Benedict News Online

Gray Bees Lose Footing at Essex County Champs

INDOOR TRACK & FIELD

Senior Magnum Phelps tripped on another runner during the third leg of the race. He handed it to Senior Jared Lampley in second, but Jared could not close the gap.

Dennis Lansang

Senior Magnum Phelps tripped on another runner during the third leg of the race. He handed it to Senior Jared Lampley in second, but Jared could not close the gap.

Othman Muhammad, Assistant Sports Editor

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After winning the Essex County Relay title, the Gray Bees returned to the Jersey City Armory Jan. 31, hoping to bring home an Essex County Championship title. But instead, they lost to Weequahic 50-49. The 4×400 relay team faltered in scoring essential points for the team.

The 4×400 meter relay was the last event at the Essex County Championship. Going into the race, the St. Benedict’s Prep track team was leading the meet by one point. This race played a crucial factor in who would leave as a County Champion. St. Benedict’s had 43 points, but right on their tail was Weequahic High School with 42 points.

UDII Byron Simmons, senior Stephen Valvano, senior Magnum Phelps, and senior Jared Lampley ran the 4x400m relay. Stephen grabbed the baton in third place, but with 100m left in his 400m dash, Stephen passed Weequahic and maintained second place. Stephen exchanged the baton to Magnum. But Magnum fell with 50m left in his leg, and Weequahic capitalized on the situation. Even though Jared was the last leg, he was unable to close the gap. The win over Benedict’s gave Weequahic 50 points while Benedict’s received 49.

“Everything was going fine until my hamstring got to me the last 100m.” Reflecting on the meet’s outcome, Jared said, “It sucked to lose by one point but we won’t let it get that close next time.”

Senior Edwin Rutto finally made his season debut in the 3200m run with freshman and fellow Kenyan Ronald Kigen. Both runners led the race from start to finish, but in the end Edwin outkicked Ronald by .19 seconds. They both ran 9:41 and added 18 points to the scoreboard.

“The race felt okay and it was not difficult running with Ronald,” Edwin said. “However, I am still not in the shape that I would like to be.”

Byron ran three events in total, but the most notable performance came from the 800m run. Individually Byron placed second with a time of 2:01 and earned the Gray Bees eight points.

Despite not winning the Essex County title, the team is still hungry for the big meets later in the season like Millrose Games and New Balance Indoor Nationals. Distance coach David Alfano expected the meet to be close because of the tough competition. “To lose by one point is of course never an easy thing, ” he said. “We need to continue to build our momentum into our last few meets before nationals.”

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Gray Bees Lose Footing at Essex County Champs