Steinert’s Burton wins Group III gold to lead 17 township athletes into Meet of Champions

Jonathan Torres finished 7th in the Group III 3200 and earned a wild card into this weekend’s Meet of Champions (Photo by Wes “The Media Mogul” Kirkpatrick).

By Rich Fisher

June 4: With one meet left to go – the biggest of them all – Terris Burton remains perfect in state competition.

One week after winning a Central Jersey sectional gold medal, the Steinert High junior did it again this past weekend by claiming first place in the 400 intermediate hurdles at the NJSIAA Group III State Championships at Central High School. Burton’s time of 54.13 was fifth best among all the Group meets, behind only East Orange’s Akeem Lindo (52.75) and West Side’s Jakai Coker (53.76).

Burton leads a contingent of 17 Hamilton Township athletes in 12 different events into Saturday’s Meet of Champions at Northern Burlington High School.

“Terris has been unbelievable for us this year,” Spartans coach Ron Yacyk said. “He works  extremely hard at making himself better with his hurdles coach, Kyle Flanagan.”

And what of Burton’s chances this weekend?

“When Terris runs he always has a chance to win,” Yacyk said. “He is ranked fifth going into the race.”

Steinert’s Ashley Navarro took second place in the Group III 800 race to advance to the Meet of Champions yet again (Photo by Amanda Ruch)

Burton is one of three Spartan boys to advance to the MOC (the top six, plus wild cards advance). Junior Matt Coulanges finished fifth in the triple jump in 45-9, while senior Keon Cooper was sixth in the javelin in 170-1.

Two girls got through for the Spartan girls, as Ashley Navarro ran a personal best 2:12.70 to finish second in the 800 meters, and Tatiana Dorner triple jumped 37-1.5 to take fifth in the triple jump.

Hamilton West’s Richmond Shasha continued to excel in state competition, going 48-3.25 in the triple jump for second place, and getting a 7th-place wild card mark of 21-11 in the long jump. Shasha enters the MOC seeded second in the state in the triple. Teammate Barry Ndeh also got through with a fourth-place high jump of 6-4, while Javon Porter earned a wild card after finishing 7th in the 100 in 11.24.

The Hornets 4×100 relay team of Porter, Bryon Hearst, Kevin Boswell and Brandon Muir took sixth in 43.44.

West’s girls got a wild card qualifier when Isjae Wright finished 7th in the triple jump in 36-3.25.

Nottingham sophomore Louis Abpadogo got through in two events as he and classmate Dana Ridley both reached the MOC.  Abpadogo took fifth in the 100 with a time of 11.08, and was also sixth in the 200 in 22.29. Ridley finished fourth in the 200 in 22.17.

The Northstars also had two 7th-place wild cards, as Alix Oge ran a 14.82 in the 110 hurdles and Jonathan Torres clocked a 9:27.53 in the 3200.

About The Author

Rich Fisher has been around the Hamilton Township sports scene for so long that he actually got Rich Giallella’s autograph when Giallella was still a player! Proud product of Hamilton YMCA and Lou Gehrig baseball leagues and former teammate of Jim Maher on a very average Barton & Cooney rec basketball team, Fish graduated from Nottingham Junior High and Steinert High school and has covered township sports since 1980. His goal in life is to convince Maria Prato that Jersey tomatoes are at least 100 times better than California tomatoes.