You could see it on coach Scott Copperman's face Saturday afternoon.
Close is nice, but first is better.
West Milford put it all together, winning six events and scoring in
nine of the other 10, to capture its first Passaic County Relays boys
title since 1994 and erase the memory of two straight second-place
"It certainly feels good after a couple of very close calls,"
Copperman said. "We kept telling the kids that if they kept believing,
it would pay off. The window remained open for us."
The Highlanders, who dominated the hurdles races as expected, also
won the 1,600, 3,200, and the sprint medley. They did all that without
top distance runner Ryan Kenney, who was unavailable for the meet, and
added a share of first place in the high jump.
The only event in which they didn't score was the javelin. West
Milford finished with 96 points. Wayne Hills was second with 83, while
two-time defending champ Wayne Valley tied for third with Clifton at 56.
"You have to give credit to West Milford," Wayne Hills coach Ray
Riker said. "They are a very solid team."
"This is a tribute to the depth of our team," Copperman said. "There
was nobody out there who was really able to dominate the meet. We
expected to do well in the hurdles, but we had no letdown in anything
Matt Trudell led the charge for the Highlanders, running on the
1,600 team and the hurdles teams. He ran a sizzling 55.8 seconds in
Friday's 400 intermediate hurdles, the top time in the area this season,
and had a 15.4-second split in the shuttle hurdles.
"He just turned it up a notch," Copperman said.
Greg Weiss, a member of the intermediate hurdle team, also excelled
in the medleys. He ran a 2:04 split for the 800-meter anchor leg as the
Highlanders won the sprint medley in 3:46, nipping second-place Clifton
by a second at the line. He came back minutes later to run a 2:06 split
for the 800 on the distance medley as West Milford finished third behind
Clifton and Kennedy.
Wayne Hills, which has never won a Passaic Relays title, won three
events and scored in all but two despite being without top sprinter Mike
Pruzinsky, who is out with mononucleosis.
"It didn't affect us in the 4x100, which we won, but it hurt in the
4x200 and in the 4x400 where I had to use a freshman," Riker said.
"We're happy with the results. It was a close meet, and if we'd had
Mike, it would have been closer or we would have won."
Greg Olsen won two golds as a member of the 400 relay and the
javelin team, on which he combined with Edward Sisco to throw 298 feet,
9 inches. Jay Finkelstein ran a 2:02 split for 800 meters for the
third-place sprint medley and a 52.4 anchor leg for the second-place
The Hawthorne team of Casey Roberts, Andres Nuiver, Tom Lignal, and
Victor Patrocino won the 800 in 1:36.2, edging Passaic by one-tenth of a
second. Kennedy was third in 1:36.5.
Passaic won the shot and discus behind Jamaal Richardson and Richard
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