BY TRISTAN PANDAY
The winter track season has featured numerous standout performances by individuals and relay groups. This year, the boys and girls winter track teams have earned top spots and recognition at GMC Relays, the Rebel Shot/Jump Series, the Midwinter Classic, and GMC Championships.
At the GMC Relays on January 7, Nigel Boboli, Byron Forson, Muhammed Ziyad, and Owen Zapanta took first place in the Sprint Medley. “It was truly a surreal feeling,” said senior Nigel Boboli. “I knew that going into this race I had the ability to close it out for my relay team and the victory. My teammates set me up in a great position to win by running excellent legs as well.”
On the girls team, Alexandria Lau and Kennedy Harden won the High Jump at the GMC Relays. “Winning felt really rewarding. Lexi and I have both been doing high jump for a few years now, and we always try to perform our best at meets,” said senior Kennedy Harden. “Being able to secure a win was something we were aiming for, and Lexi and I were happy to accomplish it.”
Two weeks later, at the GMC Championships, Victoria Botte, Emily Walz, Alyssa Garron, and Gianna Tuso finished first in the 4×800. According to senior Emily Walz, the team won by “just working on chasing after the first-place person because we weren’t in first place the entire time.” In the end, their determination paid off.
Emmanuel Owusu achieved a leap of 43-9.25 in the Triple Jump at the Rebel Shot/Jump Series on January 10. “[The] hardest challenge was beating myself,” explained Owusu-Ansah, a senior. “I faced a lot of great jumpers, but no one pushes you other than yourself. If you can’t work hard to beat yourself, then you’re doing it for nothing.”
Owusu-Ansah’s jump is the eight best jump in the entire state this year. “I felt excited. I knew I had potential to go far this year, and I proved that day that I was hungry for that number one spot,” added Owusu.
On January 17, freshman Victoria Botte finished first in the 1600 in the MidWinter Classic with a time of 5:46:12. “It’s really a mental game and making sure you push yourself through it,” explained Botte. “Especially on the last lap to not give up and realize all the hard work and dedication you put into practice and that it is all worth it in the end.”
Botte continued her success with her relay partner Gianna Tuso in the 800m at the GMC Championships where the boys, including Peter Afoakwah, Owen Zapanta, David Keefe, and Nigel Boboli, took second place in the 4×400 with a time of 3:34:22. “I felt great. It was my second medal this season,” explained junior Peter Afoakwah.
Next up for this group of outstanding athletes and their teammates is the Central Jersey Group IV Sectionals this Saturday at the Bennett Center in Toms River.
Posted on 2/8/23
Photos by Ritee Karmacharya and Lors Photography