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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Jan 17, 2020

Runners Squash Records, Qualify for Championships at Monmouth County Relays

By Tim Morris

Lilly Shapiro anchored Colts Neck’s meet record-setting Distance Medley Relay team at the Monmouth County Relay Championships.

Colts Neck High School runners thought it was too early in the indoor track and field season for records.

In just their second outing of the season and first relay effort, Colts Neck’s girls captured the Distance Medley Relay (DMR) in meet-record time, 12:28.28, at the Monmouth County Relays on Jan. 10 in the Bennett Indoor Complex at Toms River.

In addition to being a meet record, the mark was the fastest time at that point in the state in 2020.

“We just wanted to run our best and see what we could,” said sophomore Lilly Shapiro, who ran the 1,600-meter anchor leg. “It was our first time running the relay. I was shocked we ran so well.”

Also stunned was Lilly’s sister, Natalie Shapiro, who ran the opening 1,200 leg.

“I was pleasantly surprised [by the time],” said the Cougar senior, who is headed to Dartmouth College next fall. “I was happy with how we performed. Coach [Jim Schlentz] told me to hand the baton off in first place.”

Natalie did just that, splitting 3:45.4 and then spent the rest of the race watching her Cougars teammates stay in front.

Kelsey Nager split 63.8 for her 400-meter leg, and Ava Wilmot ran her 800 in 2:29.5.

Handed a lead for the anchor 1,600, Lilly knew her role.

“All I had to do was maintain the lead or build it up,” she said.

She added to the lead, clocking 5:09.6 for her 1,600, stopping the clock almost a full 10 seconds up on their rivals from cross country, Middletown South (12:38.04).

Beating South, which won the NJSIAA Meet of Champions Cross Country Championship over the Cougars in the fall, made the victory and record a little sweeter.

“It’s always a big motivation [competing against South],” said Natalie Shapiro. “We’re such good friends. When we race, we want to beat them, and when it’s over, we’re friends again.”

While the Cougars’ state-leading DMR highlighted the county relays, it wasn’t the only record of the night.

Rumson-Fair Haven’s stable of sprinters, led by Lily Orr, also set a meet record, winning the 4×200 in 1:46.68.

Eva Farr, Marlee Dotts and Chloe Dotts ran the first three legs, and Orr brought it home.

Rumson’s girls edged Howell for the team championship, 38-35, while CBA rolled up 81 points en route to another county championship.

Red Bank Catholic girls turned in a quick 4×800 (9:33.57) that will get them to the Penn Relays in the spring. Maddy Kopec anchored the winning team that included Gioanna Curci, Cate DeSousa and Julianne Kopec.

Christian Brothers Academy’s Shaw Powell has qualified to run in the Millrose Games in the Boys High School Mile.

Besides the relay championship, CBA had another winner in Shaw Powell.

Powell qualified to run in the prestigious Millrose Games, the biggest indoor track and field meet in the nation, in the Boys High School Mile.

The Colt senior punched his entry into the Feb. 8 meet at the Armory Track in NYC by winning the Millrose Games Trials’ mile run. Powell won a tactical race in 4:23.26 by scorching the last 400 meters in 57.8.

This is the second straight year a CBA miler is headed to the Millrose Games. Last year, it was Tim McInerney.