf of all of the Track and Field athletes and the coaching staff, we thank Mr. Lilienthal for his time and most informative presentation.  If you need to contact the Trainer he can be reached by email at SvenLilienthal@popejohn.org.

LaMastro and Boys Garner Post-Season Honors

NEWARK, NJ (March 28, 2005) - The Star-Ledger announced its post-season honors for Indoor Track and the Lions can claim many of the accolades as their own.  Leading the way was Anthony LaMastro ('06), who was named Somerset/West Jersey Indoor Track Athlete of the Year.  Jason Harper ('05) joins LaMastro on the All Somerset/West Jersey squad.

Anthony LaMastro Jason Harper

            LaMastro was selected based on his performance at the Group 2 State Championships where he won both the 1600m and 800m titles.  As impressive as these victories were, his mile race at the New Balance Games was incredible.  Anthony ran 4:17.54, the second fastest  time in New Jersey this season, broke the Sussex County record, and qualified for the prestigious Millrose Games, the only runner in Pope John history to do so.  LaMastro is a three year letter winner for the Lions, and is obviously a mainstay for the team.  He was also selected to the the All-Group 2 team for the 1600m position.

            A newcomer to the team, but just as valuable a member, is Jason Harper.  After coming off a 3,000 yard season as the PJ tail back (arguably the best season ever by any PJ player), Harper joined the track team to develop more speed for his collegiate football career.  He accomplished his mission, and as reward for his hard work was named to the All Somerset/West Jersey first team for his performances in the 200m dash.  Along the way, he became an All-American with fellow teammates Dan Allen ('06), Bryan Downing ('05), and LaMastro by placing sixth in the nation at the National Scholastic Indoor Championships in the Sprint Medley Relay (3:33.32).

            Several individuals and relays made the Top Performance List.  LaMastro in the 1600m (4:21.26) and the mile (4:17.54); Jeremy Scheid ('07) in the 3200m run (9:45.38) and 5000m run (15:55.25); the Sprint Medley Team of Allen, Harper, Downing, and LaMastro (3:33.32); and the Distance Medley Relay team of Tom Roy ('07), Peter Murphy ('05), Matt Carlson ('06), and LaMastro (10:34.3).

            With all of these boys getting ready for the spring outdoor season, it appears that another good season is in the offing.

Star-Ledger Article

Daily Record Names LaMastro and Heigis as Indoor Track Honorees

PARSIPPANY, NJ (March 31, 2005) - The Daily Record published its lists of winter sports honorees today.  Anthony LaMastro ('06) and Lara Heigis ('07) were among them based on their indoor track performances this past season.

            LaMastro was named to the Daily Record First Team for the 1600m event based on his performances at the Group 2 State Championships where he won both the 1600m and 800m titles, his mile race at the New Balance Games where he ran 4:17.54, the second fastest  time in New Jersey this season.  That performance broke the Sussex County record, and qualified LaMastro for the prestigious Millrose Games, the only runner in Pope John history to do so.  Anthony placed sixth at the Millrose after challenging for the lead late in the race.

            Heigis was named to the Girls Daily Record Second Team as the overall performer.  She started the season very well, setting new school records in the 1600m (5:17.2), and as part of the Distance Medley Relay team that included Brynn Merritt ('06), Rachel Posthumus ('06), and Sarah Abbott ('05) (12:36.9).  Lara also set a new record in the 3200m run at the Group 2 Championships (11:27.81) where she place third after challenging for the lead in that race.  Unfortunately, a mid-season injury prevented her from competing in the NJCTC Championships and the National Scholastic Indoor Championships.

            Congratulations to both of these outstanding athletes.

Boys and Girls Defeat Vernon

POPE JOHN HS (April 5, 2005) - Both the Girls and Boys defeated Vernon today in their SCIL season-opening dual meet.  The final scores were 87 - 53 for the Boys, and 81 - 59 for the Girls.

            Michael Mazur ('05) and Anthony LaMastro ('06) won three individual events, Jason Harper ('05) dominated the sprints, and Dan Allen ('06) placed in three events to lead the Lions.  Mazur tied the 1988 school record in the pole vault held by Eric Speck ('88) with a vault of 12-6.  Allen tied Speck's junior class record of 12-0.  Mazur's other winning performances were in the Long Jump (20-6) and the Triple Jump (40-6).  LaMastro continued his domination of the distance events finishing first in the 800m (2:04.6), 1600m (4:36.0), and 3200m (10:25.0).  Harper won the 100m (11.1), 200m (22.6), and ran the anchor leg on the winning 4 x 400 (3:38.5).  In the throws, Rich Rogers ('06) placed second in both the discus and javelin with throws of 126-1 and 149-10 respectively.

Mike Mazur ('05) on his way to winning the Long Jump Albert Taylor ('05) leads the way in the 1600m

            On the girls side, Lara Heigis ('07) won both the 1600 m (5:18.4) and the 3200m (12:04.9) events.  Brynn Merritt ('06) won the 800m (2:29.5), ran a leg on the winning 4 x 400 relay(4:22.2), and was second to Heigis in the 1600m (5:24.3).  Noelle Marra ('06) won the 400 IH (68.3) and placed third in the Javelin (88-9).  The girl throwers did a super job as well, setting three big time personal records in the process of winning the Shot Put and Javelin competitions.  Briana Perez ('06) put the shot 35-10 to win that event and PR by almost two feet.  Her partner, Danielle LeGrande ('07) placed third in the shot with a personal record throw of 32-11.  In the Javelin competition, Tricia Higgins ('06) bested her personal best by close to 20 feet with a toss of 101-3.

            Both teams return to action when they host Hopatcong on Monday, April 11 at 3:45 PM.

Varsity Results

Complete Results

Hopatcong Falls to the Lions

POPE JOHN HS (April 11, 2005) - The Chiefs of Hopatcong paid a visit to the Lions' Den today, losing to both the Girls and Boys, 115 - 24 and 92 - 48 respectively.  For the Girls, Rachel Posthumus ('06),  Carolyn Bieganousky ('07), were double winners, and Kim Bannat ('06) was a triple winner, while Jason Harper ('05) was the sole multiple event winner for the Boys.

            For the Girls it was a day for seasoned veterans to perform as expected and for newcomers to earn their first points.  Obviously, it is no surprise when "Giggles" Posthumus wins the 100m (13.0) and 200m (27.1), even though they are not her favorite events.  Likewise, "Little B" Bieganousky's victories in the 100 HH (17.7) and 400 IH (69.5), along with a second in the Long Jump (13-10.75), and Kim Bannat's sweep of the Long Jump (14-8.25), Triple Jump (31-6), and High Jump (4-8) are points that the Lions count on.  It is notable, however, when young athletes score their first points, and Anne Lockwood ('08), Laura Loechner ('08), and Tara Fortunato ('07) did that today.  Lockwood won the Pole Vault with a vault of 6-0 on her first attempt, nosing out her teammate, Amy Sapol ('07), who cleared the height on her second attempt.  Loechner placed third in the Long Jump (12-3.5) and ran the third leg of the winning 4 x 400.  Fortunato earned her point by placing third in the High Jump (4-4).  Finally, Briana Perez ('06) won the Shot Put with a throw of 36-5, her second PR in consecutive meets.

Kim Bannat Laura Loechner

               On the Boys side, Harper won the 100m (11.2) and the 200m (22.5), with Dan Allen ('06) close on his heels in 11.4 and 22.8 respectively.  Bryan Downing ('05) started the day on the track with a win in the 400 IH (58.4) and followed that with a second in the 400m (54.8).  In other action, James Nolan ('07) demonstrated that he is a true multi-eventer with a win and new sophomore class record in the Triple Jump (38-7), two second places in the High Jump (5-6) and the Pole Vault (10-0), and a new PR in the Javelin (122-6).  To wrap it up, Peter Murphy ('05) anchored the 4 x 400 to a win, preceded by a second behind Downing in the 400 IH (60.1), and Mike Lamm ('06) had a big-time PR in the 800m with a time of 2:08.9.

            Both teams will take on the Newton Braves at their track on Thursday, April 14.

