Craig Segal has now done it all. Brilliant throughout the 2001-02 year starting back in September with cross country, the Holmdel High School senior had won everything there is to win for a distance runner except a Meet of Champions title.

first_imgCraig Segal has now done it all. Brilliant throughout the 2001-02 year starting back in September with cross country, the Holmdel High School senior had won everything there is to win for a distance runner except a Meet of Champions title. FARRAH MAFFAI Raritan’s Kelly Robinson wins the javelin with a throw of 148-4 at the Meet of Champions at South Brunswick High School on June 5. He was beaten at the MOC cross country meet back in November and was denied by injury from competing indoors. Last Wednesday at South Brunswick High School, Segal put it all behind him, majestically winning the boys’ 3,200 meters at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Getting some help from Morristown’s Gray Reinhard, who broke the race open with a late-race surge, Segal comfortably won in 9:22.93. “It’s the pinnacle of my career,” said Segal, who was fourth in the 3,200 last year. “It’s what everyone dreams of when you start off running. “It was unbelievable, winning the Meet of Champions,” he added. “I was able to enjoy the last 100 meters in a Holmdel uniform.” FARRAH MAFFAI Matawan’s Erison Hurtault runs to a ninth-place finish in the 400 at the Meet of Champions. As is often the case in championship distance races, no one wanted to take the lead. The field remained bunched together, contenders and pretenders, playing a waiting game. An opening 4:41 mile hardly took the starch out of anyone. Finally, on the sixth lap, Reinhard shook things up, accelerating into the lead. It was the break Segal was looking for as he set out after Reinhard, and no one else went in pursuit. “It helped when Reinhard took the lead,” said Segal. “I knew someone would take it. I thought he went too early.” Segal chased down Reinhard with 600 meters remaining. By then, the two had opened up a big gap on the field. Segal would not have to worry about being under any pressure over the last lap of the race. He was clear of the field when he made his final push. “With 300 to go, everything clicked for the first time in my career,” said Segal. As a result, Segal’s final 100 meters provided him with a lifetime of memories as he was able to take it all in and appreciate the significance of his accomplishment, becoming the first Hornet to win an MOC crown. While Segal was bringing his successful scholastic career to a happy conclusion, Raritan’s Kelly Robinson continued her journey to the unknown. The Rocket junior joined Segal as the only other area athlete to win gold at the MOC, capturing the girls’ javelin throw. A year ago, Robinson was a “scared sophomore” competing in her first state championship. This year, she is perhaps, the best all-around thrower in the state qualifying in the shot put, discus and javelin. At the MOC she competed in only the javelin. While the discus is what got Robinson to South Brunswick last year, it was the javelin that has emerged has her best event. Robinson, better known for her exploits on the basketball hardwood, has quickly made her mark in track and field. She entered Wednesday’s competition with the best throw in the state (148-4) and the Central Jersey Group II and State Group II titles to her credit. She was the thrower everyone would be watching. Robinson quickly gave her opponents something to watch when she sent the spear 141-3 to take the lead. It was a mark that would hold up with Eastern’s Caitlin Cielo taking second at 140-1. Robinson’s teammate Amanda Harmata was eighth after a 124-10. Starting with the Monmouth County Championships and ending with the MOC, the junior went undefeated. Still relatively new to track and field, Robinson’s potential is enormous. It will be interesting to see what she does for an encore next spring. As of last week, her 148-4 was the fourth best throw in the country. Matawan’s Uzoma Orji completed one of the most distinguished throwing careers in history, medaling in two events. The Husky reached 62-9 1/5 in the shot put to finish second to three-time MOC champion Glenn DiGiorgio of Bayonne, who did 68-0 1/4, the best throw in the state this year. Orji was seventh in the discus (160-1) that went against to DiGiorgio (197-0). Orji has been overshadowed in his career by DiGiorgio and Monmouth Regional’s Adam Kuehl (discus) throughout out his career. But to put things in perspective, his season’s best shot put of 62-10 1/4 is the 11th best in the country this year. The Husky is not only one of the state’s best throwers, but one of the best in the country. Robert Scales of Middletown South was second in the javelin with a 187-8. The Eagle thrower was the top-seed, following his winning 191-9 at the Group III state championships. However, Jim Malizia of St. Joseph Regional (Montvale) picked the right time to uncork the year’s best throw, 203-7, which was more than enough to earn him gold. Scales also threw a season’s best. His previous best was 191-9. Holmdel’s Craig Percopo, the Monmouth County champion, was 11th (174-11). Christian Brothers Academy’s Jeff Peterson was fourth in the 1,600 (4:17.0), which went to favorite Marc Pelerin of Cherokee, who ran a sizzling last 400 to post the year’s best time, 4:12.74. Matawan’s ErisonHolmdel’s Segal, Raritan’s Robinson are state champions By tim morris Staff Writer Hurtault was ninth in the 400 meters (48.61). In the seldom-contested triple jump, CBA’s Devin Barry finished eighth (43-4 1/2). Middletown South’s Nicole Lombardy ran the final race of her career and made it a memorable one, running her best time of the spring, 11:00.47, and placing fifth in the 3,200. South’s 1,600-meter relay team of Lombardy, Lauren Dike, Tina Morrison and Kolleen McCauley just missed a sub-4:00 clocking posting a 4:00.21.last_img