By Andrew Garda

RANDOLPH — While the Montclair High School girls track & field squad didn’t win the team title at the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 1, Group IV championship meet – they finished third with 70 points behind Ridgewood (120 points) and host Randolph (146 points) – they will be sending eight athletes to the Group  IV meet this weekend.

To qualify for the group championships, Mountie athletes needed to finish in the top six in their event in a stacked field. Those who advanced are one step closer to the Meet of Champions, which closes out the season Saturday, June 10.

The MHS girls boast pair of sectional champions, with sophomore Nyjah Young-Bey winning dual golds in both the 200 and 400 meters, repeating her feat from 2016, and Shelby Bigsby setting a meet record en route to winning the shot put.

Bigsby also qualified for Group IV in the discus, where she finished third.

Also advancing out of the sectional meet were Matilda Ferguson (fifth place in the 3200), Victoria Liverpool (third in the 400), Elizabeth Cummings (sixth in the 800), Jane Carino (fourth in discus), Zelided Castillo (sixth in discus) and Trinity Fowlin (sixth in long jump). The girls’ 4x400 relay team finished first as well and the 4x800 relay team finished second.

The Mountie boys will be sending Charles Murphy, who placed sixth in high jump.

All will compete at the group championships, to be held Friday and Saturday at Egg Harbor Township High School in South Jersey.

It’s been a dominant last month for the girls, who won the SEC and Essex County titles along with placing third at the sectional meet. While there are some athletes who have led the way - Young-Bey and Bigsby are consistently at the top of their events - everyone contributes.

Young-Bey successfully defended her 200-meter title with a time of 25.32 seconds on Saturday. She also beat Ridgewood’s Katherine Muccio by just over two seconds in the 400-meter race on Friday, finishing with a time of  56.98.

Muccio was also her runner-up in the 200.

“She was flying,” coach Sophia Wallace said.

Young-Bey continues to not only show fantastic speed in her individual events, but is a key member of several of the relay teams as well, where she usually anchors the race. Her speed is evident in the final leg of a relay, as no matter the gap with the lead runners, Young-Bey closes it even if the result isn’t a win.

Once again, MHS did very well off the track. It’s one thing to have Bigsby place in both the discus and shot put, but it’s far more impactful when she is joined by two teammates in the discus competition. So when the Mounties have three athletes in the top six of a competition like they did this weekend, it makes a huge difference and is a big reason why the MHS girls team has been so good the last few meets.

Bigsby easily won the shot put with a throw of 43 feet, 10 inches, almost a full seven feet farther than the second place finisher. She landed that distance with her first throw after which it was evident that the rest of the competitors would be fighting for second place.

While her throw was not a personal record, it beat the previous North 1, Group IV record of 42-4 set last year by Amarys Berry of Hackensack.

Bigsby was satisfied with her performance, and while she said she didn’t necessarily intend to make a statement with her first throw, was glad she set the pace for the group.

Coach Vincent Pelli said that the shot could have gone farther, but the slight incline of the surface from where the throwers stand makes it tough. A more even plane might have added a few inches.

Bigsby also threw well in the discus, just beating out teammate Carino with a throw of 105-5, compared to 105-02.