By Sophia Chiang, Swimming World College Intern
The annual New Jersey NJSIAA State Championships went off this past weekend at the Gloucester Country Institute of Technology (GCIT) in Glassboro, NJ. New Jersey’s state championships, known as the “Meet of Champions” is one of the fastest high school meets in the country, and this year was no exception.
Scotch Plains Fanwood’s women led off Sunday’s finals with a blistering new state record in the women’s 200 medley relay, taking the state title in 1:45.36, beating Westfield High School’s 2014 record 1:45.59. Erika Frazier, Rachel Maizes, Stephanie Judge, and Sarah Davis swept second place Bridgewater Raritan (1:46.38) and Hillsborough High School (1:46.69).
Ocean City’s Amanda Nunan won the 200 yard freestyle in 1:48.26, dropping about two seconds from her prelims time to separate her from the pack and from second place finisher, teammate Maggie Wallace (1:51.42). In the 200 yard individual medley, freshman Sarah Hardy of Bishop George Ahr took the state title in 2:02.44, out touching Hillsborough’s Megan Bull (2:03.16).
Princeton’s Abbey Berloco fought off a tough heat to emerge victorious in the women’s 50 yard freestyle, touching in 23.20, beating out Ocean City’s Ryann Steyer (23.42). The entire A-final was under the 24 second mark, and the top finisher of the B-heat, Bridgewater’s Alex Gebel, was also under the mark.
Senior Julieyanna Parker of Hillsborough pulled through after a slower start at prelims to take the women’s 100 yard butterfly title in 55.30, taking out Colonia’s Monicka Burzynska (55.65). In the 100 yard freestyle, Berloco grabbed her second state title in 50.30, slightly missing Kelsi Worrell‘s state record of 49.79. Bridgewater’s Gebel touched in 51.64, grabbing second.
Nunan also took her second state title of the night home in the 500 yard freestyle, simultaneously setting a new state record in 4:46.31, taking out a 1988 record set by Shore Regional’s Paulette Russell (4:46.86). Nunan was followed by teammate Wallace, who touched in 4:52.60. Ocean City also saw their first relay title of the night in the 200 yard freestyle relay, where their team, composed of Aly Chain, Amber Glenn, Nunan, and Steyer took the win in 1:35.50, fighting off tough competitors Pingry (1:35.74) and Scotch Plains Fanwood (1:36.79).
Sophie Fontaine of Haddonfield Memorial took her first win of the night home in the women’s 100 yard backstroke in 54.61, followed closely by Trinity Hall’s Caroline Gmelich (55.78). Montclair’s Charlotte O’Leary went on to win the 100 yard breaststroke in 1:02.28, with Chatham’s Hannah Womer taking silver in 1:04.06.
Princeton High School took home the title in the final event of the night, the women’s 400 freestyle relay, in 3:28.60, knocking out Scotch Plains Fanwood (3:30.38) and Hillsborough (3:32.82). Brianna Romaine, Madeleine Deardorff, Melinda Tang, and Berloco cleaned house and aptly finished the meet with a bang.
Mainland Regional’s men took the first win of the night home in 1:34.74 in the 200 yard individual medley. Derek Kneisel, Brian McGroarty, Joey Rogers, and Justin Liu beat out Morristown High School (1:35.05) and Cherry Hill East (1:35.39).
St Augustine Prep’s Luke Snyder won the first individual event of the afternoon, the men’s 200 yard freestyle, in 1:40.78. North Hunterdon’s Robert Spichiger took silver in 1:41.45. Teaneck’s Jason Arthur broke the first men’s record of the evening in the men’s 200 yard individual medley in 1:48.14, dropping nearly four seconds off his prelims time, followed by Mainland Regional’s McGroarty (1:51.74).
In the men’s 50 yard freestyle, New Providence’s David Hua grabbed victory in 20.91, followed by Randolph’s Vinny Marciano (20.96). Mountain Lakes’s Matthew Luciano took the title home in the 100 yard butterfly in 50.00 in a tight finish with Morristown’s Matthew Critchley (50.11). Marciano went on to grab his first individual state title of the night in the men’s 100 yard freestyle in 46.03, followed by Morristown’s Liu (46.15) in a close finish. Top five in this heat all came in under the 47 second mark.
Morristown’s Ryan Waters came in top in the 500 yard freestyle in 4:32.76, ahead of second place finisher Zach Washart of St Augustine Prep (4:33.40). Morristown would go on to claim their first relay state title of the afternoon in the 200 yard freestyle relay in 1:25.95 in a fast team made up of Michael Macchia, Owen Breslin, Derek He, and Critchley. Hillsborough’s men came in silver in 1:26.12, and St Augustine Prep’s men in bronze in 1:27.03.
Morrestown’s Alex Martin came in top in the men’s 100 yard backstroke in 49.74, followed up by Duncan Brookover of Cherry Hill East (51.21). Teaneck’s Arthur took his second title of the night home in the men’s 100 yard breaststroke in 56.70 in a tight finish against Scotch Plains Fanwood’s Chris Bondarowicz (56.89).
Mainland Regional’s men took home their second state title of the night and set a new state record in 3:05.33, five seconds ahead of second place Hillsborough’s men (3:10.51) and Cherry Hill East’s (3:10.64). Rogers, McGroarty, Glenn Lasco, and Liu came in on top and made school immortality.
That’s a wrap for New Jersey’s NJSIAA state championships, but stay tuned as we continue to cover the country’s high school and college meets. For now, you can check out the meet’s results here.