Cruz-Fletcher takes gold in the Girls Triple Jump, leads strong Bloomfield showing in N1G4 sectionals

Angel Cruz-Fletcher knows firsthand the difficulty of mastering the triple jump. It took three years, but not only has the Bloomfield junior finally got the technique down pat, she is now excelling in the event.

On Friday in Clifton, Cruz-Fletcher became Bloomfield’s first ever girls sectional champion in the Triple Jump as she leaped  35-02.50 to win the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 1, Group 4 title.

Cruz-Fletcher, who hit the winning mark on her last jump, is the first Bengals girl to win a sectional title in any event since Kaela Edwards won the 55 Meter High Hurdles in the 2017-18 indoor season.

“We tried her out as a triple jumper as a freshman and sophomore and she just didn’t take to it,” Bloomfield head coach Terry Iavarone said. “This year, we tried again and she was increasing her PR almost each meet. Last week she got third in Essex County and we thought that if she can hopefully have the same jumps, she’ll have a chance to win it.”

Cruz-Fletcher, an accomplished sprinter and long jumper before, has made several strides in the triple jump, highlighted by a personal best 36-1 in the Essex County Championships two weeks earlier.

“It really is a lot of focus, a lot of practice on the technique because you really have three different facets into this one event,” said Iavarone. “For the long jump you just have that one, but the triple jump, you have to get all three parts down. It’s very difficult, but once you get that down, which could take years, you have something very special.”

As impressive as Cruz-Fletcher’s performance was, perhaps the most impressive part about the weekend was the quantity of athletes that qualified for next weekend’s Group 4 championships next Friday and Saturday at Franklin High School.

In total, six different Bengals won individual medals Sophomore Mercedes Cruz-Fletcher took third place in the 100 Meter Hurdles with a time of 15.54 and Albina Frangu finished third in the Shot Put with a throw of 34-04.50.

Samyah Wilson finished fourth in the 100 Meter Dash (12.90) and Bloomfield advanced two in the Discus as Sarah Hartland took fifth (101-08.00) and Kaitlyn Toro took sixth (99-06.00). Also advancing is the 4×800 Meter Relay team of Ashley Toro, Kaitlyn Adams, Olivia Adams and Audrey McLaughlin, which took fifth with a time of 10:16.27.

As a team, Bloomfield took fifth in the team standings.

“This is probably our best overall girls team, at least in memory, for the girls side absolutely,” Iavarone said. “It’s probably the biggest contingent we’re taking to the next level for the group championships.”

Bloomfield will also have a heavy contingent on the boys side as well. Cristian Armstrong placed third in the Triple Jump at 43-04.25 and reigning Essex County champion Charles Lisa finished fifth in the Pole Vault at 12-00.00. Kalel Deimedici took sixth in the 400 Meter Hurdles with a time of 57.52 and Christopher Francois Jr. placed sixth in the Discus with a throw of 133-01.00.

In addition, the 4×400 Meter Relay team of Armstrong, James Fields, Deimedici and Nathaniel Brown took sixth with a time of 3:24.98.

Kearny also had two Group 4 qualifiers on the girls side as Gabriela Pifano took fourth in the Discus with a throw of 105-06.00 and Kaela Cicchino finished sixth in the 1600 Meter Run with a time of 5:28.80.

Learn more about the writer ...

Jason Bernstein | Observer Sports Writer

Jason Bernstein joined The Observer as its sports writer in March 2022, following the retirement of Jim Hague. He has a wealth of sports-writing experience, including for NJ Advance Media (, The Jersey Journal, The Star-Ledger.)