COLUMBUS, NJ -- Joe Cullen, Philmon Mehari and Connor Sweeny represented Livingston High School in the NJSIAA Meet of Champions last Saturday at Northern Burlington Regional High School.
A fourth Lancer, sophomore Tafari Attoh, also had qualified, but an injury held him out of this competition.
Sweeny came in third place in three different field events in the wheelchair division. In the shot put, Sweeny's farthest mark of 12'05.5” was just off his season's best. This mark put him in third place in the event. Next up for Sweeny was the javelin. Sweeny got his best out to 26'10”, which again got him a medal for third place. In his final event of the day, the discus, Sweeny landed a toss of 22'04” for another third-place finish.
Mehari, competing in his fourth straight MOC, had just missed being in the faster-seeded heat, and instead went to the line as one of the top seeds in the first heat. The 3200-meter event combines endurance, strategy and speed to get to the finish line ahead of the competition. Mehari stayed near the front, coming up on the leaders shoulder a few times before making a move on the backstretch of the last lap, taking the lead and opening it up with about 150 meters to go.
"A few of the others also burst into their kicks and it was an exciting dash to the line," said Livingston track coach Dave Czeizinger. "It looked like Mehari would hold on to first, but in a photo finish he was nipped at the line and finished second by a mere .03 of a second in the heat."
Mehari , who had gone into the event seeded 22nd, finished 16th in 9:31.66, a few seconds off his personal best mark for the event.
Cullen was placed in the first flight of the javelin, where he would have three throws to try and make the finals. Only the top eight marks would get more throws in the final round. Cullen's best mark on the day was 154'06”, well off his season's best.