Montclair High School girls take gold, boys silver in SEC American track and field meet
The Montclair girls track and field team lived up to expectations at the Super Essex Conference American Division last week at Schools Stadium in Newark.
The Mounties brought home the SEC American title at the meet on Friday, May 12, while the Montclair boys finished a strong second in American Division, only behind Seton Hall Prep.
The girls cruised to victory, scoring 157 points ahead of Livingston High School, which accumulated 130 points. The boys scored 100 points, 6 more than Livingston, which finished third. Seton Hall Prep boys ran away with the American title with 160 points.
Montclair head coach Darryl Washington praised his team for working cohesively. Washington said every athlete played a part in the team’s success.
“The main key to the girls’ team success was every individual doing their job so that we scored points in every event,” Washington said. “Whether that was a championship or a sixth-place finish.”
Washington also felt that the girls felt extra pressure because they had won the Essex County Relays on May 5. He emphasized that the team stayed ready to compete and never got complacent.
“Bringing home the county relay title puts a target on our backs,” Washington said. “The goal was don't get overzealous. We had to keep performing to the best of our ability and keep doing what we know how to do. We had to put the hard work in and just get the job done.
The girls did not let their head coach down.
They brought home five first-place finishes in the 16 events at the SEC American meet. The Mounties dominated the distance events: sophomore Corinne Stewart won the 800, junior Avery McAdams won the 1,600 and the 3,200, and junior Ashley Noel won the triple jump.
The girls also won the 1,600 relay. The team included junior Leannah Jordan, senior Ava Butler, junior Maya Kim and sophomore Corinne Stewart.
McAdams, in particular, blew her competition out of the water. McAdams finished her 1,600 in 5:26. The second-fastest runner finished with a time of 5:45. In the 3,200 event, McAdams finished with a time of 12:02. She crossed the line a full 50 seconds before the second-place finisher.
Washington pointed out that McAdams won despite dealing with an injury and he believes McAdams can run even faster.
McAdams “had been taking care of an injury this past week,” Washington said. "All week, she hasn't really run. These were really her first races this week. She's looking at really doing some big things this outdoor season. The goal was to make sure she could run pain free.”
The Montclair boys also won five of the 16 events. Distance running continued to be a strength for Montclair, led by junior Sean Overton, who won the 1,600 and the 3,200 races.
Washington called the boys 1,600 “the most exciting” race of the day. Overton finished .14 of a second ahead of Seton Hall’s Nicholas DeVita.
Washington praised Overton’s strategy and acknowledged that the competitors were fierce. DeVita “is a strong competitor ranked nationally going to UPenn for track next year,” Washington said. "He’s one of the top recruits on the East Coast.”
The coach added that he liked the way Overton started the race.
“Overton is more of an 800 runner, so he sat in the back at first,” Washington said. “Then in the last 300, he took off on a bus. Overton always has that kick on him.”
The boys’ team excelled in the field events. Senior Richard Fortune won the shot put and the discus throws. Senior Ian Habjan won the javelin throw.
Washington also highlighted athletes who achieved a personal best record at the Super Essex Conference American championships, but he realizes that the team’s work is not done yet. When an athlete breaks their own best record, it is referred to as a “PR.”
“Our jumpers, on both the girls’ and the boys’ side, everyone PR'd,” Washington said. “Our throwers, on the boys’ and the girls’ side, almost everyone PR’d. My goal is still to keep getting better. I'm not a complacent coach. I don't want my athletes to get complacent. It’s okay that we PR’d this week, but how are we going to PR next week?”
Montclair’s next meet, the Essex County Championships, will be held on Thursday, May 18, and Friday, May 19, at Schools Stadium in Newark. Events start at 4 p.m. both days.
Even though the boys’ team finished second to Seton Hall Prep last week, Washington is still confident that the Mounties can improve.
"The goal is go out there and perform to the best of our ability and hope that other teams steal points from Seton Hall in other events,” Washington said. “That’s the best way that it can happen. It’s going to be a battle.”
All the results for the Super Essex American Conference American Division meet are listed at MileSplit NJ.
Super Essex Conference American Division
First Place finishes
1. Avery McAdams, Montclair, junior, 5:26.37
1. Corinne Stewart, Montclair, sophomore, 2:23.97
1. Avery McAdams, Montclair, junior, 12:02.69
1600 Meter Relay
1. Montclair, Leannah Jordan, junior, Ava Butler, senior, Maya Kim, junior, Corinne Stewart, sophomore, 4:02.17
1. Ashley Noel, junior, Montclair, 36-feet-9
1. Sean Overton, Montclair, junior, 4:33.24
1. Sean Overton, Montclair, junior, 10:10.01
1. Richard Fortune, Montclair, senior, 145-feet-2
1. Richard Fortune, Montclair, senior, 51-feet-9.5
1. Ian Habjan, Montclair, senior, 158-feet-6