John Nepolitan

Some Track members get ready for Nationals (from left): Team Captain Malachi Little, Saveyon Blake, Iyad Boxton, and Josue Reyes.

Track: Despite Short Season, Team Still Wins Big

The St. Benedict’s track team’s indoor season preparation started way back in September, before the season took off on December 16. This year’s team was led by Head Coach Dwayne Cox and Team Captain Malachi Little SY.

The team participated in up to 13 meets in 2019-20, claiming individual victories and championships. Individual members of the team were strong but when members worked together, competing as a team, they were even stronger. 

The Gray Bees accomplished their goals when they qualified for the legendary Millrose Games at the trials. They qualified for the private school 4×4 meter relay. The Gray Bees 4×4 relay team of SY Justis Worrell SY, Greg Anthony-Jones SY, Malachi Little SY, and Saveyon Blake UD2 combined placed a qualifying time of 3:22.82. The result of their Millrose trials qualified them for the New Balance National.

After the Millrose trials, the team proceeded to the Essex County Relays. The Gray Bees were placed first place despite not competing in all events. But they were still able to dominate the competition by winning with 37 points. 

As team members made it to the Millrose game finals, they competed in the 4×4 meter relays for private schools. They placed third with a time of 3:23.07, coming after Union Catholic and Christian Brothers Academy.

Over the course of the season, most members of the team have also stepped up, running new times on their personal best. 

But what was supposed to be a high point turned out to be a disappointment through no fault of the team. All the team members’ preparation for this season was mainly to be able to qualify for the New Balance Nationals, which was scheduled to take place from March 13 to March 15. They wanted to pick up from where they left off last year by beating their relay times and personal bests.  They qualified for various events such as: 4×4 meter relays, 4×2 meter relays, 4×1 meter relays, and sprint medley relays(SMR). They were also qualified for individual events, including Malachi Little, who was scheduled to participate in the 200m.

The team was looking forward to participating in the New Balance indoor nationals and the outdoor season, but due to the coronavirus pandemic everything was canceled. 

Many members felt disappointment because of how the season ended so unexpectedly due to coronavirus quarantines and because no one would have known that Feb. 27 would be the last time team members got to participate together on the track. 

Since the season ended so unexpectedly, some members of the team who qualified for indoor nationals were upset that they wouldn’t get to go on one more bus to run on the track field together. So the least they could do was to plan a student only trip to go pick up their bags for qualifying for nationals. 

“Just letting our bags get mailed to us and not competing at all, I just can’t come to peace with,” Malachi Little said. “Also most importantly, you guys don’t get the chance to have one last dance with us as a team for the last time for our 2020 indoor season at the most competitive meet for indoor high school track and field athletes. So the least I can do is go with you all to get our bags together just like how we made it to nationals…together.”

This whole situation mostly took a toll on the seniors. Most of them won’t get the chance to improve from their previous outdoor performance. “This is why making the most of each opportunity like it’s your last is of the utmost importance,” said Coach Hassan, head of the sprint team. But, regardless of the pandemic, colleges are still offering scholarships to student athletes.

Some of the seniors who earned college scholarships include Malachi Little who commited to Monmouth University and Urijah Williams who commited to Louisiana Tech University. 

As for next year, the track team is looking forward to making next year’s season better and setting new goals. 

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