Coming off of an impressive second-place performance at last Sunday’s NJSIAA Group I Relays, the Metuchen High School boys track team is thinking bigger.
The Bulldogs collected 26 points at the meet, just 12 fewer than champion Pleasantville, thanks in part to their 4×400 squad of Aaron Lewis, Julian Lenartowicz, Ivan Gulyaev and Travone Latouche, which placed second with a time of 3:31.42. That foursome consists of one senior in Lewis, who runs leadoff, and three juniors, which sets Metuchen up to be reckoned with the next few seasons.
“Going into that event, we thought we had a chance to win it,” Lewis said. “Everyone gave their best effort and stepped up and ran their best. But we had some tired legs and we knew we had some stiff competition.”
Pleasantville’s 4×400 team finished less than a second-and-a-half ahead of Metuchen, something head coach Marty Holleran was proud of.
“I thought we had a great meet,” Holleran said. “The kids stepped up and had a great day overall. We were down a couple kids who were sick, so that hurt us a little bit, but I wouldn’t say that we’re disappointed at all about our outcome.”
Holleran has high hopes for his squad, but knows that the biggest event is still to come — the Greater Middlesex Conference Championship, scheduled for Jan. 26 (9 a.m.) at Toms River’s Bennett Center.
“We have high expectations every time we go to a track meet and the GMC meet is important,” Holleran said. “But, the state sectionals is more important to us; we are trying to go back and win again on February 6. Our main goal is the sectionals, yet in the GMCs we’ll be looking to get some kids to medal and the 4×400 race is important to our program, so that’s the one we’ll focus on most.”
Lewis echoed his coaches’ words, saying that he’s looking forward to running in that 4×400 event more than any of the others.
“I ran last year and we came out third, and I would like to come out as a county champ this time around,” Lewis said. “As a team, I feel like we can medal; we have good runners across the board and we want to compete our hardest. Whatever happens, happens. If we compete hard, good things will happen.”