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 read more

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Sports Shorts

first_imgMonmouth University goalie Melissa Katz stopped all but one for the Hawks field hockey team (0- 4) as they lost an overtime match, 1-0, with the West Chester Rams (2-1) on Sunday afternoon at So Sweet A Cat Field.Katz stayed strong between the pipes in just over 75 minutes before Kristen Foore put away a mini breakaway flick shot to the far post for the visiting Rams to seal the victory for West Chester. Just before regulation, Katz made a sliding save with her right leg with 3:50 left in the second half to push the game into overtime.Katz wasn’t alone on the defense effort for the Hawks, though. The Blue and White’s defenders stuck together to stop 17 Rams corners on the afternoon.”It’s a disappointing loss after we played a very strong first half,” said Hawks head coach Carli Figlio. “We have to learn how to play a full game and finish in the attacking zone.”Despite being outshot 8-0 and losing the corner advantage 17-4, the Hawks’ defense stepped up to prove that the Blue and White’s team defense is remaining solid through each game. Junior defender Sarah Keppel made her first career stick defensive save in the second half to anchor another solid effort by the young defense.With the loss, the Hawks drop to 0-4 on the season, having lost three out of four games by one goal.The Blue and White will be looking to put a notch in the win category this Saturday as they travel to Vermont to take on Maine University in the Catamount Classic Tournament at 2 p.m.last_img read more

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Jersey Shore Roller Girls’ home opener is Saturday

first_img The Jersey Shore Roller Girls All-Stars will face off against the Dutchland Blitz roller derby team at the JSRG All-Stars’ first home bout of the 2010 season on Saturday. The JSRG All-Stars travel team is undefeated thus far, having beaten the Harrisburg Area Roller Derby and Long Island Roller Rebels on the road. Now JSRG will get to play before its hometown fans on Saturday at Asbury Park’s legendary Convention Hall when they take on the Lancaster County Dutchland Blitz. The two teams will be meeting for the first time ever on July 24. Roller Derby action isn’t the only thing that will be served up, though. As always, the Jersey Shore Roller Girls — a roller derby league representing Monmouth, Ocean and northern Atlantic counties — have partnered with a charity for this bout. Clean Ocean Action will be on hand during the bout to educate attendees about what they can do to protect the ocean — while mere feet away from the Atlantic Ocean itself. Convention Hall overlooks the ocean and is on the boardwalk in Asbury Park. Clean Ocean Action works to improve the water quality along the Jersey Shore and north to New York maritime waters. The roller derby bout itself should prove to be another exciting evening of women’s flat-track roller derby. Roller derby is the newest extreme sport for women that is capturing the country’s attention. Roller derby has been revamped into a flat-track version of the old-school style of a bank track. Jersey Shore Roller Girls, a league that was formed three years ago, skates under the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association rules and regulations. Doors open at 7 p.m. Saturday with roller derby action starting at 8. Tickets are $20 at the door, $15 with military identification, and $5 for children. To buy tickets online, visit www.jerseyshorerollergirls.net. For more information about the Jersey Shore Roller Girls, visit www.jerseyshorerollergirls. net or email info@jerseyshorerollergirls. net At Asbury Park’s Convention Hall last_img read more

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Photo

first_imgThe Brookdale Community College women’s softball team celebrate a home win during the regular season as they set a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III record for wins in a season with 59 this spring. The Jersey Blues finished second at the recent NJCAA National Championship in Rochester, Minn. Brookdale completed the season with a 59-5 record. STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER ERIC SUCARlast_img

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Sectional champ Warner to run mile in Millrose Games

