SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Union Catholic's Mike McCabe added to his remarkable resume and solidified his status as one of the premier high school coaches in the country when he was chosen as the All-USA Girls Track and Field Coach of the Year.
The ALL-USA Girls Track and Field teams for the 2018-19 season are coordinated by Fred Baer, the founder of Track and Field Writers of America. Girls selections were made by Mike Kennedy, the high school editor of Track and Field News. Criteria included rankings on the national lists, the number of top performances, and head-to-head competition during the regular season and in major postseason meets.
McCabe led the UC girls to one of the greatest and most dominant seasons in state history.
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The Vikings, which captured a fifth straight Non-Public A state title this spring with a meet record 179 points, finished the season ranked No. 1 in the state after completing its fifth straight undefeated campaign, and put an exclamation point on its remarkable season by flexing its superior firepower at the New Balance National Championships last weekend at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, NC.
At the New Balance Nationals, UC burned up the track with a victory in the 4x800-meter relay, earned All-American honors in a total of four relays, placed in the top 10 in two other relays, and recorded some of the fastest times ever run in state history.
The biggest highlight was the victory in the 4x800 when Morgan Williams, Jerika Lufrano, Ashleigh Patterson, and Leena Morant combined to finish first in 8:59.78, breaking the Union County record and moving the Vikings up to No. 8 in state history. Williams split 2:16.78, Lufrano ran 2:14.43, Patterson split 2:18.40, and Morant anchored in 2:10.17. The 2:14.43 by Lufrano, which gave UC the lead, was the fastest second leg split of all the teams.
UC also earned All-American honors by placing second in the shuttle hurdles in 58.60, which is No. 2 in state history; third in the 4x200 in 1:38.11, No. 3 in state history; and fourth in the 4x400 in 3:42.97, No. 5 in state history. The Vikings also placed eighth in the distance medley relay in 12:07.11, and ran 47.06 in the 4x100 trials, just .01 off its state leading and County record of 47.05 as the Vikings finished first at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions.
The Vikings also won the sprint medley relay at the New Balance National Indoor Championships in March and finished with the No. 1 times in the state for the season in the 4x100, 4x200, 4x400, 4x800, and the shuttle hurdles, and finished No. 3 in the state in the distance medley, and No. 6 in the sprint medley (4:07.72).
Several athletes shined for the UC girls at the national championship meet.
- Chi Chi Nkulume, Khamil Evans and Sydney Tucker all ran the 4x100, 4x200, and the 4x400 for UC.
- Avery Jordan ran on the 4x200 and the shuttle hurdles,
- Felicia Quianoo ran on the 4x100 and shuttle hurdles.
- Morant anchored the 4x400, 4xx800, and placed 10th in the 800 in 2:09.27.
- In addition to her strong 800 leg, Lufrano finished fourth in the Emerging Elite mile in a personal best 4:57.13, and
- Alexandra Kwasnik placed fourth in the Emerging Elite high jump with a personal best 5-7.
Additionally, UC crowned several state champions at the Non-Public A Championships. Morant won the 800 for the third straight year, Lufrano captured the 3,200, Kwasnik won the high jump,Tucker finished first in the 100 dash, and the 4x100, 4x400, and 4x800 relays were all victorious.
The UC girls also placed second overall and first among U.S. teams in the 4x800 Championship of America race at the Penn Relays, and won the 4x100 at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions with a time of 47.05, which broke the Union County record.