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Matt Sapienza
Jul 05, 2018

Holmdel Hurdler Sapienza Captures County Title

By Les Pierce

Matt Sapienza Holmdel

Matt Sapienza winning the Monmouth County 110-meter hurdle championship.

The winter indoor season may have been clouded with frustration for Holmdel hurdler Matt Sapienza. The senior Hornet was competitive and finishing close to the leaders, but failed to find a win in any of the major meets. He was third in the Monmouth Showcase, second in the Monmouth County Championships, and fourth in the Shore Conference Championships.

He posted the third best qualifying time in the SCTA Last Chance Meet and qualified for the finals at the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 2 State Sectional Championships, but failed to medal while finishing just three-tenths of a second behind the winner.

The trend continued this spring in the first test of the season, the Rebel Relays contested on March 31. Sapienza settled for third place in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles at this venue.

However, in April, he orchestrated a turnabout. On April 7, he was victorious at the Rocket Relays, winning the 400-meter intermediate hurdles by just inches over Rey Torres of New Providence. Eleven days later he won the 110-meter hurdles at the A-Central Divisional Championship. Then on April 28, he took gold in the 110-meter hurdles at the Lion Invitation with a 15.16 clocking.

On May 11, Holmdel hosted the Monmouth County Championships, perhaps a source of pressure for the Hornet senior performing before the hometown crowd. Sapienza posted the best time of 15.20 in the 110-meter hurdle preliminary heats in a field of 45, with the top eight advancing to the final.

In the final, he cleared the hurdles well and established a personal record of 14.89 as he captured the title. It was the first time in his career that he broke through the 15-second barrier. Ocean Township’s Najib Assadullah finished second, stopping the timer at 15.24 and Justin McMillian (15.47) of Matawan clinched the bronze medal. It appears that for Matt, elation may have displaced frustration.