County Champion At Last

Othman Muhammad, Assistant Sports Editor

All the pieces were present, but the puzzle did not come together for the Gray Bees as the Essex County Championships May 20 – 21. Despite winning the Long Jump, the team was unable to secure the county title.

Having recovered from a swollen ankle, senior Magnum Phelps reminded field athletes in Essex County that he is a force to be reckoned with. His first jump of 22-5 not only set the bar, but it captured the county title. Magnum’s track season does not stop at Essex County Championships because in the upcoming weeks he will compete in the Emerging Elite Long Jump at New Balance Outdoor Nationals.

“I wished the team did better overall,” Magnum said. “Being a County Champion was a goal of mine for a long time and it felt good to accomplish it as an individual.”

All together, freshman Ronald Kigen missed two county titles by five seconds. The 1600-meter run came down to a kick. In the last 100m, Ronald could not find another gear to take down a runner from Montclair Kimberley Academy. He finished second, running 4 minutes and 23 seconds.

Unfortunately, the 3200m run was not a close race. A runner from Millburn dropped a 63.5 on his final lap, and the pack of runners could not hang on. Ronald took second, running 9:22.

As a freshman, Ronald is ranked second in New Jersey for the 1600m run, and is sixth in the nation for the 3200m run.

UDII Byron Simmons had an impressive weekend as well. He walked away with two personal bests in the 400m and 800m. Byron ran 49.58 seconds in the 400m dash, which earned him eighth place. In the 800m run, Byron took down his teammate, senior Stephen Valvano, by outkicking him with 250m left in the race. Running 1:58 in the 800m run, Byron won the fourth heat and finished second overall.

Most of the Gray Bees finished their season at the Essex County Championships. However, the next year looks good.

“Next year’s prospects for the returning runners looks extremely bright,” Sprint Coach Sharon Allen said. “Changing the landscape of expectations and commitment will provide a core for the future success of the of the track team.”