Middletown South By tim morrisStaff Writer Middletown South’s Morrison second in 800 meters By tim morris Staff Writer JEFF GRANIT Holmdel’s Emi Briggs competes in the 100-meter dash at the Meet of Champions. Kelly Robinson discovered just how hard it is to defend a championship this year. The Rocket also learned how great the feeling is to do it twice. The Raritan High School thrower repeated as the girls’ javelin throw state champion following a 144-4 at the NJSIAA outdoor Meet of Champions, held at South Plainfield Thursday. “This one was better,” said Robinson, who won with a 141-3 throw in 2002. “It’s my senior year and I wanted to go out with a win. “Last year I didn’t expect to win,” she added. “I was so determined to win. I wanted it more.” VERONICA YANKOWSKI Raritan’s Amanda Harmata gets set to release the shot put during the Meet of Champions at South Plainfield High School on Thursday. As usual, teammate Amanda Harmata provided the competition along with a surprise from Bloomfield’s Stephanie Petine. Petine and Harmata each threw 141-4 efforts on their first try, pushing Robinson to third place. She responded quickly with her winning effort of 144-4 on her second throw. “I need something to spark me,” she said. “I need a little bit of competition. When Amanda is throwing good, that pushes me.” Harmata had surprised Robinson at the Group II state championships on May 30-31 at Egg Harbor Township, besting her teammate 151-0-147-9. JEFF GRANIT Middletown South’s Jamie Liberti competes in the 1,600 at the Meet of Champions. That served as a reminder for Robinson that she can be beaten. Just as the fourth place at the Penn Relays had sparked her to a string of championships in May, the loss in the Group II meet to her teammate only made her that more determined at the MOC. Robinson, however, didn’t get off to the most promising of starts. “For some reason I was really nervous on my first throw; my legs were shaking,” she said. “Once I got that first one out of the way, I was fine. “I wanted to go for the meet record,” she added. “It could have been a good day to go for it, but I’m still excited about winning.” JEFF GRANIT Will Melofchik of Christian Brothers Academy competes in the 3,200 at the Meet of Champions on Thursday. In addition to her MOC title, Robinson had the best throw in the state this year, 151-9. Robinson, who will be attending Towson State College, Maryland, for basketball next year said she hasn’t ruled out trying to continue her track career in college. Basketball remains No. 1 for the Rocket star, but track and field is a close second. In addition to her third-place medal in the javelin, Harmata took third in her best event, the shot put. The Rocket junior did 42-3 1/2 to trail only Demarest’s Kelly Frazekas (45-3) and Sparta’s Rachel Young (43-5), both of whom are graduating seniors. Robinson was ninth here with a best throw of 39-9 1/4. Middletown South’s Tina Morrison has been posting hot times in the very competitive 800 meters all year. The Eagle senior was at it again Thursday when she ran a 2:13.63 in finishing second to two-time defending champion Kim Mineo of Glen Rock (2:12.18). Her Eagle teammate Jamie Liberti was seventh in the 1,600 (5:09.59) that went to Amanda Trotter of Red Bank Regional High School (4:52.73). It took until the MOC for Erison Hurtault of Matawan to suffer his first loss of the year. The Columbia University-bound Husky finished fourth (48.81) in the 400-meter dash. Lance Wigfall of East Orange, one of the best-ever from the state, repeated as the one-lap champion, winning in 47.42. The Rocket’s Phil Simone had a tough MOC debut, tripping over the very first hurdle and immediately taking himself out of any medal consideration in the 400 intermediates. Just being in the MOC, however, was victory enough for the junior. “I had a pretty good year,” he said. “I would have liked to run a pb (personal best). I knew it would be tough running from the outside in lane eight, being so close to the fence. I couldn’t run the turns. I hit the first hurdles and then I hit another.” Back in early May, Simone surprised everyone, including himself, by capturing the Monmouth County title from the outside lane. Rather than being a one-shot deal, that victory propelled Simone to a Group III state championship as well as Shore Conference and Central Jersey titles along the way. He lowered his personal best to 54.05 and has every reason to be looking forward to next year. “I gain a lot of confidence that I can run with the big boys,” he said. “Most of the top guys are graduating.” Area athletes who came away with top 10 finishes at the MOC were Laura Flath of Middletown South, who tied for 10th in the girls’ pole vault (9-0); Christian Brothers Academy’s 1,600 meter relay team of Dan McLeod, Paul Discepola, Matt Treharner and Chris Vuono, ninth (3:21.07); and CBA’s Bob Seaman, tied for seventh in the pole vault (13-6).