first_imgBy TIM MORRIS Staff Writer This year’s NJSIAA Central Jersey championships took on an added importance to Holmdel High School’s Marin Warner.For track and field athletes, the state sectionals are the first step toward the Meet of Champions (MOC). However, for Warner, the Central Jersey Group II meet on Jan. 31 would be her final NJSIAA meet of the year. That’s because the Hornets’ junior was invited to run the Girls High School Mile in the Millrose Games at the New Balance Armory on Feb. 15 the same day as the state Group II Championships. Because of the scheduling conflict, Warner had to choose between the state meet and Millrose.“It was a big decision,” she said. “It was very difficult. I really wanted to run the MOC and groups.“Millrose is such a big meet,” she continued. “It’s an honor to be invited to such a prestigious meet. I’m excited to be going.” Having made the tough decision to go to Millrose, the sectional meet at the John Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex became her state championship.Running with a purpose, Warner won the 1,600-meter race in a swift 4:55.09, a new personal best to accomplish her goal of breaking 5:00 during the indoor season. She came back to win the 800 in another personal best of 2:16.04. Both marks are also Holmdel school records.Coming off her finest cross-country season, Warner continued to use the same approach to her training for the indoor campaign.“I tried to continue the same training as cross-country, and I added more speed,” she said.Warner noted that she was “shocked” when the Millrose invite came out. She had finished fourth in a qualifying mile and figured that it wasn’t good enough. But her time of 5:01 for the full mile turned out to be fast enough to get her into the Millrose field.As to her approach to Millrose, Warner said, “I’m going to try and get a personal best and be competitive in the race.” Central Jersey Group II A number of other area athletes captured sectional titles at the Jan. 31 meet in Toms River. Matawan Regional High School’s Nicole Macco won the pole vault (10-6), and teammate Sam Anderson took the 400 (58.85) in Central Jersey Group II.On the boys side in Central Jersey Group II, Holmdel’s Nick Demaio (4:28.34) and Dan Barlev (9:51.26) won the 1,600 and 3,200 races, respectively, and Matawan’s Matt Isaacson was first in the pole vault (14-0).last_img read more

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Del Potro sinks Nadal to set up final with Djokovic

first_imgBy Pritha Sarkar and Patrick JohnstonRafa Nadal failed to reach a final for only the second time during his incredible 2013 season after being blown off court by Argentine whirlwind Juan Martin Del Potro at the Shanghai Masters on Saturday.The Spaniard had been hoping to celebrate his return to the top of the world rankings this week by setting up a final showdown for the second time in as many weeks with chief rival Novak Djokovic.But Nadal, one of the fastest athletes on the tour, found himself outpaced 6-2 6-4 after a breathtaking semi-final display of power and touch by the 2009 U.S. Open champion.Serb Djokovic continued his love affair with the hard courts of China as he swotted aside the challenge of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2 7-5.The defending champion stretched his unbeaten run in China to 19 matches by overcoming Frenchman Tsonga.Del Potro’s 1.98-metre frame usually prevents him from threatening Nadal’s unshakeable ability to run the ball down at every corner of the court and the Spaniard’s 8-3 head-to-head record before the semi-final bore testament to that.On Saturday though Del Potro barely allowed Nadal, winner of 10 titles this year, a chance as he raced into a 4-0 lead in the first set before bagging it with a scorching ace.Nadal thought he had broken for the first time to level at 2-2 in the second but Hawkeye disagreed and from then on the world’s best player was chasing shadows as Del Potro produced one of the best performances of his career.The Spaniard fired a service return long on match point to hand a jubilant Del Potro his first win over Nadal since 2009.The result condemned French and U.S. Open champion Nadal to his earliest defeat since a shock first-round exit from Wimbledon in June, the only other time this year he failed to reach the final of an event he had featured in.Djokovic lost the world number one ranking to Nadal last week despite beating the Spaniard in the final of the China Open to claim his fourth Beijing title in five years.The Serb could add another Chinese title to his name after another slick display of returning in Shanghai heaped too much pressure on Tsonga who unravelled with 35 unforced errors.The world number two and Australian Open champion was quick out of the blocks, racing into a 3-0 lead after breaking Tsonga to love in his opening service game.The Frenchman looked like dropping another service game but some heavy hitting helped him get on the board before a sumptuous backhand crosscourt resulted in him breaking Djokovic in the next.That was as good as it got for Tsonga who is in a close race to grab one of the last remaining places at the ATP Tour Finals in London next month.Djokovic claimed the next three games to wrap up the set as Tsonga’s first serve percentage fell to 46, coupled with 14 unforced errors in comparison to just four by the Serb.A change of shirt and a renewed focus helped Tsonga stay on terms at the start of the second set before another misplaced volley handed Djokovic a break and a 4-2 lead.The Frenchman broke back immediately as Djokovic returned to his chair to scream at the umpire after a couple of late calls by a line judge.The Serb regained his composure and the set looked to be heading for a tiebreak with Tsonga serving at 5-6 before Djokovic raised his game once more.Tsonga saved one match point with a booming forehand before wasting the chance to force a tiebreak and Djokovic made him pay as he sealed victory at the second attempt with a powerful winner down the line.last_img read more

