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Track and Field Preview: Group 3 Championships

Katie Mullaney

Katie Mullaney

Jeremy Lesserson, Sports Writer

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What: NJSIAA Group 3 Track Championships

Where: Northern Burlington Regional High School in Columbus, NJ

When: Starting Friday and until the end of Saturday

Who: Pascack Valley’s participants are Jeff Roberts (Sr.), Nick Battista (Sr.), Leo Dennis (Fr.), Ashley Evans (Sr.), and Melissa Purcell (Jr.). Let’s take a brief look at each PV competitor’s prospects.

At stake: A top six finish in each event qualifies those respective competitors for the State Meet of Champions

Roberts: The University of Iowa commit is racing in two different events.

  • 1600: With the ninth spot in this one, Roberts is on the upper half of his competition. The top two spots are occupied by Teddy Meredith of Hopewell Valley and Elliot Gindi of Ocean Township. Roberts finished second in the sectionals last weekend.  Last year at the Group 3 Championship, he finished 5th, while Gindi finished second.
  • 800: Roberts is ranked fifth heading into the 800.  Last weekend at the North 1, Group 3 sectional meet, Roberts finished second to Morris Hills’ Alexander Pai. Pai is ranked second for the Group 3 Championship.

Battista: This week’s Athlete of the Week, the senior discus thrower placed fourth in sectionals this year, which led to his No. 19 seed in Groups. The top three finishers above him were Tyler Fenske, Connor Newman, and Brendan Lugo Perez. They are respectively ranked at 6, 10, and 15. Battista participated in groups last year and finished 11th, but did not move on to states. 

Dennis: The only underclassman competing for PV this year, Dennis is tied for 13th in his competition. He ranked third at the sectionals behind Northern Highlands’ Tim Delorenzo and Old Tappan’s Kyle Shine, both upperclassmen. Delorenzo is tied for second while Shine is tied for eighth.   

Evans: Evans is competing in the 1600 meter run and is ranked at a two-way tie at 21st. She claimed fifth in sectionals last week. Caroline O’Sullivan, Anna George, Corinne Barney, and Taylor Domico were all ahead of her. All four girls are placed within the top 20 in this race (O’Sullivan; 5, Anna George; 14, Corrine Barney; 16, Taylor Domico; 18). Evans competed in the group tournament last year in the 1600 and placed 7th, with a time of 11:20.39. 

Purcell: Purcell is tied for first in her group with Old Tappan’s Ariana Cavalli. Both are juniors, but only Purcell was in the same competition last year. She placed fourth last year, including a finish behind first-placed Brittney Raffo. Raffo is currently below Purcell and tied for third with another face from last year, Jessica Ippolito. Purcell has a very good shot if she keeps these three competitors at a distance. Purcell competed last year as well, and did really well, placing 3rd with a height of 11 feet 6 inches. With her performance, she advanced on to the state tournament. 

Note: Each category of competition has 24 competitors

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Track and Field Preview: Group 3 Championships