Meet Results

Complete Results

Lions Defeat Newton at the Home of the Braves

NEWTON HS (April 14, 2004) - The Lions traveled to Newton today to take on the Braves.  The result was a 109.5 - 30.5 win for the Boys, while the Girls triumphed by the score of 94.5 - 45.5. 

            The Boys dominated both on the track and in the field, winning every event with the exception of the 400m, Shot Put, and 4 x 400 relay.  Multiple event winners included Rick Rogers ('06) in the Javelin and Discus, Dan Allen ('06) in the 100m and Pole Vault,  and Mike Mazur ('05) in the Long Jump and Triple Jump.  Rogers wins were also PR performances, with throws of 129-11.75 in the discus and 152-3 in the javelin. 

            The best news of the day was the apparent return to good health of senior Captain Albert Taylor ('05), who looked strong on his way to winning the 1600m run.  Taylor has been battling anemia for several months, and his return will significantly bolster the mid-distance and distance corps.  Other good news that does not appear in the results were the number of PR performances on the day.  To single out the throwers, fourteen PRs were set by twelve different athletes.

            On the Girls side, the performances were almost as dominating as the Boys.  The only multiple winner of the day was Carolyn Bieganousky ('07), taking both hurdles events.  Carolyn's time in the 100 HH was 15.9, while her time in the 400 IH was 71.0.  Another highlight was the sweep of the 3200m run by Anne Dauer ('06), Casey Keller ('08), and Liz Faherty ('06).  All three girls earned their first varsity points and delivered PR performances.  A great moment was watching the sprint over the last 60 meters between Dauer and Keller, with Dauer winning with a lean at the tape. 

            As everyone knows, great competition among teammates produces great performances, and the duel between Anne and Casey was a prime example of that.  Another example is the great rivalry between Briana Perez ('06) and Danielle LeGrande ('07) in the shot put circle.  Both girls keep pushing each other to PRs as they compete against throwers from opposing schools and as they throw against each other.  Today, LeGrande came out on top with a PR throw of 34-4.75 to best Perez by 7.25 inches.  Perez has the best throw of the season with an SCIL leading toss of 36-5.

            The next meet is a non-scoring affair against the Purple Wave of Warwick Valley, NY at their world class facility.  Warwick is a nationally ranked team under the leadership of Tim St. Lawrence and Rich Forst, two of the great high school track coaches in the United States.  Start time is 5:30 PM.

Pope John Results

Great Times at the Warwick Brian Ahearn Classic

WARWICK VALLEY HS, WARWICK, NY (April 15, 2005) -  Tim St. Lawrence is the thirty-one year veteran coach of the Purple Wave Boys, and one of the legendary high school track coaches in New York State and in the United States.  The Girls counterpart, Rich Furst, is on his way to achieving the same status as "Saint", with his program rising to national prominence in the past few years.  Both coaches love when "the Lions from Sussex County, NJ" visit because they know that when the Lions step onto the Tim St. Lawrence Track great times (and fast times) are bound to occur.  Tonight's meet had some additional significance because St. Lawrence advised that this year would be his last year as track coach, semi-retiring to coach cross-country only.  It was also Tim's 58th birthday.  Obviously, all the stars were aligned for a great night.

            The meet was held to benefit the Brian Ahearn Foundation.  Named in the memory of deceased Warwick Valley Middle School track athlete, Brian Ahearn, the foundation assists the disadvantaged and medically needy children of Orange County.

Clay Smith (L-R) Sean Mullen, Dan Flinn, Graham Medak, and AJ Ferriola

            Continuing the progress from the day before, the Lions ran fast times, established new school record times and personal bests.  Most noteworthy were the times run in the girls' 1500m run.  A blistering pace, some would say out-of-this-world pace, was set by Warwick Valley national two-mile and Millrose Games mile winner, Aislinn Ryan.  It was just the pace needed for Lara Heigis ('07) and Brynn Merritt ('06).  Both girls ran a fabulous race.  Heigis finished second to Ryan in 4:48.7, with Merritt a close third at 4:55.8.  Both times convert to PJ 1600m records.  Heigis broke the 1997 school record of Maria Nitto, and Merritt set a new junior class record.

            Other outstanding performances were turned in by Bryan Downing ('05) in the 400 IH (57.5), Jon Juleus ('08) in the 1600m run (4:51.3), Dan Allen ('06) in the pole vault (12-00) and 100m (11.1), Clay Smith ('07) in the 3000m Steeplechase (Dry) (10:16.0), and Liz So ('06) in the 2000m Steeplechase (Dry) (7:27.0).  A water pit malfunction prevented the Steeple from being run wet, keeping both Smith's and So's runs from going into the PJ record book, but there is no doubt that the records for both events would have been shattered by these outstanding athletes.

Pope John Results

Harper, Mazur, Murphy, Rogers Lead Boys to Win Over Rangers - Bannat, Downing, Marra Lead Girls

POPE JOHN HS (April 18, 2005) - Multiple event wins and lists of new personal records marked the Lions win over the Wallkill Valley Rangers today.  The Boys won by the score of 109 - 31, with the Girls winning 114 - 26.

            Leading the Boys were Jason Harper ('05), Mike Mazur ('05), Peter Murphy ('05), and Rick Rogers ('06), all with multiple wins.   Mazur's winning long jump of 21-8.5 broke the 1993 school record of Mike Johnston ('93) by 4.5 inches.  Mazur now owns the school records in the Long Jump and Triple Jump outright, and he is tied for the school record in the Pole Vault with Eric Speck ('88).  Mazur's second win today was in the Pole Vault with a mark of 12-6.  Harper's wins came in the 100m (11.1) and 200m (22.8), races that he has dominated this spring.  Murphy took charge in the hurdles, winning the 100 HH in a time of 15.8, his first sub-16 effort.  He preceded that race with a win in the 400 IH (59.6) to give the Lions their first points of the day.  Finally, Rogers delivered two big wins in the throws with performances of 137-5 in the discus and 153-7 in the javelin.  Both were PRs for Rogers, and his effort in the discus is just 1.25 feet short of the junior class record.

            The Girls provided some excellent performances of their own.  Kim Bannat ('06) is obviously getting back to state championship form, winning the High Jump (5-0), the Long Jump (15-3.25), and the Triple Jump (31-9.25), her second triple win of the season.  Meanwhile, Tara Downing ('07) continues to mature as a sprinter, winning both the 100m (13.0) and the 200m (27.5).  It's become apparent that Downing is for real.  Finally, Noelle Marra ('06) continued her fine spring with wins in the 400m (61.1) and the 400 IH (68.3), and a second place PR throw of 90-6 in the Javelin.

            Other performances of note include Anne Lockwood ('08) vaulting 6-6 for a PR win; Jon Juleus ('08) winning the 3200m run in 11:34.1 to earn his first varsity points; Erin Conway ('06) putting the shot 27-5 to place third, and complete the sweep to earn her first varsity point; and Zaharo Tsekouras ('08) placing third in the 3200m (13:49.6) to earn her first varsity point. 

            Most notable, however, were the three PR performances of James Nolan ('07).  Nolan, who is training to become a decathlete (multieventer), triple jumped 39-2.75 to earn a third place point, pole vaulted 10-6 to earn another third, and threw the javelin 141-3 for another third place finish.  He broke his third place streak by placing second in the high jump with a PR tying leap of 5-6.  If you want to get in shape, follow James around as he runs from event to event during the course of a meet.

            Both teams take their show on the road when they travel to Jefferson HS on Thursday, April 21 at 3:45 PM.

Varsity Results

Pope John Results

Youngsters Shine as Lions Claw Falcons

JEFFERSON HS (April 21, 2005) - The Girls defeated the Jefferson Falcons by the score of 114 -25, while the Boys triumphed 116.5 - 23.5, and though the usual contributors earned their points, it was the young Lions that took center stage.

            On the track, the girls distance crew of Anne Dauer ('06), Casey Keller ('08), and Liz Faherty ('06) shared the glory by sweeping both the 1600m and 3200m runs.  In the 1600, Dauer took first in the time of 5:58.2, her first sub-six minute performance, a goal that she had set for herself in the indoor season.  Keller took second and Faherty was third.  In the 3200, Keller earned her first varsity win by taking that race in the time of 14:00 flat, followed by Faherty and Dauer.  Laura Loechner ('08) won the first varsity event of her career with a 70.9 performance in the 400 IH, and Emily Smith ('07) did the same with her win in the 100 HH (17.8).  Loechner also placed second in the 400m run with a time of 64.9.

