SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Mike McCabe, Union Catholic's head track and field and cross-country coach, was named one of N.J's most influential people in high school sports by NJ.com.
McCabe, despite losing the greatest high school track and field athlete in NJ history in 2016 Olympian Sydney McLaughlin, still guided the UC girls track and field team to its fourth straight State Non-Public A Championship, a fourth straight undefeated season, and the No. 1 ranking in the state this past spring. McCabe, who also led UC to the 2017 State Non-Public A Cross-Country title, was by selected No. 19 on NJ.com's list that went 50 deep.
The recognition from NJ.com solidifies McCabe's status as one of the state's best coaches and is the second big honor he's received this summer. Last month, McCabe was chosen by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association as New Jersey's girls track and field coach of the Year for 2018.
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It was the fifth year that the USTFCCCA has selected a boys and girls Coach of the Year for each state, and McCabe has been honored every year. After being chosen as the N.J. boys Coach of the Year by the USTFCCCA in 2013, McCabe, who completed his 15th year as head coach at UC, has now captured the girls award four straight years.
The award is chosen based on how a team finishes at their state championships, the number of different events in which athletes qualified for the state championships,, individual championships, and how a team stacks up to its performances in previous years.
In addition to all its team championships this past spring, one of the biggest highlights of UC's season came when the Vikings broke its own state record by running 58.30 to place fourth in the girls shuttle hurdles at the New Balance Nationals at the University of North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, N.C.
UC's 58.30 broke the state record of 58.38 that it set at the 2015 East Coast Relays in Randolph Amaya Chadwick, led off for UC with a 13.9 split. Felicia Quainoo then went 14.2. A'Liyah Thomas followed with a 15.4, and Brianna Ewing anchored with a 14.6.
Also at New Balance Nationals, UC finished ninth in the distance medley relay in a school record and a NJ #2 12:09.53, ninth in a school record and NJ #4 47.38, sixth in the 800 sprint medley in 1:46.13, and ninth in the 1,600 sprint medley relay in a NJ #2 4:03.66.
In the DMR, junior Alexandra Borik led off in 3:46.91. Freshman Avery Jordan followed with a 1:00.98 400 carry. Sophomore Leena Morant then ran 2:18.94 in the 800, and junior Jerika Lufrano anchored in 5:02.72. The 12:09.53 shattered the school record of 12:17.53 that the Vikings ran at April's Blue Devil Relays in Westfield
In the 4x100, Kira Alexander, Sydney Tucker, Khamil Evans, and Felicia Quianoo combined to run 47.38, breaking the school record of 47.42 that the Vikings ran at the Penn Relays in April.
UC also ran NJ #2 times in both the 4x400 (3:47.08) and the 4x800 (a school record 9:10.04).
Individually, Chadwick won the high hurdles at the Meet of Champions (M of C) in a NJ #1 and personal best 13.77. Lufrano broke three school records with times of 5:02.38 in the 1,600, 10:49.87 in the 3,200, and 17:45.79 in the 5,000. She also won the 3,200 at the state Non-Public A Championships, and was seventh in the 3,200 at the M of C. Morant ran a NJ #2 2:10.61 to place second in the 800 at the M of C.