It was a history-making season for the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) Girls Winter Track Team that culminated in the team’s first State Group Championship.
The RFH girls also won their fifth State Sectional Title, and earned their third State Relay Championship during the 2017/18 winter track season.
Here’s the who and what of the season highlights …
Sophomore standout Lily Orr set new standards for RFH in the 55m, 200m, 300m, and 400m. Lily also joined with her sister, RFH junior Maddie Orr, and with freshman Campbell Devlin and sophomore Nikke DeVito, to break the former 4x200m relay record for RFH.
Then there were the spectacular performances by the 4x400m quartet of Campbell Devlin, junior Olivia Rehder, senior Team Captain Katie MacGillis and Lily Orr (with a couple of assists by junior Julia Tambaro).
They won the Shore Conference Championships and followed that with stirring wins at the State Sectionals and Group Championships. All of that was preamble, however, to arguably the greatest relay performance in RFH history when these girls, sparked by Lily Orr’s never-say-die anchor leg, bested Union Catholic’s vaunted squad to take the Eastern State’s title. Their time of 3:56.85, aside from crushing the prior RFH best, also propelled the quartet into the top 20 nationally. And the girls proved themselves once again with an excellent 16th place performance at the Nationals in NYC (despite Lily’s injury).
The RFH Girls Winter Track 2017/18 season also featured these highlights:
The Shuttle Hurdle Relay squad of juniors Alina Arko, Campbell Devlin, Grace Jamin, and Olivia Turi raced three times and broke the RFH Record in all three.
Freshman Mia James broke the RFH Record at 600m and became the fastest frosh 800m runner in RFH history.
Julia Tambaro’s breakout season brought her the RFH Record at 1000m. Additionally, she and Mia James combined with sophomore Eliana Swell to fashion the 1-2-3 finish in the 800m at the State Sectionals, clinching a State Sectional win for the team. Julia’s 1600m/800m double gold medal effort at the Sectionals was only exceeded by her DMR/4x800m/and Sprint Medley “triple win” that went a long way toward helping RFH win the State Relay. For the State Relay, Julia anchored the squad also comprised of Kate MacGillis, Grace Jamin, and freshman Marlee Dotts, and they clocked the fastest time in New Jersey.
Post-season, Lily Orr was named 1st team All-Shore Conference in the 400m individually, and along with her teammates in the 4x400m Relay — Campbell Devlin, Katie MacGillis, and Olivia Rehder.
She and Julia were also named 1st Team All Group, again, along with the 4x400m. Tim McLoone was named Winter Track Coach of the Year by the Shore Track Coaches Association. Additionally, McLoone and Coach Bob Keogh were named NJ Winter Track Coaches of the Year by nj.com.
All of this was accomplished by a “young” team. “As an alert to our competition, Team Captain Kate MacGillis is our only senior,” said McLoone.
The RFH Boys Winter Track Team had its own shining moments as well.
Coach Ken Young’s vault team impressed, as senior Sebastian Buckley soared 13’6″ to annex County and Conference wins, earning him recognition as 1st team All Shore and 3rd team All Group.
He and junior Danny Raphael had outstanding seasons and contributed a substantial amount of team points.
“Sebastian and Danny, along with Nick Moscardelli and frosh William Francis, give us a strong nucleus going forward,” said McLoone. “Ford Stevens and Guy Mazzeo put a scare into the RFH 4x800m Relay Record, which they intend to take down next winter. We were also really encouraged that we had 10 frosh competing, led by Gabe LePage, and we can’t wait to see what develops from that group now that they have a season behind them. Given the difficult training conditions, Winter Track is pretty tough to navigate. That is probably why we were so fond of this group of girls and boys. Aside from the championships and medals won, those who saw it through to the end really earned our admiration. Everyone improved, and that is why we coach.”