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Men’s hockey giants hit ice in Sochi, Russia’s Plushenko pulls out

first_imgBy Mike Collett-WhiteIce hockey mania swept the Winter Olympics on Thursday as the heavyweight men’s teams Canada, the United States and hosts Russia played their opening round games in a competition generating more excitement than any other in Sochi.Underlining the sport’s popularity in Russia, and how dearly the home nation would love to win the final held on the last day of the Games, over 10,000 flag-waving fans roared on the men in red to a 5-2 win over Slovenia at the gleaming Bolshoy Ice Dome.The United States, silver medallists at the Vancouver Games four years ago, laid down a marker by thumping Slovakia 7-1, and defending champions Canada open the defence of their Olympic title against Norway in the day’s late match.But at another venue in Sochi’s Olympic park a few hundred metres away, the news was not so happy for the home fans.Russia’s Yevgeny Plushenko, figure skating’s ultimate showman who helped the hosts to gold in the team event on Sunday, pulled out of the men’s individual event just seconds before he was to start his short programme.Away from the drama, athletes contested six Olympic titles on the sixth full day of competition at the Feb. 7-23 Games.In the Caucasus mountains, high above the action in the resort town of Sochi, Joss Christensen of the United States won the inaugural men’s freestyle skiing slopestyle.Gus Kenworthy took silver and Nick Goepper the bronze in a U.S. podium sweep, taking pressure off a team that some domestic media had begun to question as it languished well down the medals leaderboard.“I am shocked. I am stoked to be up here with my friends. America, we did it!” said Christensen, after another bumper crowd at the Extreme Park saw the skiers push their acrobatic routines to the limits.In the women’s cross-country 10km classic, several athletes wore sleeveless tops as temperatures touched 13C in bright sunshine and contestants complained of tough conditions.Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk powered to victory, but Russian Natalia Zhukova, who finished seventh, told reporters: “It’s the first time of my life that I race in such warm weather.”In the latest weather-related disruption, practice for the men’s freestyle skiing aerials event was cancelled because of unseasonably high temperatures.But organisers played down concerns about the quality of the snow that many athletes have described as slushy and difficult, and which may explain some of the crashes in disciplines ranging from slopestyle to cross country.“It is a constant battle for winter sports,” said Mark Adams, International Olympic Committee spokesman. “We are relaxed but we watch the situation.”Also in the mountains, France’s Martin Fourcade won the men’s biathlon 20km individual gold medal.Back in Sochi, Li Jianrou avoided an early pile-up to win the women’s 500 metres short track speed skating, extending China’s winning streak at the distance to a fourth Winter Games.The 27-year-old first-time Olympian described it as “a miracle”.Compatriot Zhang Hong claimed the women’s 1,000m speed skating title at the Adler Arena, beating pre-race favourites Heather Richardson and Brittany Bowe of the United States.In the sliding disciplines, a track worker was struck by a bobsleigh and suffered two broken legs, IOC President Thomas Bach told Reuters.In the last event of the day, the inaugural team relay looks destined to be won by luge powerhouse Germany.Germany are already top of the medals table with six golds, ahead of Canada, the Netherlands, Norway and the United States on four. Russia are seventh with two.For Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has staked his legacy on holding a successful Games, the ultimate sporting dream would be the men’s ice hockey gold.Before that can happen, Russia meets the United States on Saturday in a contest that is sure to stir memories of the “Miracle on Ice” at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Games.Thirty-four years ago, a group of American college players beat the then Soviet Union’s “Big Red Machine” 4-3 in a mismatch of David and Goliath proportions.The Cold War climate that then prevailed may have thawed, but Putin has conjured the frosty relations of the time to describe Western criticism of his human rights record, and allegations of corruption connected with the Games, which have marred the buildup.Putin has dismissed charges of widespread corruption, which were levelled at organisers and politicians after the estimated costs reached $51 billion, making them the most expensive Olympics ever held.Officials dispute the figure, and say that many of the huge construction projects associated with Sochi will help turn the area into an international sports centre of the future.They hope one of the main lasting legacies will be a Formula One racetrack being laid in and around the Olympic park, which is scheduled to be ready for Russia’s Grand Prix on Oct. 12.But Sergei Kolesnikov, a Russian biophysicist who campaigns to expose what he says is major corruption in the country, said during a visit to Washington this week that Sochi may not end up as the triumph Putin hopes it will be.“I think underneath the Olympics drives many Russians crazy because the standard of life is decreasing,” he said.“Everyone is going to look back from this and remember only that $52 billion were thrown away for nothing … Everybody knows how much money was stolen to make the Olympics happen, so what should we be proud of?”last_img read more

