MAPLEWOOD, NJ – On Wednesday, June 12, the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders honored the girls track and boys fencing programs at Columbia High School for winning 2013 State Championships.

The Girls Winter and Spring Track Teams won the Group 4 State Team Championships, as well as the Relay Championships for the winter team. The Boys Fencing Team won the overall State Championship, and its Sabre Squad also won the Sabre Squad State Championship.

“Today we will honor two programs at Columbia that have enjoyed spectacular success for many years… track and fencing… and which are known, respected and feared across New Jersey and beyond”, said Freeholder Carol Clark.

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The Girls Winter Track Team, which was named Essex County’s “Team of the Year” by The Star-Ledger, won both the New Jersey Group 4 State Relays and Team Championships. The team also finished second at the New Balance Nationals, where the 4x400 Meter Relay Team won the national championship, setting a new state record while running the fastest time in the country this year. The team’s head coach, Lisa Morgan, won The Star-Ledger’s Essex County “Coach of the Year” award.

The Cougars’ Spring Team won its fourth consecutive Group 4 Spring State Championship, as well as the Essex County Relays for the fifth consecutive year and the Super Essex Conference for the fourth year in a row.  The Team also enjoyed a highly successful performance at the Penn Relays where the 4x800 Meter Relay Team won the “Championship of America”. 

Coach Morgan thanked the Board for honoring her team and said it is blessing for her to continue the winning tradition of success at her alma mater. “I am so thankful that I’ve been given the ability to manage such great talent and to be consistent in producing and building not only champions, but great citizens of the world… girls and guys who are strong in the classroom as well as socially and athletically,” she said.

The Boys Fencing Team won its third state championship in the last four years.  In winning its championship, the Cougars finished their season with an outstanding record of 15-1, defeating the previously undefeated Watching Hills in the championship match.  The Team also captured its fourth straight District 3 Championship, and captured the Championship of the prestigious Cetrulo Tournament for the second straight year, its third title in the last four years.

In recognition of the team’s accomplishments, The Star-Ledger declared the Cougars the “2013 Boys Fencing Team of the Year”, a distinction they also earned in 2011 and 2010, and by its final ranking as the #1 team in New Jersey.  The Star-Ledger also awarded the boys fencing “Coach of the Year” award to Head Coach Daryl White.

“In today’s society we hear a lot of negative things about young people”, said fencing Coach Daryl White, “but I’m proud to say that the young men I work with exhibit the complete opposite.  They are exceptional athletes, but more important to me, and what I’m most proud of, is that they are solid citizens and extremely good students in school.”