            Amy Sapol ('07) led the youngsters in the field by winning the Pole Vault with a personal record performance of 6-6, then added to her point scoring by placing third in the 800m (2:43.1) and by running the opening leg of the winning 4 x 400 relay in a split of 70.1.  Danielle LeGrande ('07) continued her fine sophomore season by winning the Shot Put with a throw of 32-11, and fellow thrower, Amy Spekhardt ('07), earned her varsity points with a toss of 79-4 in the discus, good enough for second place.

Danielle LeGrande Kevin Flannery

            On the Boys side, Rick Rogers ('06) was a triple winner, taking all of the throwing events.  Rogers completed his PR setting week by putting the shot 41-9.5.  Some may recall that on Monday against Wallkill Valley, Rick PRed in the discus and javelin.  His performances in those events were both very good, 132-11 in the Discus and 142-2 in the Javelin.  Another young thrower with a PR performance was Kevin Flannery ('07) who took third in the Javelin with a chuck of 116-6.  Finally, Pat Rosendale ('06) continued his improvement on the track by placing third in the 200m dash (24.8) and in the 400m run (54.4).

            Mike Dalton ('05) is the lone senior that gets a mention here because he is a first year Spring Track athlete.  (Mike played tennis from freshman to junior year).  Dalton had a stellar Cross-Country season and was ready for an outstanding indoor season when a stress fracture ended that dream.  But now Mike is back, and after getting his legs under him in the Warwick meet he was ready to compete against his hometown Falcons.  Mike wanted to win the 1600m run in the worst way.  For weeks during lifting sessions in the weight room, wearing his protective boot, all Dalton could talk about was getting back in time for the Jefferson meet.  Well he made the timetable and he won his race, being the first of nine Lions to cross the finish line ahead of the first Jefferson runner.  Mission accomplished Mike!

            The next meet is the invitational Raider Relays at Hillsborough HS, on Saturday, April 23.  See the Spring Schedule for directions, bus departure time, and Order of Events.

Pope John Results

Marra Leads Girls to Big Win Over Wildcats - Boys Win Easily

HIGH POINT HS, WANTAGE, NJ (April 25, 2005) - The coaches knew that the meet with the High Point girls would be a major challenge for the team this year.  The newspapers touted it as the meet of the week - and in the preview issues it was anticipated to be the dual meet of the year in the SCIL.  Noelle Marra ('06) knew it too.  Her body language shouted it from the minute she stepped onto the bus.  She had to be prepared and focused - Noelle was scheduled to compete in four events.

            Marra made the most of her day in leading the team to a 81 - 59 win.  Immediately after warm-up the girls threw the javelin.  Marra's throw of 91-3 just missed placing, but she spurred on Tricia Higgins ('06) to a second place finish with a toss of 101-8.  It was a great omen for the day - both girls were tough when they needed it most.  It was in the sprints, however, where Noelle made her largest impact.  She was awarded second in the 100m in 13.3 in a dead heat with teammate Tara Downing ('07); finished third in the 200m (28.4) behind Downing (28.1) and fellow junior Rachel Posthumus ('06) (28.3); then ended her day by taking second in the 400m (62.0) behind Posthumus (61.3) and just ahead of Alex Bush ('07) (62.8).

            The distance crew also made major contributions in the win.  All three events, the 800m, 1600m, and 3200m runs were swept by the Lions, but only Liz So ('06) competed and scored in all three.  Widely considered the most difficult triple on the track, So started her day by running with teammates Lara Heigis ('07) and Alessandra LeMastro ('06) as they crossed the line together in 5:42.0.  In the 3200m Liz crossed the line with LeMastro and Brynn Merritt ('06) in 13:08.0.  The 800m was another story.  Quite candidly, this is not So's strongest event - she is a true distance runner - two laps around the track in a near sprint is not her forte.  The pace in this race went out pretty fast, with Heigis and Merritt showing their speed.  Rachel Carrollo of High Point went with them and was in second on Heigis' shoulder at the 400m mark.  Liz was several meters back in fifth place.  At 500m Heigis separated herself from Carrollo winning easily in 2:24.0.  Merritt went by Carrollo at the 600m mark finishing second in 2:26.0.  So was now in fourth, but closing fast.  The last 100m was vintage Liz So.  She closed a 15m gap and crossed the line a step ahead of Carrollo in 2:31.9 to complete the sweep.  What a great finish for a super young lady.

            In the field it is impossible to ignore Kim Bannat ('06).  On this very cold and windy day Kim was a double winner.  She high jumped 5-0 for the victory in that event, then won the triple jump with a leap of 31-3.

Noelle Marra Rick Rogers

            On the Boys side things were much easier, as the final score of 122 - 18 indicates.  There were some notable performances, however. In the throws, Rick Rogers ('06) continued his remarkable spring with three wins, two PRs, and one class record.  Rogers started the day by winning the shot put with a PR 42-6 effort.  Teammate Tim Lynott ('06) placed second with a toss of 40-8.5.  In the discus, Rogers best event, his winning heave of 140-8.5 was good enough for the win and a new Junior Class record, supplanting the 2001 record of Devin Perez ('02).  Lynott took another second with a PR throw of 106-7.75, and Mike LoVasco ('06) finished the sweep with a PR throw of his own (101-0.5).  Rick completed the throws triple with a toss of 147-2 in the javelin.

            James Nolan ('07) also completed his day by throwing the javelin, taking third with a chuck of 129-1, but what he did leading up to this event is more remarkable.  Nolan established a new Sophomore Class record by placing second in the high jump with a PR 5-10 effort, took second in the pole vault (9-6), and third in the triple jump (36-7.25).

            The Lions will return to action against Lenape Valley next Monday, May 5, 4:00 PM at home.

Pope John Results

Youth Movement Plasters Patriots

POPE JOHN TRACK (May 2, 2005) - The Lenape Valley Patriots paid a visit to the Lions today.  Both the Boys and Girls retained their perfect 7 - 0 dual meet season by coming away with a 116 - 23 Boys victory and a 105 - 35 Girls triumph.  It was another good opportunity to let the younger athletes earn some varsity points - and the youngsters didn't disappoint.

            Matt Pezzulo ('07), Nick Beese ('08), Ryan Norris ('07), and James Nolan ('07) led the way with victories in the 800m run, 3200m run, 400 IH, and 100m and High Jump, respectively.  For multieventer Nolan, it was the first time that he competed in four of the five day one decathlon events.  In the next meet against Kittatinny, Nolan will compete in four of the five day two events.  In addition to his two wins, Nolan ran the third leg for the winning 4 x 400 relay, splitting 59.8, and he leaped 16-11.25 in the long jump.

            Other multiple winners included Jason Harper ('05), continuing his dominance in the sprints, with victories in the 200m (23.5) and 400m (52.0), and Dan Allen ('06), who pole vaulted 11-6 and jumped 19-10 in the long jump, both in weather conditions that were less than favorable.  Several boys also earned their first wins and/or first varsity points, including Tim Lynott ('06), who won the shot put with a heave of 41-0.75, Ryan Norris ('07) who won the 400 IH (62.4), and Dan Faherty ('05) and Jeff Weiler ('08), who ran the first and second legs of the 4 x 400 relay.  Matt Brennan ('06) and Mike Gaus ('07) earned their first points.  Brennan placed third in the 400 IH (66.1) and Gaus placed third in the Pole Vault (8-6).

            On the Girls side, sophomores Amy Sapol ('07)Emily Smith ('07) and Anne Lockwood ('08) continued to represent the youth movement.  Sapol won the 800m run (2:46.4) and the pole vault (6-6), with  Lockwood tied for second at 6-0.  It was Sapol's first multiple win day.  Smith won the 100 HH in a time of 17.7.  Carolyn Bieganousky ('07) led the sweep of the 400m with a time of 61.7, and Danielle LeGrande ('07) took first in the shot put with a toss of 34-3.75.

