Jaguars Bring Home 40 Medals from the USATF NJ State Championship

Al-Qamar Rojas ran for 1st in the 400 with a PR of 1:08.50.   Credits: Sarah Hollis
Anthony Mack (left) and Chloe Smith (right). Credits: Sarah Hollis
Dylan Williams Credits: Sarah Hollis
Kaori Hector Credits: Sarah Hollis
Leo Grace (left) and Edison Friday (right). Credits: Sarah Hollis
Sprinter McKenzy Pierre took 2nd in the 100M finals with a PR of 13.26.  Credits: Sarah Hollis

PLAINFIELD, NJ - While most kids were headed to the pool or summer camp the last weekend in June, a group of dedicated runners and coaches spent the weeknd of June 25-26th competing at the USATF NJ State Championships in Plainfield, NJ.  

With competition from all over the state, the Jaguars brought home 40 medals (16 of which were 1st place Championship finishes), qualified in more events with top six finishes for the USATF Region 2 Championships, and dug deep on a hot summer day to set personal bests.  

Celebrating their 20th season, Jaguar founders Maurice Cooper, Daneen Cooper and Andrea Johnson continue a long legacy of teaching young athletes not only how to train hard on the track, but also how to strive for academic success.

Sign Up for E-News

The youngest runners (U8), some of which have only been running for a couple of months, took the track with a vengeance. Mid-distance runner Myles Richard took 1st place in Boys U8 800M with a personal record (PR) of 2:4934, Sahar Ahad also set a PR (3:00.62) to place 1st in the Girls 800M, and Chase Jones took 2nd to round out the Girls 800M wins.  

Myles Richard also ran a PR of 1:16.29 to take 2nd in the 400M. Sprinter Ellis Friday set a PR in both of his individual events, placing 2nd in the 100M (PR 16.11) and 3rd in the 200M (PR 33.06).  Natalia Thompson ran away with 2nd place finishes in both the Girls U8 100M and 200M (PR 34.33), and teammate Elysa Sxinas took 3rd place in both the Girls U8 100M and 200M (PR 34.35).  

Both the Boys and Girls U8 4x400 Relay Teams took 1st place. Running for the boys was Ellis Friday, Garsen Naar, Xavier Twyman and Myles Richard, and for the girls Natalia Thompson, Chase Jones, Audrey Marvell and Sahar Ahad.

The story of the meet was the 9-10 Boys First place sweep of all track events (100M, 200M, 400M, 800M, 1500M, 4x100 and 4x400 relays) for their age group. Dylan Williams took 1st place 100M dash with a PR of 13.97 and 1st in the 200M with a PR of 28.91.  Al-Qamar Rojas ran for 1st in the 400 with a PR of 1:08.50.  

Amari Akakpo took first in both the 800M with a PR of 2:36.92, and 1st in the 1500M. The 4x100 9-10 Boys relay team of Matthew Twyman, Anthony Mack, Kai Winston and Gavin Naar took 1st place, and the 9-10 Boys 4x400 boys team of Amari Akakpo, Matthew Twyman, Dylan Williams and Al-Qamar Rojas also took first place. To round out the 9-10 boys medals, longer jumper Kai Winston took 3rd in the pit.  

The 9-10 girls also came to run with Nia Freeman taking 2nd place in the 400 with a PR of 1:09.94, Peyton Hollis running it down for 2nd in both the 800M and 1500M, and the 9-10 Girls 4x100 team of Kaia Alcime, Kaori Hector, Chloe Smith and Bryce Twyman taking 2nd place.

The 11-12 boys races were at the line finishes with 100’s of a second determining the winners. Sprinter McKenzy Pierre took 2nd in the 100M finals with a PR of 13.26.  Xavier Donaldson took 2nd in the 200 with a PR of 27.45, and teammate  McKenzy Pierre took 3rd with a close time of 27.48.  Mid-distance runner Edison Friday took 2nd in the 400M with a PR of 1:03.84 and also ran for 2nd in the 800M. The 4x100 11-12 Boys Relay team of McKenzy Pierre, Edison Friday, Leo Grace and Xavier Donaldson continued their dominance in this event, and placed 1st.

The 13-14 Girls took a first place sweep in all of the relay events. The 4x100 “A Team” of Jordan Robinson, Natalie Gibson, Ruth Pasteur and Savannah Lee took 1st, and the “B Team” of Emily Northover, Tionne Murphy, Olivia Grace and Nancy Marie Jones took 3rd.  The 4x400 “A Team” of Ashley Bush, Morgan Williams, Savannah Lee and Olivia Grace took 1st, and the “B Team” of Emily Northover, Olivia Grace, Natalie Gibson and Morgan Jackson took 2nd.  

The 4x800 team of Ashley Bush, Morgan Williams, Jenna Keith and Morgan Jackson took 1st place. Rounding out the Youth (13-14 yo) performances, sprinter Ruth Pasteur took 3rd in the Girls 100M finals, long jumper Jordan Robinson took 2nd place, and Brandon Hernandez took 2nd in the shot put with a PR of 10.70m.

The older Jaguars (15-16 yo) would not be out done by the younger runners. Kayla Hudson took 1st in the Girls 800M, and Ethan Johnson took 3rd in the 400M with a PR of 53.23.

Congratulations to an amazing group of student athletes and dedicated coaches. Good luck to all of the runners at the USATF Region 2 Championship in Philadelphia, and AAU Championship in Orlando, FL.

For more information about Jaguar Track, follow them on Facebook here.

Thank you to Sarah Hollis, Jaguar Track parent, for contributing this article.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Love is in the air...

