ROCKAWAY _ There is nothing that will convince Whippany Park girls track coach Brad Callahan that a tie isn't as good as an outright win.
Callahan's Wildcats nabbed a share of the Morris County Relays title on Saturday, May 2 at Morris Knolls High School after two days of intense competition. Whippany Park scored 72 points to finish in a deadlock with Mendham.
"Because we're a small school, this is major for us," Callahan said. "I'd use the same lineup again. I wouldn't change a thing. Everything fell into place. It's a moment I'll always remember. Winning was special."
Senior Danielle Cozzarelli was a member of four teams that claimed gold - high jump, long jump, triple jump, pole vault. Cozzarelli cleared 10 feet, 6 inches in the pole vault, nearly a foot better than what she had posted previously. In the triple jump, she had a 35-5, two feet and five inches more than her average.
Nickolette Dunbar, a junior, led the way in the shotput and discus. Dunbar sent the discus 138 feet, which was her second-best throw.
In the long jump, Kristen Hall stood out, making a leap of 17-3. She typically jumps in the low 16s. Hall excelled in the triple jump, too, pushing herself to 35 feet, two feet beyond her norm.
The 4x400 determined the final scores. Mendham was first in 4:00.67. The Wildcats' squad, comprised of Rose and Julia Nixon, Christin Potkul and Emily Petro, was fourth in 4:11.65. That, as well, was a top time.
After the 4x400 concluded, Whippany Park was jubilant. They posed for photos and celebrated.
"It was a surreal moment," Callahan said. "We didn't think it really happened. The girls accomplished what they needed to do and took care of business. It was amazing."
Callahan and his coaching staff put much thought and effort into the meet. There were a lot of "ifs" but, if the girls performed within their range, they'd do fine.
On Thursday, Callahan addressed the Wildcats, telling them what they needed to do.
"I told them they couldn't worry about anyone but themselves," Callahan said. "They had to do had to do what they normally do. I wanted everyone to be themselves.
"The kids bought into it. No one worried about anything. Everyone was carefree. That attitude spread."
The coaches also looked at results from 2014 and this season to plan a strategy. Whippany Park had had success in field events in recent years so they had to figure out how to handle the running events.
"We had to pick where we could attack," Callahan said. "Everyone was psyched for two days. That's very hard to do."
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