Licata earns All-American Honors, Places 3rd at Nationals to Close Out GSB Indoor Track & Field’s Stunning Season

The GSB Indoor Track & Field team’s impressive season was punctuated with an equally impressive performance by senior captain Joe Licata at the New Balance Nationals in New York City. As the #1 ranked shot putter in New Jersey and #7 nationally, Joe placed 3rd in the heralded championship competition to earn All-American status.

During his senior season, Licata dominated when it mattered most, taking home gold in the Conference Championships, Prep B State Championships, Non-Public B State Championships, and New Jersey Meet of Champions. The Princeton-bound athlete finished his storied Indoor career as a two-time Prep B and Non-Public B State Champion, joining his older brother C.J. (Class of 2018) as the only GSB male athletes to win the NJSIAA Meet of Champions.

With the lights at their brightest during Nationals, Joe stepped up to record the best throw of his career, setting a PR of 64-9.75 to break CJ’s previous school record (64-5.5). The throw is 7th best in all-time New Jersey state history.

“It’s incredibly exciting news,” said Head Coach Shelly LaBarre. “It’s great to see the progress and success Joe saw this year. It’s a testament to how hard he works. To finish his career with All-American honors and smashing a school record is tremendous. I can only imagine what Joe will do this spring in Outdoor Track & Field!”

Licata, alongside senior Co-Captains Mia Kolb, Kellyn Bucceri, Will Strong, and Jacob Goldklang, led by pushing themselves to get better while creating stronger connections between teammates.

“These captains literally practiced what they preach,” said Head Coach Shelly LaBarre. “They were supportive, great leaders to the younger members, and standouts on their own. They were also great communicators and organized some wonderful team events like a holiday gingerbread making party and helped with the end-of-season Charity Color Run."

With a roster filled with underclassmen, LaBarre was extremely proud of the progress the team made this year and their standout performances in meet championships.

Notable moments included senior shot putter Zach Saunders placing 2nd in the Prep Championships and 3rd in States, freshman Ema Hercules leading the girls’ distance team with a 4th place finish in the Prep Championships, freshman Brady Domsic earning 3rd place in the Prep Championship High Jump, senior Will Strong dominating both distance and quick leg relays to place 2nd in Preps, and all-around athlete Kellyn Bucceri demonstrating her versatility in springs, throws, and hurdles while garnering 4th and 5th place finishes in the Prep and State Championships, respectively. LaBarre was also particularly impressed with senior Michaela Kroon and junior Will Engelke’s leadership throughout the season and performance at the Prep Championships. Kroon placed 3rd in the 3200-meter while Engelke placed 2nd in the 55-meter Hurdles.

“I’m proud of the team persevering,” said LaBarre. “We had a lot to overcome between the pandemic, cancelled meets, snow, and a track under construction. The team responded well, kept a positive attitude, worked hard, and focused on our postseason championships.”

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