            Upperclassmen also earned their points and were multiple winners.  Liz So ('06) continued her breakout junior season with wins in the 1600m and 3200m runs.  She shared the spotlight with Alessandra LaMastro ('07) in the 1600 as both crossed the finish line together (5:44.4), then out-kicked LaMastro in the 3200 to win in 11:45.9.  Kim Bannat ('06) remained undefeated in the high jump and triple jump, leaping 5-0 and 30-10 respectively.  Bannat also placed second in the long jump with a 15-1 effort.

            Earning their first varsity points were Rachel Koch ('07), taking second in the triple jump (28-5.25), and Hayley Lencsak ('06), with a third place finish in the shot put, throwing a PR 28-2.

            Both teams travel to Kittatinny RHS on Thursday, May 5, 4:00 PM, for the penultimate dual meet of the season.

Pope John Results

Meet Results

  Lions Claw Cougars in Decisive Wins

KITTATINNY HS (May 5, 2005) - The Lions Girls and Boys continued their undefeated dual meet seasons with wins over the Kittatinny Cougars today.  The final score in the Girls meet was 95 - 45, with the Boys winning by the count of 110 - 29.

            For the girls, Kim Bannat ('06) was a triple winner taking the High Jump (5-2), Long Jump (14-11.5), and Triple Jump (31-8.5), while Tara Downing ('07) took the sprint double, winning the 100m (13.0) and 200m (27.4). 

            The remainder of the events on the track were all won by Pope John girls.  Rachel Posthumus ('06) took the 400m (61.2); Lara Heigis ('07) the 800m (2:26.1); Casey Keller ('08) the 1600m (5:52); Brynn Merritt ('06) the 3200m (11:39); Emily Smith ('07) the 100 HH (17.6); and Noelle Marra ('06) rounded out the winning track athletes with a 69.1 effort in the 400 IH.  The two Lions field athletes that took home wins, other than Bannat, were Amy Sapol ('07) in the Pole Vault (6-6) and Patricia Higgins ('07) in the Javelin (94-4). 

            Returning to action following a mandatory 30 day transfer rule absence was Sarah Abbott ('05), who ran very well in her Spring debut, taking second in the 800m (2:26.2).  Abbott also anchored the winning 4 x 400 relay team of Laura Loechner ('08), Alessandra LaMastro ('06), and Liz So ('06) in a time of 4:18.9.

            On the Boys side, another athlete who made his Outdoor Track debut was Tom Roy ('07).  Returning to the Kittatinny track where he competed last year, Roy was a double winner taking the 800m in 2:05.3 and the 1600m in 4:31.4.  Other double winners included Dan Allen ('06) in the 100m (11.3) and 200m (23.1); Peter Murphy ('05) in the 400 IH (60.9) and Triple Jump (39-3); and Mike Mazur ('05) in the Long Jump (19-4) and Pole Vault (12-0).

            In the throws, Rick Rogers ('06) won all three events, the Discus (134-1), the Shot Put (41-8), and the Javelin (149-8).

            First time point scorers included Doug Murphy ('08) who finished third in the 3200m (11:25.9), and Jeff Careaga ('07) who shared the first place points in the 4 x 400 relay with teammates Dan Faherty ('05), Dan Ziegler ('05), and Pat Rosendale ('06) who completed the circuit in 3:47.4.  Scott Varanelli ('08) also scored his first points taking third in both the 400m (59.4) and Triple Jump.  His distance in the TJ of 31-9.5 is a new PR.

            The Lions travel to Monroe-Woodbury HS, NY for their next competition at the Crusader Relays on Saturday, May 7.  This school is conveniently located across the road from Woodbury Commons Outlet Center, so many families have combined track and shopping in past years.

PJ Results

Records Fall at Crusader Relays

MONROE-WOODBURY HS, WOODBURY, NY (May 7, 2005) - The Crusader Relays is a meet that the Lions rarely miss - the competition is first-rate, the facilities are second to none, and record-setting performances are usually the result.  Today's meet was no exception.

            The top of the performance list belongs to the Girls Distance Medley Team of Brynn Merritt ('06), Rachel Posthumus ('06), Noelle Marra ('06), and Lara Heigis ('07).  These young ladies shattered the former Pope John and Sussex County record (13:00.9) for the DMR, set in 1998 at  the very same Crusader Relays, by running a sizzling 12:40.6.  Merritt led the way on the 1200m leg by splitting a remarkable 3:49.4, by far her best effort at this distance.  Posthumus followed with a solid 61.5 400m leg.  On the 800m leg Marra, substituting for Sarah Abbott ('05) who was unable to run due to a college commitment, performed well at a distance that she is not accustomed to running.  Her 2:32.3 was enough to keep the girls in the hunt for the record.  It came down to the 1600m leg and Heigis - the athlete to whom you would want to hand-off the baton if you were going for a record.  Heigis delivered by laying down a 5:17.4 split.

            The Lions came home with several championship performances as well.  Beginning the day, Danielle LeGrande ('07) won the Freshmen/Sophomore title in the shot put with a toss of 31-8.  In varsity competition Jeremy Scheid ('07) won the 1500m run in a time of 4:15.9, looking very smooth and comfortable throughout.

Brynn Merritt Albert Taylor Yvonne Green

            Finally, the Boys Distance Medley Relay team of Tom Roy ('07), Jason Harper ('05), Albert Taylor ('05), and Anthony LaMastro ('06) took home the gold by besting a very game North Rockland HS, NY team.  Roy started his 1200m leg against the defending NY 1500m champion, E. Martinez of North Rockland.  Roy's 3:17.8 split was enough to get the stick to Harper for the 400m leg with about a 12m deficit to make-up.  Harper certainly did his job, splitting 51.8 and passing the North Rockland runner in the last 100m to deliver the baton to Taylor with a lead of about 10 meters.  For Harper, this was the first time that he was asked to run a 400m after trials and finals in the 100m competition.  Taylor did not waste the opportunity set-up by Harper, lengthening the lead during his 800m leg to approximately 15 meters.  It was an encouraging run for Albert who has been battling an iron deficiency since the indoor season.  His 2:02.9 split, though off his best 800m time, is an indication that he is almost recovered.  The last baton pass was to LaMastro who ran an easy 4:26.8 1600m split to deliver the win in a total time of 10:39.3.

            Other performances of note included Eric Bredder ('05) and Yvonne Green ('05) who both delivered PR efforts in the high hurdles in times of 15.7 and 16.4 respectively.  Green's time puts her at number three in the SCIL Top Ten for this season.  Dan Allen ('06) also set a PR with his leap of 20-3.75 in the long jump, good enough for a fifth place finish in that event.  Finally, multieventer James Nolan ('07) demonstrated his versatility with second place finishes in the Frosh/Soph Pole Vault (10-6), High Jump (5-6), and Triple Jump (37-6.5).

            The Lions conclude their dual meet season at Sparta HS on Monday, May 9, and begin their championship season on Wednesday, May 11 with the SCIL Relays at Lenape Valley HS.

PJ Results

Complete Results

Boys and Girls Beat Sparta - Both Teams Finish Dual Season Undefeated

SPARTA HS (May 9, 2005) - The Girls and Boys teams defeated Sparta today by the scores of 96 - 44 and 84 - 56 to conclude their dual meet seasons at a perfect 9 - 0.  In the process, both teams clinched their second consecutive SCIL regular season titles.

            Dan Allen ('06), Anthony LaMastro ('06), and Rick Rogers ('06) led the way for the boys - all three won multiple events - but Allen was simply sensational.  In the absence of Jason Harper, home due to minor illness, Dan was called on to fill Jason's shoes in the sprints - and fill them he did, winning the 100m in 11.2 and the 200m in 22.6.  In addition, Allen did his usual work by winning the Pole Vault (12-0) and placing second in the Long Jump (19-9).  Awesome!

            LaMastro and Rogers aided the cause with two wins each.  Tony took the 1600m in 4:30.2 and the 3200m in 9:57.5, both nice tune-ups for the SCIL Relays scheduled for this Wednesday, May 11.  Rogers continued his fine junior season in the throws, winning the Discus (136-4) and Javelin (141-5), and placing second in the shot with a PR of 43-8.

