by Andrew Garda
The Montclair Immaculate Conception track and field team took second in the NJSIAA Sectionals Non-Public North B sectional meet, which took place on May 21 and 22.
Led by Isas Waxter, who had three first place finishes — in the 200- and 400-meter races as well as the triple jump — and a second place finish in the 110 meter hurdles, the Lions scored 85 points, which was 27 points more than third place Morris Catholic High School.
Dwight-Englewood won the meet with a dominant 149 points.
“[Waxter] is one of the guys who we expect to do pretty well,” head coach Leonard Hughes said during a phone call on Tuesday. “He showed a little bit of it last year, we got a little taste of it. But he;’s been coming on really strong. And it was kind of expected of him to do well.
Now Immaculate looks towards this coming weekend and the Non-Public B group championships. For a school the size of ICHS, it can be a challenge competing, but the Lions do an awful lot despite their numbers.
“The school, as a whole, is really small,” Hughes said. “And since the team generally reflects the size of the school, we’re a pretty small team. So we spread the fellas around, as a quality approach as opposed to having the quantity. So as long as all our guys can do three or four events and max out, it compensates a little bit.”
Hughes said Waxter is a great example of that approach working — a guy who isn’t perfect at any one event, but can do well at everything.
So having versatile athletes like Waxter, or Giancarlos Reyes — who finished second in the 100 and fifth behind Waxter in the 200 — who can not only compete but finish high in events, keeps the Lions in meets where their numbers are less than their opponents.
The top six finishers in each event at sectionals are eligible to compete at the Non-Public B meet; IC athletes have qualified for nine different events.
“I was pretty satisfied with this performance,” Hughes said. “They did more than I could have asked for, honestly.”
Now, the coach has to prepare his squad for the group championship meet, which will be held Friday and Saturday at Central Regional High School in Berkeley Township. He wants them rested and focused on their key event.
“It could be the last time they compete this year,” he said. “So give it one last hurrah. That’s the mentality I want them to go into it with, focus on that one event you’re best at and give it what you have.“