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The Union Catholic express produced another team title sweep, Taylor Cox and Paige Sheppard each smashed their second records, multiple athletes completed doubles, and there were several first time champs when the Union County Championships concluded with a bang on another hot day at the Milt Campbell Track and Field Complex on Wednesday at historic Hub Stine Field in Plainfield.

In the team competition, Union Catholic continued its streaks as the as girls steamrolled their way to its way to a ninth straight title, 171-53 over runner-up Oak Knoll. Congrats to Oak Knoll on their highest finish ever! On the boys side, UC won a great battle with Westfield, 135-114,  to capture their fourth straight championship.
The biggest highlight of the day came from UC junior Taylor Cox, who equaled her meet record of 13.56 in the trials of the 100-meter hurdles, and then broke it with a PR of 13.50 in the finals which is tied for No. 4 in state history. That was Cox’s second record of the meet. She also broke the meet and Union County record on Tuesday with her winning time of 11.66 in the 100 dash, which is NJ No. 3 this season.
The UC girls had three other winners on Wednesday.
Freshman Paige Sheppard, who set a meet record in the 1,600 (4:52.38) on Tuesday, led a 1-3-4 finish for the Vikings by winning the 800 with a state freshman record time of 2:07.11, the second fastest time in the state this season. The former state freshman record of 2:07.18 was set by 2021 Olympic 800 gold medalist Athing Mu of Trenton in 2017. Sheppard also owns the state freshman record in the 1,600 of 4:45.28!
Junior Taylor Aska won the 200 for UC with a big PR of 23.86, the No. 2 time in the state this season behind the 23.85 run by Sianni Wynn of Pennsauken. Freshman Cayleigh Kaiser put an exclamation point on UC’s runaway victory by capturing the 3,200 in 11:02.66. Kaiser, who hit the 1600 mark in 5:24.8, ran a very smart race as she methodically pulled away from Kent Place senior Addison McGoey to win by 18 seconds!
On the boys side, UC picked up three wins on Wednesday.
Junior Avery Atexide, who won the 400 on Tuesday, won his second gold when he ran a PR of 21.89. Freshman Andrew Smith matched his PR by clearing 11-0 to win the pole vault on misses over teammate Josh Hunsinger, and senior Kevin Philistin soared 44-10 to finish first in the triple jump.

Senior Saniyah Evans of Rahway completed the horizontal double in sensational fashion when she soared a PR and NJ No. 1 19-6.25 to win her second straight long jump title. The Hampton-bound Evans won the triple jump on Tuesday with a school record and NJ No. 7 38-2.25. Evans, who won the hurdles and long jump at the indoor County Championships this past winter, has finished her high school career with five county titles (3 outdoor and 2 indoors).

The Westfield boys had four winners and several other strong performances on the way to its runner-up finish.
Senior Tage Mehta used a strong move with 1,000 to go to open a gap on his way to winning the 3,200 in 9:33.91.
Senior Alex Valencia outdueled Oratory senior Tommy Hunt of Oratory over the final 50 meters to win the 800 with a PR of 1:53.52.
The Blue Devils finished 1-2 in the javelin as Senior Jeremy Cruz (164-10) finished first and senior Max Cho (a PR of 163-6) placed second.
Westfield concluded the meet by winning  the 4×400 in 3:21.33 as senior Rowan McMahill (50.1), senior Noah Petrassi (50.7), senior Jimmy Gildea (51.2) and senior Emanuel Gayanilo (49.2) shared the baton. Gayanilo also won the 400 hurdles on Tuesday.
Yverson Alexandre came into the meet with a 110 hurdle PR of 14.83, so no one really looked at him as a contender to win.
But the junior at Hillside shocked himself and the field when he caught the leaders with two hurdles to go and surged over the final barrier on his way to a stunning victory in a big PR of 14.49!!!
Freshman Reagan Moore, who won the 400 on Tuesday, won her second gold by running a strong third leg on Oak Knoll’s 4×400 that finished first in 3:58.15. I’m pretty sure this is the first time ever that Oak Knoll won the 4×400 at the county meet.
Junior Sanaa Wright of Cranford cleared a PR of 5-4 to win the girls high jump. Wright’s previous bets was 5-2, which she made to win the Central Jersey, Group 2 this past indoor season. Meghan Kreinberg of Dayton, the shot put champion, made 5-2 to place second. Kreinberg also placed third in the discus with a 108-4.
Elizabeth had a strong showing in the girls discus with seniors Aniyah Murrell Sanders launching an 11 foot PR of 138-8, and Alex Koon (PR of 109-0) finished 1-2.
Junior Caleb Duvelson of Union finished first in the boys shot put with a PR of 49-8.50.
Sophomore Delaney Farley placed second in the girls 200 in 24.16 to break the Scotch Plains-Fanwood school record of 24.29 that was set by the great Julia Jackson in 2022. Farley also broke Jackson’s school record in the 100 last week at the Union County Conference Championships when she ran 11.79.