            Other event winners included Tom Roy ('07) in the 800m (2:05.4); Bryan Downing ('05) in the 400 IH (60.8); James Nolan ('07) in the High Jump (5-8), along with thirds in the Pole Vault (10-6) and the Javelin (133-2); and the 4 x 400 relay team of Dan Faherty ('05), Albert Taylor ('05), Roy and Downing (3:30.5).

Dan Allen Sarah Abbott

            On the Girls side, Kim Bannat ('06) continued her domination of the jumps, winning the High Jump (5-2), Long Jump (14-7), and the Triple Jump (32-3).  After sitting out the indoor season, Kim is starting to hit full stride just in time for the championships.  Ironically, Sarah Abbott ('05) has been in great shape from the first day of the season but was unable to compete until last week due to the transfer rule - but she is making up lost time in a hurry - winning the 800m (2:24.5) and the 1600m (5:26.7).  Rah Rah for Abbott!

            Another runner who is recording her best times on the eve of the championships is senior Captain Yvonne Green ('05).  Yvonne ran her PR at the Crusader Relays on Saturday, and followed that effort with a great performance today, winning the 100 HH in 17.3, just ahead of teammate Emily Smith ('07) (17.4).  In the sprints Tara Downing ('07) and Rachel Posthumus ('06) shared the glory.  Tara won the 100m in 13.2 seconds, with Rachel placing second by less then a stride (13.2).  In the 200m, Posthumus took first in a time of 26.5, with Downing placing second in 26.7.

            Other event winners included Laura Loechner ('08) in the 400 IH (71.2); Amy Sapol ('07) in the Pole Vault (6-6); Patricia Higgins ('06) in the Javelin (97-8.5); and the 4 x 400 relay team of Loechner, Bianca Perez ('07), Carolyn Bieganousky('07), and Alex Bush ('07), finishing in a time of 4:16.3.

            Championship season begins on Wednesday, May 11 with the SCIL Relays at Lenape Valley HS.

PJ Results

NJ Herald Digital Edition (Boys Results)

NJ Herald Digital Edition (Girls Results)

Girls and Boys Win SCIL Relays - Numerous PJ and County Records Fall

LENAPE VALLEY HS (May 11, 2005) - The Lions Boys won every event on the track and scored their share of points on the field in dominating the 2005 SCIL Relays.  To this reporter's knowledge this was the first time that one team took first in all of the running events.  On the way to scoring 125 points, the Boys set new a new county record in the Sprint Medley Relay (3:34.3), and a school record in the 3 x 400 IH (2:57.7).  It was the Boys second consecutive Relays championship.

            The SMR team of James Nolan ('07), Dan Allen ('06), Jason Harper ('05), and Anthony LaMastro ('06) broke the 2002 record set by the Sparta Spartans (3:37.0).  All of the boys ran very well, but Harper's 51.3 split for the 400m leg would be the second fastest 400 in the SCIL this year.  Meanwhile, the 4 x 400 IH team of  Bryan Downing ('05), Peter Murphy ('05), and Tim Flinn ('05) broke one of the oldest records on the PJ books, the 1999 mark set by Sean Flannery ('00), Justin Geary ('00), and A.J. Zarra ('01) of 2:57.8.  Downing's time of 57.5 ties his own SCIL best and Murphy's 58.8 is his PR and the second fastest time in the league this year.

Kim Bannat Yvonne Green

            On the girls side, county records were set in the 4 x 1600 (21:48.8) and 4 x 200 (1:47.3), and new PJ records were established in the Shuttle Hurdles (1:09.3) and the 3 x 400 IH (3:27.3).  The girls won all but two events on the track, finishing second in the intermediate hurdles and third in the shuttle hurdles, on their way to scoring 116 points to edge out High Point with their 108.

Girls and Boys Display Their Championship Plaques

            Alessandra LaMastro ('06), Brynn Merritt ('06), Lara Heigis ('07), and Liz So ('06) delivered the record breaking 4 x 1600, while Alex Bush ('07), Rachel Posthumus ('06), Tara Downing ('07), and Noelle Marra ('06) comprised the 4 x 200 team.  The hurdlers, some may argue the most improved runners in the program, were Emily Smith ('07), Yvonne Green ('05), Kathleen Ennis ('05), and Carolyn Bieganousky ('07) in the shuttle hurdles; and Bieganousky, Laura Loechner ('08), and Marra in the intermediates.  Ennis' 17.8 split is a personal record.

            While the Boys outcome was never in doubt, the girls had to work until the very last event, the high jump, to get the victory.  Marra and her partner, Kim Bannat ('06), delivered in a big time spot by winning the event, assuring the team win.  It was the fourth consecutive Relays win for the girls.

PJ Results

[Photo Gallery Courtesy of Dave de la Fuente]  - Warning: Off-site link

The Tradition Continues: Post-Prom Practice at 8:00 AM

POPE JOHN HS TRACK (May 14, 2005) - Every Pope John Track athlete and alumnus knows that the Prom is great fun - you can dress in a gown or tux, smile till it hurts for all of those pictures with and without your date, ride in a limo, dance all night, go to a late night diner for eats, sleep-over a friend's house � then get up early for track practice at eight.  What could be better?

            Not much as it seems, but this year our juniors and seniors entertained everyone with their post-prom practice antics -  missing wake-up calls, late-comers arriving in bare feet and Snoopy pajamas.  All good stuff, but nothing matched the arrival of our three senior girl Captains, Kaitlin Juleus, Yvonne Green, and Kathleen Ennis, all wearing their gowns and trainers because "Mr. Corcoran had to see us in our dresses".

Kaitlin Juleus, Prom Queen Yvonne Green, and Kathleen Ennis ready to race?

            Well the girls accomplished their mission, and the coaches achieved theirs - continuing to prepare the athletes during the championship season.  The next test will be the SCIL Festival scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, May 17 and 18 at Lenape Valley HS at 4:00 PM.  Come out and support the team!

Lions Lead After Day One of the SCIL Festival

LENAPE VALLEY HS (May 17, 2005) - At the conclusion of the first day of the SCIL Outdoor Track Festival both the Lions' Girls and Boys are in the lead.  The Boys have scored 61 points, with their nearest pursuer, Vernon, ending the day with 40 points.  The Girls have scored 64 points, with second place High Point a mere five points behind.

            Several athletes won individual event championships.  Bryan Downing ('05) took the gold medal in the 400 IH (57.57) for the first PJ win of the day, followed on the track by Jason Harper ('05) in the 100m dash(11.21), and Anthony LaMastro ('06) in the 1600m run (4:22.63).  On the girls side, Lara Heigis ('07) won the gold in the 1600m run (5:12.69) for the girls' only event championship of the day, but the ladies had many placements. 

            As an added bonus, both 1600m winners, Anthony LaMastro and Heigis, received the inaugural Dave Karlberg Memorial Award, an annual prize awarded to the boy's and girl's 1600m winners.

Bryan Downing Lara Heigis Jason Harper Anthony LaMastro

            In the same 1600m race, Brynn Merritt ('06) placed second behind Heigis (5:14.39), with Liz So ('06) finishing in fifth place (5:14.39).  Tara Downing ('07) took second in the 100m (13.06) and Rachel Posthumus ('06) did likewise in the 400m run (59.62).  Alex Bush ('07) was third in the 400m behind Posthumus, and Noelle Marra ('06) took the sixth place point.  Marra also placed fifth in the 400 IH (69.50) behind Carolyn Bieganousky ('07) who placed fourth in a time of 68.69.  Boys' placements on the track included Dan Allen ('06) (11.34) who placed third in the 100m behind Harper.  Bryan Downing added a fourth place in the open 400m (53.35) to his win in the 400 IH.  Finally, also in the 400 IH, Peter Murphy ('05) (60.88) placed third.

            In the field, Briana Perez ('06) placed third in the shot put (33-8), Patricia Higgins ('06) also won third place honors in the javelin (103-4), and Amy Sapol ('07) was fourth in the pole vault (7-0).  For the boys, Mike Mazur ('05) placed fourth in the triple jump, with James Nolan ('07) finishing sixth in the same event. 

            Day Two of the Festival continues tomorrow, Wednesday, May 18th at Lenape Valley HS, 4:00 PM.

