By TOM WILLIAMS
Ocean City High School has had a strong history in track and field.
For the boys it goes back into the 1930s, when John Carey won all three throwing events in the state meet. There was Archie Harris, an Olympic quality athlete, plus Andy Jernee, John Henry, Leon Brown, John Richardson, Mike Stockley and Brett Johnson, to name a few.
The girls didn’t start until the 1980s but have produced such outstanding athletes as Renee Tomlin, Kellie Adams, Missy Wildman, Shelley Solheim, Carla Roberts, Megan Hartman, Mandi Wolicki and Devon Grisbaum over the last 35 years.
This spring the OCHS boys finished 7-1 in dual meets, finishing second to Egg Harbor Township in the Cape-Atlantic League’s American Conference. They won the Cape May County Meet, were second in the Bridgeton Relays, third at Woodbury and sixth in South Jersey Group 3.
The girls were 5-2, finishing third in the conference. They also won the county meet, were third at Bridgeton, sixth at Woodbury and finished eighth in South Jersey Group 3.
The biggest difference between the teams is what will be returning in 2019.
Veteran boys coach Matt Purdue (55-35-2 in 11 seasons) has won the county meet all 11 years and finished in the top three in South Jersey Group 3 each of the last three seasons. Only Wayne Colman (153) and Ted Klepac (71) have won more dual meets at OCHS.
But when you look at the top performers on this year’s team, many of them accepted diplomas on Monday.
Sprinters Sean Zellers and Josh Rolls graduated. Rolls, who tied the school record in the 100 meters as a sophomore, only ran in two meets this year because of injury. Middle distance runner and hurdler Matt Zelinski is on to college; so are distance runners P.J. Short, Jesse Schmeizer and Korey Greene. Jumper Liam Bergman, pole vaulter Nick Oteri and throwers Jim Rice and Keith Larkin were all seniors this year. Plus Cian O’Donoghue and Chris Bailey.
Purdue will go into next year with sprinter Kevin King, distance runner Anthony Conte, thrower Jacob Hoffman and jumper Jaden Tocci-Rogers back from this year’s list of top performers. There are also sprinter Elijah Cochran; distance runners Luke Kramer, Tyler Greene, Frank Fabi and Steven Gooden; vaulter Aidan Pearce; and throwers Dan Auberzinsky, Brad Jamison, Austin Green and Mike Rhodes – a group of guys hoping to make good use of their opportunities next year.
But Tim Cook, who took over as girls head track coach this spring, loses just two athlete from the top performers – middle distance runner Mickey Baker, a versatile athlete and intense competitor. And distance runner Alexa Weber, who completed a great career. Also graduated are Amanda Schmid and Kilie Wyers.
Returning is sprinter and jumper Sophia Gresham, who set a new school record in the long jump. The old mark was set by Kellie Adams 24 years ago. Distance runner Alexa Palmieri had a great freshmen year in three sports and should be one of the CAL’s best the next three seasons.
Key athletes also back for Cook in 2019 will be middle distance runner Grace Burke; distance runner Casey McLees; hurdler Mackenzie Matura; throwers Patricia Bachleda, Amanda Allen and Jade Phelps; jumper Emma Sacco; and vaulter Kamryn Chisholm. And there are more – sprinters Tori Rolls, Aila Troxel and Allison Wiltshire; middle distance runners Erin Hanlon, Brooke Farr and Megan Gereaghty; hurdlers Morgan Krier and Sarah Burgos; and thrower Gabby Hart.
It looks like track and field at OCHS is doing just fine.
Coming this weekend – a look at 2018 OCHS baseball and softball.
OCHS Boys Track – Best of 2018
100m: Kevin King – 11.00
200m: Sean Zellers – 23.40
400m: Matt Zelinski – 49.80
800m: P.J. Short – 1:58.49
1600m: Jesse Schmeizer – 4:27.36
3200m: Anthony Conte – 10:06.83
110m Hurdles: Kevin King – 14.89
400m Hurdles: Matt Zelinski – 55.42
Discus: Jacob Hoffman – 107-4
Javelin: Keith Larkin – 147-7
Shot Put: Jim Rice – 48-0
High Jump: Liam Bergman – 6-0
High Jump: Jaden Tocci-Rogers – 6-0
Long Jump: Liam Bergman – 21-1.5
Triple Jump: Liam Bergman – 43-9.75
Pole Vault: Nick Oteri – 11-6
4x100m: Cian O’Donoghue, Josh Rolls, Matt Zelinski, Kevin King – 43.66
4x400m: Sean Zellers, Liam Bergman, Louis Conte, Matt Zelinski – 3:22.97
4x800m: P.J. Short, Korey Greene, Luke Kramer, Jesse Schmeizer – 8:00.65
OCHS Girls Track – Best of 2018
100m: Sophia Gresham – 12.75
200m: Sophia Gresham – 26.99
400m: Grace Burke – 1:01.54
800m: Mickey Baker – 2:25.50
1600m: Alexa Palmieri – 5:07.42
3200m: Alexa Palmieri – 11:15.24
100m Hurdles: Mackenzie Matura – 16.18
400m Hurdles: Mackenzie Matura – 1:10.76
Discus: Patricia Bachleda – 76-0
Javelin: Amanda Allen – 108-03.75
Shot Put: Jade Phelps – 28-5.25
High Jump: Emma Sacco – 5-0
Long Jump: Sophia Gresham – 18-2
Triple Jump: Emma Sacco – 34-5.50
Pole Vault: Kamryn Chisholm – 7-0
4x100m: Mackenzie Matura, Amanda Schmid, Aila Troxel, Sophia Gresham – 50.62
4x400m: Erin Hanlon, Megan Gereaghty, Nicole Rhodes, Grace Burke – 4:15.64
4x800m: Alexa Weber, Brooke Farr, Erin Hanlon, Mickey Baker – 9:57.22