An underclassmen-filled Montclair High School girls track team came close to bringing home a Super Essex Conference American Division title.

But Livingston had another idea, as the Mounties missed out of the team championship by 3.5 points, 130 to 126.50, when the dust settled.

On the boys side Montclair was no match for the Seton Hall Prep powerhouse. The Mounties came in second with 73 points to the Pirates’ 152.

Montclair head coach Daryl Washington pointed out that the meet was a learning tool for the girls as they get ready for the Essex County meet at home, Woodman Field, on Thursday, May 19, and Friday, May 20.

“The staff and I will sit back and go over what we can do to bounce back for the county championship,” Washington said. “The girls are young, only six have really competed in these high-stake championship meets. So even with the second-place finish it was a good day for the team as a whole.”

Montclair sophomore Sean Overton, right, celebrates after winning the 1600 meter race at the Super Essex Conference American Division meet, Saturday, May 14 at Schools Stadium in Newark. (EDWARD KENSIK/STAFF)
Montclair sophomore Sean Overton, right, celebrates after winning the 1600 meter race at the Super Essex Conference American Division meet, Saturday, May 14 at Schools Stadium in Newark. (EDWARD KENSIK/STAFF)
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While the girls team is packed with freshmen and sophomores, a senior, Kiya Lawson, is the top athlete for the Mounties. It showed on Saturday, as Lawson collected four firsts at the SEC American meet, including sweeping the sprints and leading the winning 1600 meter relay team that also included sophomores Maya Kim and Avery McAdams and freshman Corrine Stewart; their time was 4:16.31.

“Kiya is one of our senior leaders, and we used this meet for her to help the team pointwise by sweeping the sprint events,” Washington said. “She ran fast times in the 100, 200, and ran a strategic 400.”

On the boys side, it was junior Richard Fortune who had the best day for the Mounties by taking home the SEC American title in the discus (140-feet-2-inches) and shot put (49-feet-1.5).

“Our throws coaches [Ciara Stewart and Henry Wilson] have been working with fine-tuning preparation for the season ahead,” said Washington, who noted how “competitive” Fortune is and that the other throwers, both juniors, Taylor McAuley and Ian Habjian, each finished in the top six in the throws.

In addition to Fortune on the boys side, junior Alexander Kuzyk and sophomore Sean Overton came in first in the pole vault (12 feet) and 1600 meters (4:33.61), respectively.

Montclair freshman Ashley Noel finishes her leap in the long jump competition; she came in 10th with a jump of 14-feet-8-inches at the Super Essex Conference American Division meet, Saturday, May 14 at Schools Stadium in Newark. As a team, the Montclair girls came in second in the division. (EDWARD KENSIK/STAFF)
Montclair freshman Ashley Noel finishes her leap in the long jump competition; she came in 10th with a jump of 14-feet-8-inches at the Super Essex Conference American Division meet, Saturday, May 14 at Schools Stadium in Newark. As a team, the Montclair girls came in second in the division. (EDWARD KENSIK/STAFF)
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Overton’s strategy was to go ahead early, and he was definitely pushed by some quality runners behind him.

“I really don’t want to run from behind,” he said. “I saw that the Seton Hall Prep and Columbia runners were behind me, so I wanted to go faster.”

Washington said that Overton’s times will only get better: “They’ll definitely drop as we move through the season. Sean is very competitive, and the next couple of meets he will have the right pieces to push him to faster times.”

Montclair swept the pole vault, with first place finishes for Kuzyk and senior Elizabeth Fitzgerald (11 feet).

“Our vaulters are individuals in their own right,” Washington said. “This is Elizabeth’s second year vaulting with us, and Alexander’s first. Elizabeth just came back off an injury, so for her we used this as a competitive practice to build into the championship season ahead. For Alex he’s coming off a great winter campaign and wants to spread his wings a bit.”

In addition to the sprints, the girls team did very well in the distance events, led by sophomores Kim and McAdams, who won the 800 (2:28.92) and 1600 meters (5:32.70) respectively. Another sophomore, Madeline Duncan, scored big points for the Mounties girls by coming in second in both the 1600 and 3200.

The complete list of results for the SEC American Division meet is at nj.milesplit.com — see “results” in the menu.