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Middletown South NJ Relay
May 29, 2018

Middletown South Girls Capture Pair Titles at Championship

By Les Pierce

Middletown South NJ Relay

Left to right: Danielle Smith, Madison Brand, Kathleen Shay and Ryanne Mulligan

The Middletown South girls track team came away from the Monmouth County Relay Championships held at Howell High School on May 3 with a pair of titles. Demonstrating a prowess for middle distance running that has been a South hallmark in recent years, the Eagles were victorious in the four by 800 meter relay and the distance medley relay.

Danielle “Dani” Smith led off the four by 800 and handed off the baton to Madison Brand in third place, 10 meters behind Rumson – Fair Haven and Matawan. Brand, last spring’s Monmouth County and NJSIAA State Sectional 800 meter champion, overtook the leaders after the first turn and drew off to a commanding lead.

Ryanne Mulligan and Kathleen Shay handled the third and fourth legs and increased the South advantage. The Eagles clocked in at 9:46.88 with Rumson – Fair Haven (9:56.87) and Matawan (9:58.38) picking up silver and bronze.

The distance medley is comprised of four legs of various distances, 1200, 400, 800 and 1600 meter segments in that order. Catherine Kratka joined the squad to provide the speed needed for the 400 meter segment. Brand handled the 1200 meter lead off leg to put South well in front early. Mulligan ran the 800 meter leg, and Shay finished the race with the anchor 1600. Middletown was timed at 12:41.81, well ahead of Rumson – Fair Haven (12:57.90) and Red Bank Catholic (13:11.50). Both performances by South are ranked in the top 20 statewide per

Head Coach Bill Clifton stated, “It was a powerful distance double by a strong core of our distance team. Each girl did their job on their leg of the relay to help the team pull away on both relays. It is truly inspiring to see them come through against such an incredibly talented Monmouth County. They help each other in workouts and look forward to competitions. The key for them is to keep fresh, motivated and enjoy the sport.  So far they have mastered all three.”