Competing in Easterns, Meet of Champions, PHS Track Athletes Produce Historic Week
WILDLY SUCCESSFUL: Princeton High track senior star Nils Wildberg displays the medal he earned for winning the inaugural NJSIAA Indoor Meet of Champions Long Jump Showcase last week. Fighting through injury, the Dartmouth-bound Wildberg produced a best mark of 23’4 to win the competition.
By Bill Alden
Competing in two prestigious events last week, the Princeton High track program made history on both fronts.
Taking part in the Eastern State Championships on February 19 in New York City and the NJSIAA Indoor Meet of Champions (MOC) over the weekend at Toms River, PHS athletes recorded five personal bests, four school records, three MOC medals, and one individual state champion.
Senior Nils Wildberg, who has battled a knee injury and has been forced to sit out most of the winter season, returned triumphantly to win the inaugural MOC Long Jump Showcase, jumping 23’4. The Dartmouth-bound Wildberg’s victory marked just the seventh overall individual state title in PHS boys’ track history. Wildberg becomes the first PHS individual state champion in 36 years, joining Peter Sharpless (two titles – outdoor high jump 1980 and 1981) and Stephen Fletcher (Four titles – 55 hurdles indoors and 110 hurdles outdoors in both 1982 and 1983) as the only three boys athletes to ever achieve a state crown.
Also at the MOC, junior Simon Schenk cleared a new personal best and school record of 15’6 in the pole vault for a third place finish. The new mark puts Schenk into a tie for the third best jump in New Jersey this season and ranks him among the top 40 vaulters in the United States. The winner on the day cleared 15’6 on fewer attempts with Schenk just missing a winning vault on his first attempt at 16 feet.
In the MOC 1,600 meters, senior Tucker Zullo finished 17th (4:26.18). Earlier in the week, Zullo finished third in the mile at Easterns with a personal best of 4:23.21. Also at Easterns, senior Jackson McCarthy produced a big personal best in the 800, running 1:56.89 for a new indoor school record and the seventh top time in New Jersey this winter.
For the girls, the quartet of Colleen Linko, Kendall Williamson, Raina Williamson, and Gabby Goddard medaled in the MOC 4×400 relay, finishing 8th with a new indoor school record time of 4:01.84. Goddard anchored the relay and flew to a stunning split of 57.85.
Earlier in the week, at the Easterns, the quartet set a new, all-season school record in the 4×200 relay, clocking a time of 1:46.70.