BY ANDREW GARDA
Cold, rain or wind couldn’t stop the Montclair High School track and field teams as it competed in the Essex County Championships on Friday, May 28.
When the day ended, the girls team had taken first with a score of 92, putting it 7 points ahead of second-place West Orange. The boys finished a strong second with 67 points, 27 points ahead of third-place Essex County Vocational Technical School.
Montclair Kimberley Academy finished with the girls in third and the boys in sixth.
For the MHS boys, it was a special achievement, as this was the first time in more than 20 years that they finished in the top three or better. This winter, during the indoor season, the boys captured their first Essex County Championship in 20 years, and this season has seen them build on that success. They placed third in the Essex County Relays and second in the Super Essex County Conference American and Liberty Championships.
The girls have also continued their success, placing second in the Essex County Relays and first in the Super Essex County Conference American and Liberty Championships.
The bar was high going into last weekend, but head coach Daryl Washington knew what his team was capable of.
“Going into the meet, the game plan was that everyone ranked in the top six has to do their job, be aggressive and everyone else has to step up and do their best to be in a position to score points,” he said. “Needless to say, on both sides this was done and the athletes rose to the challenge. Next up for us is the NJSIAA North I Group IV State Sectional Championship at Clifton High School.”
The NJSIAA North I Group IV State Sectional Championships take place this Friday and Saturday, June 4 and 5.
The girls were led by Krisantha Spencer in the 800 meter dash, Elizabeth Fitzgerald in the pole vault and the 4×400 team of Ella McAdams, Stephanie Webb, Krisantha Spencer and Kiya Lawson, all of whom took first in their events.
Significant points were also gained by Stephanie Webb, who took third in the 100 meter and second in the 200 meter; Kiya Lawson, who placed fourth in the 100 meter, third in the 200 meter and second in the 400 meter; and Violet Ross, who placed third in the 1,600 meter and second in the 3,200 meter. In field events, Elizabeth Fitzgerald took second in the long jump and fifth in the triple jump, while Crystal Clark placed sixth in shot put.
The boys were led by first-place finishers Oscar Counsell (800 meter and 1,600 meter) and Jessie Legister (400 meter). Legister also took second in the 200 meter. Other key contributions came from Truman Williams, who finished in second in the 100 meter and fourth in the 200 meter; Lawton Haynes, who placed sixth in the 400 meter, Charles Ehlis, who took fifth in the 3,200 meter; and the 4×400 squad of Haynes, Williams, Michael Robinson and Reuven Frye, which placed third.
Richard Fortune finished second in the shot put.