EAST ORANGE, NJ - The East Orange Campus Boys Track and Field Team opened their season this past weekend at the Leon Bailey Invitational Track and Field Meet held at the Jersey City Armory winning the 4X200 and 4x400 meter relays. Tyriaq Beals combined with Shamar Grαham, Akeem Lindo, and Quamir Payton to capture the gold medal in the 4X200 meter relay. Lindo and Payton joined Mohammed Sulley and Cory Poole in the winning 4X400 meter relay. The Jaguars also placed 4th in the distance medley relay with the team of Jousha Simpkins, Marcus Simon, Gabriel Ajenifuja and Anders Valdez. “The goal this past Friday was just to break the ice and show some of the new athletes on the team how exciting this sport can be” said Coach Lance Wigfall.
24 hours later the team traveled to the New York Armory in Manhattan to compete in the 61st Bishop Loughlin Games, one of the regions premier track and field season openers. There was no disappointed as the Jaguars showcased their talent. Sophomore Cory Poole set the tone for day as he ran a personal record of 7.77 in the trial rounds of the 55 meter hurdles. He returned to the finals in the hurdles and produced another personal record (7.74) which was good enough for a 6th place finish. “To place in the top 6 at the Bishop Loughlin Games as a sophomore is really exciting and I am actually surprised that I performed so well” said Poole., “We were delayed by some traffic and I didn’t have the opportunity to go through my normal warm up routine so I was really uneasy, but my hurdle coach (Rolanda Bruce a former Lady Jaguar standout) is a wonderful motivator. She got me ready. I can’t believe it. I am ranked 5th in the State of New Jersey. I'm just speechless”.
Later that day, Senior Traiq Beals who has verbally committed to the University of Connecticut to play football next year expressed similar sentiments as he and teammates Akeem Lindo, Keneek Tomlinson and Quamir Payton sprinted to a 4th place finish in the 4X200 meter relay registering the 11th fastest time in the country and the best in the State of New Jersey and Essex County on Mile-Split Track and Field Rankings. “It was an amazing and exciting experience to be amongst the top finalist in the Bishop Loughlin Games. It is also a serious confidence booster” said Beals. “The transition from football to track this year is a small one because I came into this season ready to prove something to myself. I was a big factor on the football field so I have worked very hard to play a major role on the track too”.
“The pressure of running anchor leg is so immense, but at the same time exhilarating. When I received the baton, I knew I had to work with whatever my teammates gave me” said Payton. “It also provided me the opportunity to demonstrate how much I have developed as a runner, as well as show everyone that East Orange Campus is back again this year and we are stronger than ever”.
“For me, I am just happy and so proud to be a part of this team and all the positive energy that is being generated” said Keneek Tomlinson. “The coaches also show us a lot of love too. They go beyond track and field and hold us accountable to our academic and other personal responsibilities in and out of track season”.
The next stop for the Jaguars is the Super Essex Conference Track and Field Championships which will be held at the Jersey City Armory on Saturday.