NJ Herald Report

Daily Record Report

Star-Ledger Report

Girls and Boys Win SCIL Festival

Place Third Jewel in the Track Triple Crown


LENAPE VALLEY HS (May 18, 2005) - In a display of team depth both on the track and in the field the Lions Boys and Girls both scored 148 points to far outdistance the rest of the teams in the SCIL, completing their sweep of SCIL competition.  Both teams won the regular season dual meet title going undefeated,  then  won the SCIL Relays last week to set-up today's final showdown.  As the scores indicate, the outcome was never seriously in doubt.  The Girls' nearest competition came from High Point (112 points) and Vernon (42 points).  On the boys side, Vernon's 95 points was second to the Lions 148 points, with the Hopatcong Chiefs placing third, scoring 75 points.


Fast Times at Fast Times

Girls 4 x 800 and 4 x 400 Qualify for Nationals - PJ and County Records Fall


WARWICK VALLEY HS, WARWICK, NY (May 23, 2005) - It's that time of year again when Coach Tim St. Lawrence gets on his platform announcing everyone's name and splits, keeping the crowd informed about school, county, state, and national records.  It's a very exciting night because the athletes do as promised - run Fast Times.   The Pope John Girls certainly did their part.


            For starters, the 4 x 800 team of Sarah Abbott ('05), Brynn Merritt ('06), Alex Bush ('07), and Lara Heigis ('07) shattered the former PJ and Sussex County record of 9:31.0 with their new record of 9:12.4.  Each split represented a new PR for the girls starting with Abbott's blistering lead-off leg of 2:15.4, breaking her own record of 2:18.63 which she set less than a week earlier at the SCIL Festival.  Keep in mind that the previous record of 2:18.88 was set by Kathy Frick ('88) in 1988.  Merritt's second leg split of 2:20.3 was a three second PR, and it was followed by an equally impressive 3.5 second PR by Alex Bush (2:19.9).  Lara Heigis' anchor leg of 2:16.8 finished off the relay and qualified the team for the Nike Outdoor National Championships.  The time is the tenth fastest in the nation, and the second fastest in NJ.


Brynn Merritt running the second leg of the 4 x 800 Relay

Photo compliments of Armorytrack.com


            Having secured their coach bus seats to Greensboro, NC, Merritt and Heigis got to relax and watch their 4 x 800 teammates join with Carolyn Bieganousky ('07) and Rachel "Giggles" Posthumus ('06) as they punched their tickets to the big show by setting a new school record in the 4 x 400 of 4:01.0, eclipsing the previous 2002 record of 4:01.4 set by Katie Bieganousky ('04) (Carolyn's older sister), Sara Boutilier ('02), Kaley Guthrie ('04), and Jess Boynton ('02).  Sarah Abbott also led off this relay by running a very respectable 60.0 opening leg.  She was followed by Carolyn Bieganousky's second leg split of 61.7, Alex Bush's third leg 59.9 and "Giggles" anchor leg of 59.4.


            Other notable performances included Kim Bannat's ('06) school record leap of 5 - 4.5 in the high jump, breaking the record of 5 - 4 set by Shannon Campbell ('02) in 2000.  Though not a school record, James Nolan ('07) did set a sophomore class record by clearing 6 - 0 in the high jump - a PR of four inches!  With performances like this, Nolan is well on his way to becoming an outstanding decathlete.   Jason Harper ran a third leg split of 49.8 in the Boys' 4 x 400 - his first sub 50 race.


            Meanwhile at the East Coast Relays at Morristown HS, the Boys 110 Shuttle Hurdles team made another attempt to break the school and county records.  They fell just short, finishing in 1:06.32.  Briana Perez ('06) and Danielle LeGrande ('07) teamed up to take eleventh place in the shot put relay with combined throws of 64 - 3.75.  Finally, Rick Rogers ('06) got out of his throwing funk of the last few weeks by throwing the discus 137 - 7, the second longest throw of his career.


PJ Results (Fast Times Relays)


Complete Results


Youngsters Perform Well at WV Frosh - Soph Meet

Clay Smith Breaks Soph 3200m Record


WALLKILL VALLEY HS (May 25, 2005) - The Freshman - Sophomore meet held at Wallkill Valley is considered the championships for many of our young athletes.  For most, it is their last competition of the year, so the kids give their all to end the season on a high note, either by winning their event or by setting new personal records.  This year produced champions, record setters, and many PRs.


Girls Win NJCTC Championship - Boys Finish Third


NOTRE DAME HS, LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ (May 29, 2005) - It took wins in the last two events on the track, the 4 x 800 and 4 x 400 relays, for the Girls to secure their second NJCTC Spring Championship in the last three years - and several gutsy performances were turned in by athletes like Liz So ('06), Alex Bush ('07), Tara Downing ('07), and Laura Loechner ('08) made those wins happen.  Trailing Bishop Eustace by 4.67 points going into the relays, the girls knew that they had to win both races in order to win the team championship.


            Carolyn Bieganousky ('07) ran the lead off leg of the 4 x 800 in a very respectable 2:28.4.  She passed the baton to Liz So ('06)  trailing the runner from St. Dominic Academy by approximately five meters.  By the 700 meter mark So had taken the lead and slowly extended it.  The St. Dom's runner made a move on So with 200 meters to go, but Liz found another gear and handed the stick to freshman Laura Loechner ('08) with a nice lead of about ten meters.  Her split of 2:27.9 was a new PR for the gutsy junior.  Loechner did not waste her opportunity.  She ran a very comfortable 400 and maintained her composure when the St. Dom's third leg pulled up to her left shoulder with 300 meters to go.  They ran shoulder to shoulder down the back stretch when the St. Dom's girl nosed ahead at the 200 mark.  Showing her grit and determination, Loechner came right back on the girl passing her with less then 100 meters to go, then finishing very strong in 2:31.9, a big time PR, which enabled anchor leg Alex Bush ('07) to start with a five meter lead.  The girls from St. Dom's were not done, however.  Bush was challenged at the 600m mark, and then again at the start of the gun lap.  With 300 meters to go Bush was sternly reminded by Coach Corcoran that the team title depended on the win in this race, and Bush responded like a true champion.  Tough as nails down the back stretch, Alex kicked to finish in 2:23.5, providing a three second margin of victory (9:51.7) over St. Dominic's, and more importantly, a four point swing with Bishop Eustace who finished third in the event.


            With Eustace's lead down to a mere 2/3 of a point, the meet championship came down to the last event of the day, the 4 x 400.  This race would develop into a microcosm of the meet with only two teams in contention at the end, Pope John and Bishop Eustace.  There was some nerves visible on the faces of the Lions' girls, especially with Tara Downing ('07) being inserted into the line-up at the last minute - but ironically, the only PJ athlete that seemed cool about the change was TD herself who, being previously nosed out of the 100m championship by a Bishop Eustace runner, was set on gaining some revenge.  She even told Coach Corcoran that she would deliver a PR performance in a split of 60 point or less - but it was time for talk to stop and for running to begin.


            Sarah Abbott ('05) set the tone in the race by going out fast and staying in the lead.  Sarah looked very comfortable during her leg (62.1) giving Noelle Marra ('06) a nice lead at the first exchange.  Marra carried that lead through to the home stretch, but she had a bit of trouble closing (62.3) so that at the second baton pass, TD and the Eustace runner were dead even.  Now it was time for the little sophomore with the big heart to stand up and deliver - and did she ever deliver - demolishing the field with a sizzling 60.9 second split, just as she predicted, to give anchor Rachel Posthumus ('06) a five meter lead.  "Giggles" ran smooth and relaxed the whole way, but emphatically stepped on the gas with 100 meters to go to decisively put the race and the meet away.  Her split of 61.1 gave the team a time of 4:06.4.  Eustace finished second in a time of 4:10.9.