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Greek Cup game abandoned after pitch invasion

first_imgThe Greek Cup quarter-final between AEK Athens and Olympiakos Piraeus was abandoned after a pitch invasion by supporters on Wednesday as the country’s turbulent soccer season continued.A group of around 20 AEK fans ran on to the pitch and threw objects at players and police moments after their team fell 1-0 down in the second leg to Franco Jara’s 89th-minute goal for Olympiakos.The Olympiakos players immediately left the pitch and were soon followed by the match officials and AEK players as police moved in to restore order.Just over half an hour later officials announced that the game would not resume and Olympiakos will progress to the semi-finals automatically.The Greek Super League resumed only last weekend with matches played behind closed doors following a one-week suspension due to persistent crowd trouble.AEK, who lead Greece’s second tier, now face the threat of a three-point deduction which is the disciplinary penalty for a game being abandoned due to a pitch invasion.A capacity crowd of 65,000 packed into the Olympic Stadium for the derby, the first high-profile match watched by fans since the Super League resumed last weekend with games played behind closed doors.The league was suspended on Feb. 26 due to persistent crowd trouble and after a Super League board meeting ended in a brawl.Greece’s recently-elected Syriza ruling party has said it is determined to stamp out soccer crowd violence.last_img read more

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Baghdatis on a roll as he reaches Nottingham semi-finals

first_imgMarcos Baghdatis beat Italy’s Simon Bolleli in straight sets on Thursday afternoon to reach the last four of the Aegon Open in Nottingham.The Cypriot broke once in each set to register a comprehensive 6-4 6-4 victory and he will now face Denis Istomin in the semis on Friday after the Uzbek overcame Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer in three tough sets.Baghdatis has been in good form on the grass courts this week, having beaten top seed David Ferrer on Tuesday – his first win over a Top 10 player for more than two years.And the 30-year-old, a runner-up in the Australian Open in 2006, believes there is still more to come from him.“My form has been pretty good up until this point. Everything is simple in my head and I am feeling great,” he told the Nottingham Post newspaper.“On grass it is tough to beat me for sure. I love playing in England, I love the surface and I played well before here.“It’s going to be hard to beat me, but it will also be hard to win.“There are some great players. Every match is very close. It’s the lucky man or the better player who wins.“I’m enjoying myself on tour again. There is still something in me, I’m trying to improve every single day and there is a lot more to come from me.”last_img read more

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Putin says Russia needs own investigation into doping allegations

first_imgBy Denis Dyomkin in Sochi and Vladimir SoldatkinPresident Vladimir Putin said Russia needed to conduct its own investigation into allegations its athletes had systematically taken performance-enhancing substances and that someone needed to take personal responsibility for the problem.Putin, in his first comments since an independent commission from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) levelled its accusations, said Russia needed to cooperate with international organisations looking into the issue as openly as it could.“I ask the minister of sport and all our colleagues who are linked in one way or another with sport to pay this issue the greatest possible attention,” Putin said ahead of a meeting with sports officials in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.“It is essential that we conduct our own internal investigation and provide the most open — and I want to underline — the most open professional cooperation with international anti-doping structures.”A judo black belt, Putin, who has built much of his own image on Russia’s sporting prowess, said the problem of doping was not only confined to Russia, but said his country had a duty to protect its athletes from banned substances.“The battle must be open. A sporting contest is only interesting when it is honest,” said Putin, adding that if problems were found someone would have to personally assume responsibility for the issue.last_img read more

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