WEST ORANGE, NJ - Distance runner Philmon Mehari accounted for 16 of his team's 29 points last week when the Livingston boys track team placed seventh at the Essex County Championships at West Orange High School.
Mehari won the 3200-meter run, where he was placed in the unseeded heat due to regulations. He would have to run and pace himself virtually alone if he wanted any shot to place in the scoring positions, as there were 37 total runners. Nineteen of them would be in the seeded heat which would run after his heat. Mehari went out to plan, pulling away from the very start, and led wire to wire.
Mehari adhered to his race plan and finished in 9:32.82, a personal best. He would have to watch and wait, as the other 19 did their best to beat his time. They came up short by about 23 seconds, as he was crowned the Essex County Champion in the 3200.
Opening the meet, Victor Lopez-Simpson led the Lancers with a time of 59.29 for eighth in the 400IH. Also competing well in the event was Jonathan King (62.04). In the 100-meter dash the Lancers had three boys run in the preliminaries, Colin Burdette (11.91), Brian Leechow (12.58) and Tafari Attoh who qualified for the finals with a 11.15 time. He clocked 11.19 in the finals to finish eighth out of 80 sprinters.
Next up, 54 contestants took on the 1600-meter event. Livingston was led by Mehari (4:29.33), who had a third-place finish, missing the title in a sprint to the finish by .15 seconds. He was joined by Jonathan Chen (5:02.66) and Jonathan Ackerman (5:17.36). The 400-meter event was contested by Lancers Jamar Vincent (52.54) , Krish Malhotra (54.99) and Jelvin Thomas (57.02).
As these races were unfolding, the field events were also in full swing. Phillipe Jallow was over at the high jump, where he cleared 5'06” to place 17th of the 37 jumpers. Out on the Discus field, Nick Boffa represented Livingston and had his long toss going 130’0” earning him a fifth-place finish.
In Friday's events, Christopher Werner's 20’09” was his personal best in the long jump to earn fifth place of the 42 jumpers. He was joined by Jackson Petryna (18'06”, 18th). The javelin competition saw Joe Cullen continue his fine throwing season with a throw of 148’08” earning him a second-place finish and eight points for the team. Boffa (138’08”, 10th) and John Rosero (111’11”, 22nd) also threw well among the 41 throwers on the day.
In the pole vault, three vaulters cleared 11'00” with Jallow one of them. He finished sixth due to attempts. Siraj Akmal was right behind in seventh clearing 10'06”.
Meanwhile on the track, contesting the 110-meter high hurdles for LHS were Lopez-Simpson (16.72) and Evan Tomasco (20.98). With 63 competitors in the 800-meter run, there were five heats. The field was deep with seven boys finishing at 2:00 or under. Sean Miller was the first Lancer in with a time of 2:03.18 for 14th place. He was joined by Thomas Chun (2:17.02) and Daniel Silva (2:17.47).
The 200-meter dash saw Attoh (22.93, 10th) leading the way for Livingston. Vincent (23.25, 20th) and Petryna (24.64) also contested the event.
On May 24-25, the Livingston High School Track and Field Team will travel to Clifton High School for the North 1, Group 4 Sectional Championship meet. The top six place finishers in each event will earn the chance to compete in the Group 4 Championships at Franklin High School in Somerset, with a final destination at Northern Burlington Regional High School in the Meet of Championships.