By Jim Lambert
The Union Catholic girls received several lifetime best performances on its way to a third straight title and the UC boys narrowly lost to Elizabeth in the boys competition at the Union County Track and Field Championships on Friday at Hub Stine Field in Plainfield.
The UC girls, ranked No. 1 in N.J. by NJ.com, steamrolled the competition by racking up 152 points, more than double the point total of runner-up Westfield (73).
Meanwhile, the UC boys won the meet-concluding 4x400 relay to place second to Elizabeth by just one point in the final team standings, 100-99.
The full results of the meet are here, and video interviews with several UC athletes and race videos are here
In the girls competition, Olympian Sydney McLaughlin, and UC teammates Jerika Lufrano and Angelique Williams were all double winners.
The Kentucky-bound McLaughlin broke her own meet record in the 200 with a NJ #3 all-time 23.46 and anchored the winning 4x400 (3:50.60). McLaughlin, running on the same track where she ran her first race ever when she was 6 years old, finished her career with 12 Union County individual titles (8 outdoors and 4 indoors). She also owns the meet and county outdoor records in the 400 hurdles, the 400, and the 200, the state and national record in the 400 hurdles, and three other individual national records.
UC also picked up two wins from sophomore Jerika Lufrano, who completed a great distance double by winning the 3,200 with a huge personal best of 11:24.33. Lufrano won the 1,600 on Thursday. Williams, also a sophomore, won the triple jump with a personal best 38-5, placed first in the high jump (5-2) and was second in the long jump. The Vikings also picked up wins on Friday from freshman Felicia Quainoo in the 100 hurdles with a personal best 15.09.
In the boys competition, sophomore Ryan McLaughlin became the fifth member of his family to win a county title when he blasted a NJ #2 14.39 to win the 110 hurdles, and he anchored the winning 4x400 that ran 3:18.07. Ryan joins his sisters Morgan and Sydney, his brother Taylor, and his father Willie as an outdoor county champion.
Nate Papachristos also scored a big win for UC when he led a 1-4-6 finish for UC by winning the 3,200 in 9:48.08. Rising freshman star Elijah Brown, who won the 400 on Thursday in 49.09, split a PR of 48.3 on the 4x400 for UC.