It has been a tough season for the Montclair Kimberley girls track and field team.
The Cougars were shorthanded in the Super Essex Conference division meet and limited in the Essex County meet.
Now with the Non-Public B meet this weekend, there are plenty of events that are going on that are battling with the Non-Public Group B meet this weekend at Delsea High School.
“This meet has fallen at the worst time for us, logistically,” Montclair Kimberley head coach Tim White said. “Unfortunately, we have several girls out due to prom, an awards ceremony and graduation all falling between Thursday and Saturday.”
Despite all the other events, White believes the girls can make a lot of noise. The MKA girls return to the Non-Public B this season after being in the Non-Public A last season where they finished 12th in the team standings against the big schools in the 2022 group meet.
“I still feel strongly that we can be one of the top three teams, but some of these limitations might keep us from bringing home the title,” White said. “We would need total domination in the field events and would need a lot of good fortune on the track. Regardless of how it shapes out, I’m really proud of the coaches and athletes for working hard this season.”
It was only two years ago when the Montclair Kimberley girls track and field team brought home the 2021 Non-Public B team title, a couple of points ahead of Trinity Hall.
While the MKA boys are not up there in terms of the team standings, they have a couple of athletes who could reach the State Meet of Champions (SMOC).
Montclair Kimberley sophomore Kalvin Thomas has a chance to repeat the success of last season’s Cougars top boys athlete, now-graduated senior Isiah Udofia, who won four events, 100 and 200-meter races along with the long jump and triple jump.
While it might be a very tall order for Thomas to win the same four events, he could very well qualify in four events to the SMOC.
The top two finishers in each individual event from each group automatically qualify for the SMOC. The next top 18 performances get a trip to the SMOC.
On the girls side there are several individuals who could reach the SMOC: junior Salange Bell, junior Maggie Horn, junior Kitty Williams, junior Kellen Ievers and sophomore Mila Huang. All four are first or second seeds in many of their events.
Williams has a shot at qualifying in both the javelin and the discus. Huang is the top seed in the pole vault while Ievers and Bell are seeded second in the shot put and the long jump, respectively. In addition, Horn could also reach the SMOC in the 1,600-distance race.
Because the Non-Public group does not have enough teams for a state section, Montclair Kimberley did not have a state sectional meet last weekend.
“These last few weeks have been all about fine tuning some athletes in the technical events and getting them ready for one final push at groups,” White said. “Our field events athletes are ready to have their best performances this weekend. The sprinters have been working on baton exchanges and staying sharp and healthy. Our distance runners have been tapering so they can be fresh and energized for their races.”
The Montclair Kimberley girls team comes into the Non-Public B meet after winning the Prep B team championship after nipping Villa Walsh, 106 to 103 in the team standings. The Cougars boys team came in second in the team standings but could not compete with a dominating Newark Academy squad. MKA boys finished with 92 points to Newark Academy’s 211.
Montclair Kimberley prepared for the Non-Public B state meet with the Prep B Track and Field Championship as the girls team made it back-to-back Prep B titles.
The Cougars slipped by Villa Walsh for the title 106 points to 103. The MKA boys finished second with 92 points but were far behind Newark Academy who had 211 points.
For the MKA girls team the difference was the field events as the Cougars scored 84 of their 106 points in the seven events, five of which were captured by Montclair Kimberley athletes. Williams brought home a pair of firsts with victories in the discus (106-feet-11-inches) and javelin (103-feet-3). As a sophomore Williams also won the same events at the 2022 Prep B meet.
Another junior, Ievers, helped the Cougars sweep the throws with a first place in the shot put (32-feet-7.5).
And another MKA junior Bell took gold in the triple jump (32-feet-7) while Huang grabbed first in the pole vault at 9-feet-4.
On the Cougar boys side Thomas prepped for a hopeful run in this weekend’s state group meet with three first place finishes at the Prep B tournament in winning the 100 meters (11.39), 200 meters (23.77) and triple jump 43-feet-7.5).