BY ANDREW GARDA
The Montclair High School track and field team continued its march through the NJSIAA field last weekend, as the girls finished second, and the boys third in the NJSIAA Sectionals North 1, Groups 1 and 4.
The team now continues on to the Group Championship for North Groups 2 and 4, which will be held on June 11 and 12 at Franklin High School in Somerset.
Athletes who finish top three in their events will continue on to the Meet of Champions on June 19. Even an athlete who fails to land in the top three can earn a Wild Card berth if he or she performs well enough.
Perhaps the biggest story of the weekend was the 400-meter dash by Montclair’s Jessie Legister. The MHS senior clocked 47.93 seconds, the fastest run by anyone this year and a personal best for Legister.
Naturally, that gave Legister the win, something he also managed in the 200 earlier in the day.
Truman Williams finished second in the 100, as well as fifth in the 200. Oscar Counsell took second in both the 800 and 1,600. Montclair’s relay teams took second in the 4×100-meter relays and first in the 4×400.
The 4×100 team was comprised of Williams, Legister, Rutgers football commit Michael Robinson, and Reuven Frye. The 4×400 team was Williams, Lawton Haynes, Reuven Frye, and Legister.
Richard Fortune finished fifth in discus and sixth in shot put.
The girls saw Stephanie Webb win both the 100 and 200 races, with Kiya Lawson finishing just behind her in the latter. Lawson won the 400-meter dash, though, with Ella McAdams taking fourth place.
Krisantha Spencer finished third in the 800-meter dash, and the girls 4×100 and 4×400 teams took first in their respective events with the 4×800 team taking third.
In field events, Elizabeth Fitzgerald took fourth in the triple jump, and first place in the pole vault.
The top three finishes for both teams are added to a tremendous season of achievement for the Mounties.
So far this year, the girls have taken the championships in both the County and SEC-American division, while placing second in the Essex County relays.
For the boys, there was a second-place finish in the County Championships, as well as a second-place finish in the SEC-American and third place in Essex County relays.
This weekend, the team will be competing in their Groups — for Montclair, it is Group 4 — for medals. However, they are also in competition with the athletes in Group 2 as well.
There are three automatic bids per group, per event, but only nine Wild Cards per event, and those will go to the top nine finishers between both groups at each site.
The Championships at Franklin High School, where MHS competes, will have nine Wild Card berths to hand out for Meet of Champions.
So the athletes with the nine best times, distances and heights overall between Groups 2 and 4 will get those Wild Cards.
In other words, an athlete who finishes fourth in the Group 4 100-meter dash may not gain a Wild Card if his or her time is slower than nine athletes in the same event in Group 2.
Athletes like Legister have been digging deep all season long, but they will have to find another reserve this weekend if they want to make sure they are guaranteed a shot at a title on June 19 at the Meet of Champions.