Gray Bees Win Back to Back Essex County Relays Titles


Othman Muhammad

The Gray Bees celebrating after their victory over East Orange campus.

Othman Muhammad, Online Editor

The Gray Bee track team extended its reign as Essex County Relay Champions by outscoring East Orange campus in a close point battle to capture the Essex County Relay title, January 8.

The first event, the Distance Medley Relay set the tone early. Senior Adrian Ceballo started the race running the 1200-meter leg. Adrian, UDI Elijah Allen-Smith, UDI Demere Kearney, and UDI Ronald Kigen took second place with a time of 11:02.

Senior Byron Simmons, senior MacGregor Jeune , UDII Kaylan Depas, and UDI Justin Eastman built off the DMR’s momentum by taking first in the Sprint Medley Relay.

Justin and MacGregor ran strong 200m legs. MacGreogor exchanged the baton to Kaylan in second place, and Kaylan maintained the gap behind USATF star Corey Poole of West Orange Campus. This positioning gave the relay’s 800m leg anchor Byron enough time to close the gap. With 200m left in the race Byron closed the gap, and with 100m to go Byron outkicked West Orange’s anchor to lead the Gray Bees to their first victory with a time of 3:39.

The last first place finish of the day came from the 4×800-meter Relay. Demere, Adrian, Ronald, and Bryon ran an impressive 8:29. Despite being his second time on the track, Byron still managed outkick the anchor from West Orange High School to lead to Gray Bees to victory.

“When I saw the gap in the SMR and 4×800, I did not let that bother me,” Byron said. “My coach told me that I am one of the best middle-distance runners in the state and I wanted to prove that.”

Going into the 4×400-meter relay, the Gray Bees lead the team rankings by eight points. This race proved pivotal to the meet’s overall outcome. Altogether, Kaylan, Elijah, Adrian, and Bryon could not close the gap established by West Orange campus. Throughout the race the team maintained second place, but in the end Byron was outkicked by West Essex’s anchor with 50m left. The team finished third running a time of 3:30.

However, having earned six points from the 4x400m relay’s victory, the Gray Bees repeated their reign as County Relay Champions by four points.

“After we were called Essex County Relay Champions, I knew that all our training and hard work was for this very moment,” Adrian said.

Distance Coach David Alfano is determined the team will carry the momentum of this victory into bigger meets such as Millrose , January 11.

“The meet schedule only gets tougher from here and we cannot settle,” Coach David said. “But, our guys are excited to show the state and country what we can do this year!”