Spring Track Update: Rams Thrive in Championship Season, Qualify for Nike Nationals

Thomas Hunt, Co-Editor

As the flowers bud, temperatures rise and we flip our calendars to May, it only means one thing: Track Championship Season is upon us. Your 2022 Conference Champion Rams would look to improve upon last year’s success in the Union County Relay and Union County Conference (UCC) Championships, in preparation for the County and State meets later this year. For context, OP competes in the most dominant county in the state, if not the country. This claim is backed by how Union Catholic (the 2x defending national champions in the boys 4xmile), Westfield, Union and Rahway all had relays achieve All-American status at nationals this winter, meaning they were a top 8 team in the country for the event they were competing in. The Union County Relay Championship only furthered this point, as the tough competition would bring the Rams to three new school records, while also helping the Rams qualify two relays for Nike Nationals. The first of these school records came from the 4×100 of Emmanuel Canuto, Gabe Costa, Michael Kupetz and Seamus Vail, lowering the 4×100 record set just weeks earlier at the Blue Devil Classic. Seamus Vail would return, alongside Brody Sheehan, Declan Kelly and Tommy Hunt, to set the school record in the Sprint Medley Relay with a time of a 3:39 – a time that would qualify the Rams for the Championship, or top division at Nike Nationals, which will be held at the University of Oregon later this year. Hunt, Vail & Kelly would also compete in the 4×400 with Patrick Feit, a squad that would miss the school record, but still manage to qualify for nationals. This feat is in large part due to Seamus Vail splitting a dominant 52.6 second opening leg, before passing the stick to Declan Kelly. As a sophomore, Kelly ran well beyond his years, passing the baton to Pat Feit in solid position. Feit would battle admirably, leaving everything he had left on the track and getting Tommy Hunt the stick with only Rahway in front. Hunt would then split a 51.12 on the anchor leg, and make up an unbelievable deficit to almost jip Rahway at the line; unfortunately, the Rams fell a few tenths of a second off from surpassing Rahway in the final meters.

Image via Mrs. Hunt

However, this did not break OP’s stride, as shown the rejoice between captains Patrick Feit and Tommy Hunt upon being told they had obliterated the national qualifying standard of 3:36 by nearly 4 seconds! The momentum going into Conferences was furthered when the 4×800 of Tommy Hunt, Declan Kelly, Connor Bassolino and James Nolan also set the school record. 

After a successful Union County Relay meet, the Rams advanced to conferences with the utmost expectations. Many members of the team certainly met expectations, especially Seamus Vail and Tommy Hunt, each of whom set the school record in their respective events. As for Seamus Vail, he set the school record in the 200 meter dash, running a 23.1 for the half lap distance and earning him the 14th fastest time in Union County so far this year. Tommy Hunt would lower his own school record in the 800 meter by 3 full seconds, running 1:54.7. At the time of running it, Hunt would run a top 10 fastest time in the entirety of the state; this was in spite of placing 4th behind three senior Division-1 commits in the uber competitive Union County Conference. Strong performances from Patrick Feit, Declan Kelly, Gabe Costa, James Martin and Connor Bassolino scored points for the Rams as well. Oratory’s attention will now turn to the County Championships on May 23/24th, were the nationals bound squad will look to better the already successful season.