Pingry’s Parsons wins high jump at track finals

Despite stepping onto the field at the NJSIAA Track & Field Group Championships for the first time, The Pingry School’s Libby Parsons didn’t let inexperience slow her down in the high jump.

The sophomore, who said she’s only been jumping this season, was the only competitor to clear 5-3 on Friday afternoon at South Plainfield’s Frank Jost Field, taking first place in the Non-Public B field and earning a spot in next Wednesday’s Meet of Champions.

“This is my first year doing high jump; the goal for me was to get 5-2 so this was a really big deal for me. I didn’t think I was going to get it, so it’s pretty exciting for me,” Parsons said.

Parsons, who said she was a little nervous before jumping on Friday, mentioned that her teammates have been very supportive of her since joining the squad this year.

“They’ve been so great with me and I’m excited to keep going; being my first year, I was a little nervous, but I think I can improve,” she said. “I just have to stay focused and just jump my best on Wednesday.”

Pingry’s 4×800-relay team of Sara Gagnon, Emma Palmer, Ellen Li and Anna Butrico took home first place with a time of 10:07.99, nearly 10 seconds better than second-place Newark Academy.

Palmer, a sophomore, paced the Big Blue with a split of 2:26, followed by Gagnon, a senior at 2:30. Butrico, another senior, finished her split at 2:33 and freshman Ellen Li turned in a 2:36.

“Sara and I are graduating seniors and neither of us are running in college, so we see the team as more important than our individual times,” Butrico said. “We have a freshman in Ellen, so we want to show her the Meet of Champions the right way next week, and we have super star in Emma over here, who’s going to pack it in and bring it home for us.”

Adedire Fakorede will join his female teammates next week, after winning the shot put with a throw of 51-5, besting Luke Grodeska from St. Rose by 3.5 feet.

“I don’t know to sum it up, but it’s just a lot of hard work and dedication; I thank God for being healthy,” Fakorede said. “My PR was 51-8.75, and I hit 51-5, which is close to it and on the first throw, which really blew my mind. I was really happy.”

Dana Klein of Gill St. Bernard’s earned a convincing victory in the 1,600-meter run, wiping away the field with a time of 4:59.36, which was more than 23 seconds faster than anyone else. Klein said she had her eyes set on next Wednesday before and during the race on Friday.

“I definitely knew I was going to be running it for time and I was going to be racing the clock, which can, at times, be challenging,” she said. “But I just tried to take it lap-by-lap and stay on pace and it was a little tough to do it by myself. At the end of the day, I was just looking to get a good workout before Meet of Champs, where I’ll have great competition and I’ll be able to race girls and get swept up in a great race. I’m hopeful I can run a good time on Wednesday.”

Armani Comick will join her Gill St. Bernard’s teammates, after winning the triple jump with a distance of 34-4, narrowly edging Villa Walsh’s Grace Penders by 0.25.

Rounding out the local winners was the Somerville boys 4×800 team of Dimitri Demos, Luke Prothero, Jake Howell and Alex Rohmann, who posted a time of 7:56.15, which was more than 2½ seconds faster than Chatham in the Group II race.

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