Update: the Meet of Champions will now take place Monday, June 11, starting at 5 p.m.
The best track and field has to offer will meet today at Old Bridge High School in Matawan for the NJSIAA Meet of Champions. The event, which begins at 3:30 p.m., features three athletes who earned their way to the final meet of the season.
Megan Kirschling, Samantha Budd and Claudia Theriault qualified for the Meet of Champions with standout performances at the sectional and group meets.
Kirschling could be a factor in the 100 hurdles, but all eyes will be on the high jump, where she is the clear favorite to win gold. Kirschling cleared five feet, 10.5 inches last week to establish a new meet record. She then took the bar up to six feet, just narrowly missing the mark.
After the event, West Deptford coach Mark Drummond said his one regret was having Kirschling go for 6-0 instead of 5-11.5, which would have set a new state record.
Kirschling wasn’t too upset.
“She told me, ‘That’s OK, we will do that Thursday,’” Drummond recalled.
Kirschling will likely be competing against herself as no other jumper came cleared higher than 5-6.
Samantha Budd will also be looking to gain a medal after winning the Group 3 title in the 800. Budd finished the race in a school-record time of 2:14.78. If there is anything more Budd can get out of herself, it will likely come today, as she will be pressed by a field highlighted by Neptune’s Ajee Wilson, who ran the race in 2:10.72 last week.
Theriault, a junior, placed sixth in the pole vault in states. She will look to top the height of 9-6 that she cleared last week. The top competitor in the field cleared 12-6.
Kirschling and Budd are seniors, so the Meet of Champions represents not only their final event of the season, but of their high school careers.
Below is a look at where the athletes are seeded and the top competitors in each of the events.
Girls’ 100 hurdles
1 Samantha Jensen (Central) 14.02
2 Dashana Ransome (Irvington) 14.23
3 Morgan Harvey (North Hunterdon) 14.38
4 Patrycja Dziekonska (West Windsor) 14.39
5 Danielle Delgado (Franklin) 14.43
9 Megan Kirschling (West Deptford) 14.71
1 Ajee Wilson (Neptune) 2:10.72
2 Olivia Baker (Columbia) 2:12.18
3 Deann DiLandro (Ramapo) 2:12.84
4 Claudia DiSomma (Sparta) 2:13.09
5 Lindsey Bellaran (Red Bank) 2:13.19
10 Samantha Budd (West Deptford) 2:14.78
Girls’ pole vault
1 Chelsea Vaughan (Southern) 12-6
2 Marlena Sabatino (Hillsborough) 12-0
3 Erin Knabe (Voorhees) 11-6
3 Abby Nolte (Somerville) 11-6
5 Carolyn Edler (Mahwah) 11-0
28 Claudia Theriault (West Deptford) 9-6
Girls’ high jump
1 Megan Kirschling (West Deptford) 5-10.5
2 Noel Jancewicz (Robbinsville) 5-6
2 Sara Gardner (Delaware Valley) 5-6
2 Shekinah Lightfoot (Cumberland) 5-6
Five others tied at 5-6