BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP - Julianna Catania arrived at the Atlantic County Track and Field Championships and felt intimidated by the crowd and competitors.
When the meet was over, the Egg Harbor Township High School freshman looked completely comfortable posing for pictures with the championship trophy and taking a victory lap around the Buena Regional track with her teammates.
Egg Harbor Township won its third straight county title when it outscored second-place Buena Regional 158-107.
Catania won the 800-meter run, one of five EHT victories.
"I was a little nervous at first," the 14-year-old Catania said. "I was seeing all the competition, but in the end it turned out pretty good."
EHT's win highlighted several outstanding performances. Buena Regional's Andrea Olsen won four events (the 400 and 100 hurdles and the 400 and 200 dashes). Meanwhile, Mone't Gist of Atlantic City finished first in the 100 dash, and the triple and long jumps.
Catania just edged teammate Juliann Brand to win the 800. Catania run 2:19.75, while Brand finished in 2:19.84.
"It feels pretty good to win," she said. "It encourages me to do better as I get older. I want to continue with my track career."
Catania also ran for the Eagles' winning 4x400 team. The Eagles foursome of Cassidy Treanor, Zahara James, Catania, and Juliann Brand won in 4:05.02. Pleasantville ran 4:05.46. The Eagles also got two wins from Abigail Shafer, who won the 1,600 (5:15.27) and the 3,200 (11:41.30).
EHT's final win came from Lola Agabalogun, who won the shot put with an outdoor personal best of 43 feet, 6.50 inches.
But it wasn't just the victories that got EHT the victory. The Eagles won with depth. They compiled eight second-place finishes. The Eagles had several runners out with injuries.
"We tell the girls that every girl is a point," EHT coach Erika Vazquez said. "The girls knew coming into the meet that every girl (could score) a point and that was how we would ultimately win."
Olsen of Buena surged down the straightaway of the 200 dash - her final event.
The senior was too close to her goal to give in to fatigue.
Olsen pulled away to win the 200 dash in a personal best 25.21 seconds - the last of her four wins.
"I was tired," she said. "But winning made me happy. I knew it was my last race. I wanted to win it. I would have been really disappointed in myself if I lost."
Olsen also set personal bests in the 400 hurdles (1:03.49) and the 400 dash (57.08). In between races, she had the Buena trainer put heat balm on her legs.
"It was tough doing the events back to back," she said. "I'm still sore from the 400 (hurdles). But the (balm) gets me through."
Gist of Atlantic City took an eight-day cruise to the Bahamas in the middle of the track and field season last year.
She had a great time on the cruise. But she didn't have that much fun at last year's county meet.
The senior is much more focused this season.
After winning no events last year, Gist won three Thursday. She set a CAL season best with a distance of 35-7.50 in the triple jump.
Gist also anchored the Vikings 4x100 team to a second-place finish.
"I came back from vacation last season and was drained," Gist said. "Never again during the season - priorities. When you're running track, you have to be consistent."
Gist said her 100 dash win meant the most to her. She ran 12.58 seconds, beating Nabiya Garrett of EHT, who ran 12.68.
"I had some great competition," Gist said. "To know that I won against them is a great feeling. I had to work hard, dig, use all my technique."
Contact Michael McGarry:
ATLANTIC COUNTY GIRLS TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
at Buena Regional High School
TEAM – Egg Harbor Township 158; Buena Regional 107; Pleasantville 61; Absegami 48; Atlantic City 42; Oakcrest 30; Hammonton, 30; Holy Spirit 23; Mainland Regional 23; Cedar Creek 3; St. Joseph 2
4x100 – 1. Pleasantville (Hadiyah Aabid, Leah Evans, April Prevard, Jamiera McCormick) 49.73; 2. Atlantic City, 51.42; 3. Egg Harbor Township, 51.82
100 dash – 1. Mone't Gist, AC, 12.58; Nabiya Garrett, EHT, 12.68; 3. Jamiera McCormick, Pville, 12.74
200 dash – 1. Andrea Olsen, Buena, 25.21; 2. Nabiya Garrett, EHT, 26.14; 3. Jamiera McCormick, Pville, 26.35
400 dash – 1. Andrea Olsen, Buena, 57.08; 2. Cassidy Treanor, EHT, 59.46; 3. April Prevard, Pville, 1:00.95
800 run – 1. Julianna Catania, EHT, 2:19.75; 2. Juliann Brand, EHT, EHT, 2:19.84; 3. Zoe Conover, Hammonton, 2:26.93
1,600 run – 1. Abigail Shafer, EHT, 5:15.27; 2. Lisa Testa, Buena, 5:27.70; 3. Kristin Siegle, Buena, 5:29.85
3,200 run – 1. Abigail Shafer, EHT, 11:41.30; 2. Gina Testa, Buena, 12:16.91; 3. Morgan Shick, EHT, 12:24.13
4x400 relay – EHT (Cassidy Treanor, Zahara James, Julianna Catania, Juliann Brand) 4:05.02; 2. Pleasantville, 4:05.46; 3. Buena Regional, 4:16.20.
100 hurdles – 1. Andrea Olsen, 15.0; 2. Seiarah Dennis, Oakcrest, 15.66; 3. Casey Sturts, Buena, 16.12
400 hurdles – 1. Andrea Olsen, Buena, 1:03.49; 2. Noel Labb, Hammonton, 1:05.22; 3. Juliann Brand, EHT, 1:05.35
Triple jump – 1. Mone't Gist, AC, 35-7.50; 2. Zahara James, EHT, 33-1; 3. Cassidy Treanor, EHT, 31-10
Long jump – 1. Mone't Gist, AC, 16-6.25; 2. Mariah Hubbard. Absegami, 16-3.25; 3. Leah Evans, Pville, 16-3
High jump – 1. Casey Sturts, uena, 5-3; 2. Rachel Edwards, Absegami, 5-0; 3. Mariah Hubbard, Absegami, 4-8
Discus – 1. Christina Donall, Mainland, 112-03; 2. Barbara Gedeon, Absegami, 104-8; 3. Gina Lewis, Holy Spirit, 103-6
Shot put – 1. Lola Agabalogun, EHT, 43-6.50; 2. Christina Donall, Mainland, 36-1; 3. Nyla Noble, EHT, 35-7.50
Javelin – 1. Shatina Squair, Pleasantville, 124-11; 2. Emily Higbee, Holy Spirit, 114-6; 3. Adalys Lopez, EHT, 108-6
Pole vault – 1. Casey Sturts, Buena, 9-6; 2. Courtney Davis, EHT, 9-0; 3. Hannah Richman, EHT, 9-0