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8-24 Issue:Layout 1


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All Shore Media Sports Review

'Budd'-ing Stars: Frank Budd Track & Field Meet By Elliott Denman - All Shore Media Contributor F u l l d e t a i l s o f t h e 2 0 0 9 F r a n k B u d d Tr a c k a n d F i e l d M e e t a r e a t w w w. s h o r e a c . o r g . Matt Nelson and A’Jee Wilson are two of New Jersey’s bright young middle distance running hopes. Nelson is heading into his freshman year at Barnegat and Wilson into her sophomore year at Neptune High School.

the 1968 Mexico City Olympics to status as a national leader in collegiate sports administration at Richard Stockton College of Atlantic County. James passed away to cancer last year after a long, gallant battle.

In late July, they headed for Asbury Park High School and its fast, blue rubberized 400-meter oval for the fourth annual Frank Budd Track and Field Meet.

His legacy continues on at G. Larry James Stadium at Stockton, and now in the Larry James Memorial 400-meter run at the Frank Budd Track Meet.

After running first in their respective age-group divisions of the 800-meter race (Nelson leading the boys 15-18 division in 2:06.6, Wilson topping the gilrls 15-18 category in 2:08.8) they headed for the sidelines for some shade on this swelteringly hot day and a brief rest before returning to the track for the one-mile run.

The first edition of the Larry James 400 saw Albert Wright (51.8) beat out Tom Mandese. Cynthia James spoke for her late husband in

And then they headed home to prepare for the Junior Olympics.

Back, though, to Asbury Park.

Neptune Sophomore A’Jee Wilson

In December 1999, Budd was named the Shore Area “athlete of the century” by the Asbury Park Press. Slowed by multiple sclerosis, Budd doesn’t get around as quickly as he once did. But he’s still an inspiring man and was that to the few hundred athletes, of all ages, who gathered for the track meet named in his honor. Surrounded by family, friends and admirers, Budd was back in the spotlight at the stadium he once graced so magnificently. The meet honored the late, great Larry James, too. A superb Villanova Olympian as well, James went from gold and silver medal-winning performances at

Titanic Comeback Continued from Page 9 given her notice that she was leaving as the athletic trainer at Long Branch to go to Keansburg only two days before Soleo’s horrific injury. It also helped that Keansburg is a small school that does not have many spring sports teams, meaning Gibson had time to spend individually with Soleo to assist in his comeback.

“ I d o n ’t t h i n k I w o u l d b e h e r e w i t h o u t ( G i b s o n ) , e i t h e r, ’’ S o l e o s a i d . “ S h e s a i d , ‘ Yo u ’ r e coming in here every day and working hard.’ I worked my butt o ff , e v e r y d a y. I w o u l d p l a y w i t h putty to strengthen my hand, and I worked with weights and e l a s t i c b a n d s . ’’

“Even during basketball season we were scared that he might not be able to come back,’’ said senior linebacker Jimmy Demo. “But he got in with the trainer and worked hard to make it happen.’’

And Wilson headed west to the National AAU Junior Olympics in Des Moines, Iowa, where she ran to a pair of sparkling, record-breaking victories, taking the Intermediate Girls 800-meter title in 2:07.08 and followed it up with a 4:34.51 triumph in the 1500 meters.

There were honors in it for all at the fourth edition of the Frank Budd Meet, named for the noted Budd, who went from three-sport stardom at Asbury Park High School in the late 1950s; to Villanova University, where he made the 1960 USA Olympic team and set world sprint records, and then to the NFL and Canadian Football League.

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On Aug. 12, his doctor cleared him to play football this year, eliciting a huge sigh of relief from his teammates and coaches.

Seeking a bigger stage the following week, Nelson ventured south to the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympics in Greensboro, NC and came through with a third-place finish in the Intermediate Boys 3000-meter final, running 8:58.97 on another very warm day.

“Well, you keep it up and you’ll get the recognition, too,” Wilson told Nelson.


“He really came in here and put the time in,’’ Gibson said. “We worked together every day, and he worked hard. He really wanted to get back.’’

Sure enough, they came through as winners again in the four-lap race.

“I want to be in the newspapers, too, like you,” said Nelson to Wilson, who has already gained heaps of local, state and national recognition for her freshman year exploits at Neptune.


Soleo said he still has no feeling in the pinkie on his left hand, and he wears a black brace over his arm while playing to prevent further injury or hyperextension of his arm. The real test will come when he takes a helmet blast to his arm during a game or a hard tackle from that side. Soleo has the size to run over opposing defenders and does not shy away from contact, so he does not want ball security to become an issue.

presenting the awards. A ppropria te ly, the me e t c a me to a c onc lus ion w ith the 4x100-me te r re la y, a nothe r of Fra nk B udd’s fa vorite e ve nts . Tre nton be a t a pa ir of A s bury Pa rk te a ms in the girls s e c tion, w hile tw o A s bury Pa rk te a ms outra n the J a c ks on te a m in the boys e ve nt. The me e t w a s orga niz e d by the B oys a nd G irls C lub of A s bury Pa rk a nd a ga me s c ommitte e he a de d by M r. J ohn M orton. Sa nc tione d by U SA Tra c k a nd Fie ld, it w a s s ta ge d in c oope ra tion w ith the Shore A thle tic C lub. Key officials included Leroy Hayes, Lester Wr i g h t J r. , L a r r y K a l b , We n d i G l a s s m a n , Elliott Denman and a crew of others. Stay t u n e d f o r p l a n s f o r t h e F r a n k B u d d Tr a c k a n d Field Meet of 2010.

“It’s a little bit tough, but I’ve found a different way of holding the ball now,’’ he said. “I hold it more like Tiki Barber up here.’’ A prominent scar that snakes from his elbow to his forearm serves as a permanent reminder of a night when a simple act turned into a near-death experience. The player with an injury so gruesome that some wondered if he would ever have use of his left arm again, let alone be able to play football, is back for his senior season. “Thank God I get to play still,’’ he said. “If it wasn’t for football, I would probably be sitting home getting fat. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t play. I wouldn’t be able to come to games. There would be no way.’’ Instead of a future in doubt, Soleo will be under center when the Titans kick off their season on Sept. 12 at Cardinal McCarrick. Last season, the pressure was on Soleo to replace the best quarterback in school history, four-year starter Anthony Valle, but Soleo now knows that he can overcome a lot more challenging situations than that. “I want to win games, I want to go far, and I want to get back to the playoffs this year,’’ he said. “I’m just so thankful to be back.’’

All Shore Media 8-24 Issue-11  

August 24 Isuue 11

All Shore Media 8-24 Issue-11  

August 24 Isuue 11