            In addition to the late heroics of the relay teams, other point scorers for the girls included Downing in the 100m (2nd place, 12.9); Giggles in the 400m (5th place, 60.5); Abbott and Bush in the 800m (3rd - 2:20.4, and 4th - 2:20.9); Lara Heigis ('07), Brynn Merritt ('06), and Alessandra LaMastro ('06) in the 1600m (3rd - 5:06.8, 4th - 5:13.9, and 6th - 5:14.6); Heigis, Merritt, and LaMastro in the 3200m (2nd - 11:32.1, 3rd - 11:40.0, and 4th - 11:47.5); Kim Bannat ('06) who won the High Jump (5-2) (the Lions' only individual event champion on the day), and second  in the Triple Jump (33-4); Briana Perez ('06) in the Shot Put (3rd - 32-7.25); Marra in the Javelin (3rd - 99-6); and Amy Sapol ('07) in the Pole Vault (3 way tie for 6th - 7-0).


            With all of the stellar performances of the girls, it would be easy to overlook some equally magnificent performances on the boys side.  The Boys finished in third place with 73 points behind Notre Dame (90), and Christian Brothers Academy (75).  Seton Hall Prep (64) and St. Benedict's Prep ( 48) rounded out the top five teams.


            The only male to win an individual event championship was Anthony LaMastro ('06) in the 3200m run.  Running in the lead pack with teammate Jeremy Scheid ('07) and several CBA runners, Anthony stayed cool throughout the race, letting the CBA runners take the pace until the 300 meter mark.  Here is where Anthony displayed his tremendous speed kicking in the last lap to finish in a time of 9:37.2.  Jeremy finished fourth in 9:43.6.  LaMastro also placed second in the 1600m run in a time of 4:21.5.  The other multiple event placers were Jason Harper ('05) who finished 3rd in the 100m (11.0) and 2nd in the 200m (22.4), and Dan Allen ('06) who took 4th in the 100m (11.4), 4th (T) in the 200m (23.2), 6th in the Long Jump (19-3), and 2nd in the Pole Vault (12-6).  To this reporter's knowledge, Allen's feat of placing in four different events is a first for a PJ athlete at the NJCTC championships.


            Other point scorers included Rick Rogers ('06) in the discus (6th, 135-7); James Nolan ('07) in the High Jump (5th, 5-8); Bryan Downing ('05) in the 400 IH (3rd, 57-3); and the 4 x 800 team of Matt Carlson ('06), Matt Pezzulo ('07), Mike Lamm ('07), and Albert Taylor ('05) (1st, 8:23.0).


            The Lions return to action next Friday, June 3 at Notre Dame HS for Day One of the Non-Public A championship.


PJ Results


Complete Results


Girls Finish Second, Boys Fourth at Non-Public A Championships

Heigis and Anthony LaMastro Win State Championships


NOTRE DAME HS, LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ (June 4 & 5, 2005) - The PJ Girls scored seventy-three points to finish behind Bishop Eustace (89) in the Non-Public A Championships today.  The Boys placed fourth with thirty-eight points, finishing behind host, Notre Dame HS (130), Seton Hall Prep (98), and Don Bosco Prep (39.5).  Seventeen Lions will be representing Pope John at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions on Wednesday, May 8th as a result of placing sixth place or higher at the meet held yesterday and today.  Two of those athletes became state champions in their individual events, Lara Heigis ('07) in the 3200m run, and Anthony LaMastro ('06) in the 1600m run.  Heigis' time of 11:07.66 sets a new Pope John record.


            In addition to Heigis in the 3200, several other records were broken.  Sarah Abbott ('05) broke her own record in the 800m run with a time of 2:17.44, finishing second in that event.  Kim Bannat ('06) set a new PJ and Sussex County record in the triple jump with a leap of 34-2, also finishing second.  Finally, Brynn Merritt ('06) broke her own Junior Class record in the 1600m run with a time of 5:11.56, finishing third in her race.  For the first time two sets of siblings will be going to the big dance.  Alessandra LaMastro ('06) will be joining her younger (twin) brother, Anthony, and Bryan Downing ('05) will be racing with his kid sister, Tara Downing ('07).


A complete list of PJ MOC qualifying athletes, their events and times, follow:


Event Name Time Placement
100m Tara Downing 13.11 5th
400m Rachel Posthumus 60.60 4th
800m Sarah Abbott 2:17.44 2nd
800m Alexandra Bush 2:19.41 5th
1600m Brynn Merritt 5:11.56 3rd
1600m Alessandra LaMastro 5:12.40 4th
1600m Lara Heigis 5:12.98 5th
3200m Lara Heigis 11:07.66 1st
3200m Brynn Merritt 11:26.96 3rd
3200m Elizabeth So 11:39.97 4th
4 x 400m Abbott, Noelle Marra, Bush, Posthumus 4:02.37 2nd
Shot Put Briana Perez 33-8 5th
High Jump Kim Bannat 5-0 T-2nd
Triple Jump Kim Bannat 34-2 2nd
200m Jason Harper
1600m Anthony LaMastro 4:20.85 1st
3200m Anthony LaMastro 9:26.82 2nd
3200m Jeremy Scheid 9:32.97 4th
IH Bryan Downing 56.94 5th
Pole Vault Dan Allen 12-6 3rd
Pole Vault Michael Mazur 12-6 4th



Nike Outdoor National Track & Field Championships Preview


            Twenty-two Pope John athletes will make the trip to North Carolina A & T University in Greensboro to compete in the Nike Outdoor National Track & Field Championships (NON) on Friday June 17 and Saturday June 18.  Without a doubt, this is the most prestigious meet in the nation.  All season long the athletes work their hardest to achieve the NON qualifying marks so they can make this annual pilgrimage to the Tar Heel state.  For the first time, Nike will be the sponsor of the meet following years of sponsorship by Adidas.  In addition, North Carolina A & T will host the event this year while the track facilities at North Carolina State in Raleigh are being renovated.


            Seniors Bryan Downing, Jason Harper and Albert Taylor will lead the boys.  They will be joined by juniors Dan Allen and Anthony LaMastro, and sophomores James Nolan, Tom Roy, Jeremy Scheid, and Clay Smith.  For the girls, senior Sarah Abbott and juniors Alessandra LaMastro, Noelle Marra, Brynn Merritt, Rachel Posthumus, and Liz So will be joined by sophomores Carolyn Bieganousky, Alex Bush, Tara Downing, and Lara Heigis.  This is the first time in memory that two sets of siblings, the Downings and the LaMastros will be competing at the Nationals.


            For the Boys, Harper, Allen, B. Downing and Anthony LaMastro will run the Sprint Medley Relay.  Nolan will be the back-up in that event.  LaMastro has also qualified to compete as an individual in the mile.  Scheid, Smith, Roy and Taylor will compete in the 4 x 1 mile relay.


            The Girls will have three relay teams competing.  Carolyn Bieganousky, Noelle Marra, Alex Bush and Rachel Posthumus will run the 4 x 400m.  The 4 x 800m team will  be Sarah Abbott, Brynn Merritt, Bush, and Lara Heigis.  Finally, like the Boys, the Girls qualified in the 4 x 1 mile relay.  That team is comprised of Alessandra LaMastro, Liz So, Merritt, and Heigis.


            Stay tuned for daily updates from the meet starting on Thursday, June 16.


Order of Events



Boys SMR and Girls 4 x 800 Prepare for Their NON Races


GREENSBORO, NC (June 16, 2005) - After a twelve hour bus ride and a lengthy check-in at the hotel, the team finally went to visit the Irwin Belk Track & Field complex at North Carolina A & T University.  While the distance runners went on a 30 - 40 minute run, the Boy's Sprint Medley Relay team of  Dan Allen, Bryan Downing, Jason Harper and Anthony LaMastro did their final workout before their race which is scheduled for Friday at 6:45 PM.  All of the boys were focused, and looked forward to the challenge ahead.  Seeded in the second of three sections, the team realizes that they need to run their best time of the year, a sub 3:30 to receive All-American honors.  The top six finishers in this prestigious field are declared All-Americans.


            Meanwhile, the girls' 4 x 800 team of Sarah Abbott, Brynn Merritt, Alex Bush, and Lara Heigis will need to run at or below their best time of 9:12 to become All-Americans.  Based on their workout this evening, the girls are all-business.  Abbott, the PJ record holder in the 800m, in what will be her penultimate high school race, is sure to give Merritt, Bush, and Heigis the opportunity they need to stay in the mix and contend for the title.  The girls will run at 8:55 PM on Friday.


            Complete reports on the outcome of these two races will be available tomorrow evening.  Stay tuned for the most complete PJ results on the internet.


