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Jun 06, 2022

RBC’s Cate DeSousa Claims Two County Track Crowns

By Les Pierce

Cate DeSousa wins the Monmouth County 1600-meter Championship. Giving chase are Lucy Afanasewicz (far left) and Tilly O’Connor.

Red Bank Catholic’s Cate DeSousa scored a major win on May 6, claiming the championship at the Holmdel Twilight Series – Night of 3,200s Meet. The annual invitational event draws premiere distance runners from all over the state. A total of 105 competitors participated in a series of heats. The Casey junior topped the field with a 10:25.54 clocking over the 3,200-meter distance.

The Monmouth County Championship was held the following week. The meet was conducted as a two-day tourney on May 11 and 13 at the Middletown High School North oval.

When DeSousa bypassed the 3,200 event and instead entered the 800- and 1,600-meter runs, it may have stirred curiosity among the competitors. It was, in fact, an opportunity for the Casey runner to demonstrate her versatility. She did indeed prove that she has a wide bandwidth of talent by claiming the title in both contests.

The 1,600 was conducted on day one of the meet. When the starting gun sounded, Middletown South’s Lucy Afanasewicz, the recently crowned A-North Division 1,600-meter champion, bolted to the front.  

The South senior set the pace for the first three laps with St. Rose’s Tilly O’Connor in close on her shoulder while DeSousa was parked in third place.

O’Connor rushed past the South runner at the beginning of bell lap in an attempt to steal the race. However, DeSousa accelerated on the back straightaway and overtook the leader going into the final turn, and then charged with authority over the final 100 meters.  

The winner was timed at 4:53.26. O’Connor finished second (4:56.08), with Afanasewicz (4:56.28) just a step behind in third.

Two days later, the Casey runner faced a greater challenge moving down to the shorter distance of 800 meters. In addition, she was facing Shore Regional’s Caroline Donohoe, the 2021 Shore Conference, Group I CJ State Sectional and overall NJSIAA Group I 800-meter champion.

As expected, the pair dueled in lockstep for the entirety of the race. DeSousa was again strong in the stretch run and pulled away for the victory with a 2:12.88 clocking. She finished nearly a full second over the University of Richmond-bound Donohoe, who crossed the line at 2:13.86. Afanasewicz (2:15.14) finished third.

“Cate’s wins at the Counties were tremendous, especially coming off her huge 10:25 3200 win at the Holmdel Twilight meet last Friday,” stated RBC Coach Rob DeFilippis.

Jaidin Haynes spearheaded the RBC boys’ squad, claiming a gold medal in the long jump with a leap of 22-05.50. He also placed third in the 100-meter dash. Patrick Coyle earned a bronze in the 800-meter run.