Come to Sadie's to buy your sweetie the perfect Valentine's Day gift. We have locally made jewelry, vegan perfume, unique valentine cards, scratch off maps for those who travel and other fun gifts - something for every honey. Of course if you are looking for something to wear on your romantic night out or a fun single's night we have that, too.

Saturday, Feb 10, from noon to 3 ...

A Tale of Two Very Different Town Administrator Searches

Both Maplewood and South Orange are looking for new town administrators at the same time, a rare occurrence.

And their approaches couldn’t be any more different.

Maplewood, whose long-time administrator Joseph Manning is retiring May 31, launched its search last month the old-fashioned way: hiring a recruiting firm and letting them do the heavy lifting (or more appropriately the ...


AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link:

AtlantiCast Episode 011

Breaking Atlantic Health System news on this week’s AtlantiCast! Plus, find out why Morristown Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the nation when it comes to recovering from joint surgery, see the newest center for fighting brain cancer and an Atlantic Health System red-carpet premiere!


South Orange Police Blotter - Two Arrested for Robbery in South Orange

February 11, 2018

Adult Arrest - Robbery - Shawn Ray Newsome, a 20 year old Newark resident and a 17 year old juvenile were arrested on Saturday, Feb. 3, at approximately 10:45 p.m. for robbery. Two male victims reported that as they were walking on South Orange Ave near the Newark border, they were approached by three actors (described as black males wearing dark clothing and black masks) who ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Home Burglary and Two Auto Thefts Reported

January 29 - Burglary; At approximately 3:10 p.m., officers responded to the area of Heller Pl and Orchard Rd on the report of an individual going into backyards. While checking the area, a juvenile approached an officer and notified her that her home on Orchard Rd had just been entered by an unknown male. Officers checked the home and surrounding area, but were unable to ...

Maplewood Seniors Enjoy a Visit from Alfalfa the Alpaca on Valentine's Day

February 18, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - If you were at the Maplewood Senior Center on Wednesday - which happened to be Valentine's Day - you would have seen the somewhat unusual sight of an alpaca. Alfalfa the Alpaca to be precise.


The visit from Alfalfa was the first in the "creature comfort" series from the Maplewood Recreation Department.


Maplewood Recreation Director Melissa ...

Voting Ends Feb. 20 for Discover Jersey Arts People's Choice Awards: 4 Nominations for South Orange

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Three arts organizations based in South Orange have been nominated for Discover Jersey Arts People's Choice Awards, and South Orange itself has been nominated for Favorite Downtown Arts District.

“We are thrilled that South Orange has been nominated as best Downtown Arts District for the first time," said Bob Zuckerman, Executive Director of the ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, February 21, 12:00 PM

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, South Orange

The Purposes and Rhythms of Jewish Living

Education Religions And Spirituality


Wed, February 21, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Fri, February 23, 12:00 PM

St. Andrew & Holy Communion Parish Hall, South Orange

Lenten Friday Fish Fry Dinners

Food & Drink


Fri, February 23, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Illegal South Ward Rooming House Closed for Life-Threatening Conditions, 12 Relocated

February 18, 2018

Newark, NJ—An illegal rooming house in Newark's South Ward has been shuttered and 12 people relocated after Newark fire inspectors discovered life-threatening conditions inside the property on Friday.

Newark Fire Inspectors responded after citizen complaints to a one-family house at 46-48 Van Ness Place and found “deplorable conditions” inside the ...

PARCC Debate in Newark Continues Amid Calls from Murphy for its Dismantling

NEWARK, NJ - Ever since New Jersey began using the PARCC exam in the 2014-15 school year, the state teacher's union and other groups have criticized the the standardized test and called for the state to stop using it to assess student performance.

During the campaign for governor last year, Phil Murphy, who was endorsed by the New Jersey Education Association, promised to ditch ...

After 47 Years of Operation, Jade Isle Set to Close Its Doors in Scotch Plains

February 18, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — The iconic Jade Isle Restaurant located at the corner of Terrill Road and Second Street in Scotch Plains will close its doors forever after its last day on  Feb. 18. A phone call to the restaurant on Saturday confirmed that the Jade Isle's long history would come to an end Sunday.

Jade Isle has served a menu of traditional Chinese and Polynesian dishes and ...

Rabid Raccoon Reported in Mountainside

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ — The Westfield Veterinary Group and Wellness Center today warned clients Friday and posted on their Facebook page that a raccoon in Mountainside has been confirmed to have rabies. 

“Please be very careful with your pets and be sure that they are up to date on their rabies vaccinations,” it said. “If you should ...

Atlantic Health System Earns Spot for 10th Year on Fortune’s ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ List

February 18, 2018

Atlantic Health System, a leading provider of health care in New Jersey, today celebrated a decade of excellence after it was recognized among Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” ranking number 74 in its 10th consecutive year on the prestigious annual list.

It is the only health care delivery system from New Jersey, and the top-ranked New Jersey based company on the ...

Man Charged with Crashing Truck into East Orange Planned Parenthood Clinic

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino and East Orange Public Safety Director Sheliah Coley announced on Friday that Marckles Alcius, 31, with a last known address in Lowell, Massachusetts, has been charged with carrying out a truck attack on the Planned Parenthood East Orange Health Clinic on February 14, 2018, using a stolen bakery delivery truck.

Alcius has been charged with ...

Paper Mill Playhouse Announces the World Premiere of 'Unmasked'

Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director), recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, announced today the world premiere of UNMASKED, which will feature some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most iconic work and the stories behind its creation, along with new music and memories from his extraordinary life and career, will open its ...