 Order of Events


Boys SMR Places Ninth in New County Record

Girls 4 x 800 Finishes Thirteenth


GREENSBORO, NC (June 17, 2005) - The Boys Sprint Medley Relay team of Dan Allen, Bryan Downing, Jason Harper, and Anthony LaMastro placed ninth overall at the Nike National Outdoor Championships today in a new Sussex County record time of 3:33.07.  Allen led the way with a 22.4 second split on his opening 200m leg.  Downing took the hand-off cleanly and split 23.3 on his 200 leg.  When Harper received the baton at the start of his 400m leg the team was in fifth place.  Harper powered his way to third place in the first 200 meters, but could not sustain his torrid pace to the finish, falling to fifth again by the time the baton was passed to LaMastro for the start of the 800m anchor leg.  LaMastro was patient and business-like as he worked his way up to third place, and challenged for second, before finishing his split in a time of 1:56.6.


Boys SMR on their way to the starting line. Lara Heigis anchors the 4 x 800 relay


           On the Girls side, the 4 x 800 team of Sarah Abbott, Brynn Merritt, Alex Bush, and Lara Heigis finished thirteenth in a time of 9:21.55.  This was a very hot race, with the four lead teams in the flight flirting with breaking the national record of 8:50.41.  When all was said and done, Bayshore HS of New York won in a time of 8:56.21.  Our girls were in the race until the third leg when the pace started to push the stamina of our athletes.  Abbott opened in a very respectable 2:18.9.  She was followed by Merritt who delivered another respectable split of 2:21.1.  Sophomore Alex Bush then got off to a slow start, splitting in a time of 2:24.0.  When Heigis got the stick for the anchor leg, she was in tenth place in the flight.  She ran a great leg, splitting 2:16.2 to bring the team to eighth place in the flight.


Complete Results


Pope John Girls Garner Post-Season Honors


Pope John�s track team enjoyed yet another dream season. Pictured are, back row, left to right: Tara Downing, Amy Sapol, Lara Heigis, Brynn Merritt, Liz
So, Alessandra LaMastro; front row: Rachel Posthumus, Carolyn Bieganousky, Sarah Abbott, Noelle Marra, Alex Bush. 
(Photo courtesy of NJ Herald)


 POPE JOHN, NJ (June 25, 2005) - Another successful outdoor season has drawn to a close and the post-season awards have been announced.  As expected,  the Pope John girls were well represented among the NJ Herald and Star-Ledger honorees.


            The NJ Herald announced their selections on June 19 and named the Lady Lions Team of the Year based on their undefeated SCIL regular season and their victories in the SCIL Relays and Festival.  This is the second consecutive year that the girls have accomplished this feat, and the third time in four years.  In addition, the team and its members set or tied thirteen school records and five Sussex County records during the course of the season.


            As a team, the ladies won the NJ Catholic Track Conference Championship and placed second in the NJSIAA Non-Public Championships.  Kim Bannat ('06) and Lara Heigis ('07) won individual championships at the NJCTC's, and Heigis was the Non-Public A State Champion in the 3200m run.  In addition to Heigis, eleven of her teammates qualified for the NJ Meet of Champions based on placing in the top six at the Non-Public A Championships.  Two of those eleven, Bannat and Sarah Abbott ('05), placed second in their events, Bannat in the high jump and triple jump, and Abbott in the 800m run.


            Finally, at the Nike Outdoor National Championships, the girls established themselves as one of the best programs in the nation by placing eleventh in the 4 x 1 mile, thirteenth in the 4 x 800m, and twenty-third in the 4 x 400m relays.


            On Wednesday, June 22, The Star-Ledger  announced their West Jersey, Non-Public A, and All-State awards.  Again, the Pope John girls figured prominently in those selections.  The team was named the Team of the Year in West Jersey, based on their regular season, SCIL Relays and SCIL Festival wins, and their NJCTC Championship and Non-Public A second place finish.  The 4 x 800 relay team of Sarah Abbott ('05), Brynn Merritt ('06), Alex Bush ('07), and Lara Heigis ('07) was declared the West Jersey Relay of the Year.  Their time of 9:12.4 run at the Lenox Fast Times Relay in Warwick, NY was the #2 time in New Jersey and #12 in the United States.  In addition, the 4 x 1 mile relay team of Alessandra LaMastro ('06), Merritt, Liz So ('06), and Heigis, was the fastest in NJ with a time of 21:25.11.  The same girls ran a time of 21:48.8 in the 4 x 1600 which was the #6 time in NJ this year.


            Individually, Heigis was named the West Jersey Distance Runner of the Year.  Her wins in both the 1600m and 3200m at the SCIL Festival; her second place in the 3200m and third in the 1600m at the NJCTC Championships; her 3200m NJ championship in the Non-Public A race coupled with a fifth place finish in the 1600m; and finally, her fourth place finish in the Meet of Champions in a Pope John record time of 10:55.53 proved that she was deserving of this award.


            Finally, Coach Brian Corcoran was named the Coach of the Year by both the NJ Herald and The Star-Ledger.  Simply put, there is no finer track coach in the area, perhaps in the state.  He is definitely deserving of both of these awards - and I'm certain that I'll be receiving an e-mail shortly demanding that I remove this statement from the article.  This is notice that this reporter will refuse to do so!


Brian Corcoran, NJ Herald and Star-Ledger West Jersey Coach of the Year  (Photo courtesy of NJ Herald)


2005 Girls Spring Track & Field Achievements Recap


2005 SCIL All-League Selections



NJ Herald Names PJ Boys Team of the Year

Anthony LaMastro and Jason Harper Receive Star-Ledger West Jersey Honors

(Top Left to Right): Mike Mazur, Bryan Downing, Albert Taylor, and Mike Dalton (Bottom Left to Right): Dan Allen, Tom Roy, Jeremy Scheid, Clay Smith, and Anthony LaMastro. 

(Photo by Kelly Hill/New Jersey Herald).

POPE JOHN, NJ (April 26, 2005) - Lead by a core of outstanding seniors, the Pope John boys, like their female counterparts, were named the NJ Herald Track and Field Team of the Year.  Mike Mazur, Bryan Downing, Albert Taylor, Jason Harper, Peter Murphy, Eric Bredder, Mike Dalton, Will Ehrhardt, Dan Faherty, Tim Flinn, Kevin Mulcahy, James Peer, and Dan Ziegler will all be missed next year, but they did a tremendous job preparing their younger teammates to fill their shoes.

            Taylor and Ehrhardt, the distance captains, were joined by the likes of Anthony LaMastro ('06), the dominant distance runner in the SCIL and one of the best runners in the state; Jeremy Scheid ('07), Tom Roy ('07), and Clay ("Mr. Pibs") Smith ('07).  All of these youngsters are primed to carry on the "distance dynasty".  Similarly, horizontal jumper and vaulter Mazur is followed by Dan Allen ('06), the leading point scorer for the boys this year.  Allen and Mazur were the top pole vaulters in the area, and while Mazur was earning his points in the jump pit, Allen joined Jason Harper in dominating the sprints.  Downing, Murphy, Faherty, and Flinn led the hurdling corps, but Ryan Norris ('07), stands ready in the wings.

            With this type of depth, the Lions went undefeated in the SCIL regular season, won the SCIL Relays and Festival to complete the SCIL "triple crown" for the second straight year; placed third at the New Jersey Catholic Track Conference Championships; and fourth at the NJSIAA Non-Public A Championships.  The Sprint Medley Relay team of Allen, Downing, Harper, and LaMastro set a new Sussex County record in that event (3:33.07), and five PJ records were set or tied by members of this team.

            In addition to the Team honors, seven Lions were named as individuals to the New Jersey Herald first team.  Dan Allen, Bryan Downing, Jason Harper, Mike Mazur, Anthony LaMastro, Peter Murphy, and Albert Taylor were so honored.  The Star-Ledger named Jason Harper and Anthony LaMastro to its All West Jersey first team.  Harper was selected as West Jersey "Sprinter of the Year", while LaMastro was named "Distance Runner of the Year". 

            So, all in all, it was another banner year.

2005 Boys Spring Track & Field Achievements Recap

2005 SCIL All-League Selections