West Orange High School Track Athletes Advance to Group IV State Championships


WEST ORANGE, NJ - The West Orange High School Boys and Girls Track teams competed in this weekend's Group 4, Section 1 Sectionals in Basking Ridge, and Head Track Coach Joe Picataggio had nothing but praise for his kids.

"At this time of the year, the results - who moves on and who doesn't, are bittersweet," Coach "Pic" began.

Several outstanding efforts by team members, including the Boys Team second-place overall finish behind Bergen County champions and track powerhouse Ridgewood, qualified several West Orange High School athletes to advance to this week's Group IV State Championships.

Sign Up for E-News

For others, the season has ended, and Picataggio praised his athletes that just fell short of advancing. "For some of our seniors the season and their high school careers are virtually over," Picataggio said.

"Senior athletes like Eshawn Hoffler, who finished 7th in the Pole Vault and High Jump; Malawi Allen, who only a week ago tied the Essex County Meet record and our school record; Yanaton Ghebre and Tommy Johnson, who have run X-Country, Winter and Spring track for 4 years; Attiyya Jenkins and Musatah Matthews, who despite having personal best  their high school careers, did not advance." 

Johnson qualified to compete in one event, the 4 x 800 Meter Relay. Many of the athletes at the high school participate in more than one sport. Johnson has not only been part of  the track team, but was part of this year's WOHS Bowling Team, that clinched the Essex County Championships in February.

Picataggio continued, "In addition to the Boys team second-place finish behind Ridgewood, in the process, we beat Morris County and Passaic County Champions Randolph and Passaic County Tech."

This year's teams, comprised primarily of seniors, had exceptional fall, winter, and spring seasons.

Coach noted, "Leading the way for the Mountaineers was Senior Barden Adams, who accounted for 38 of our team's 77 points. Barden had an incredible weekend. On Friday he finished, by his standards, a disappointing second in the Long Jump. He came back on Saturday to win the Hurdles, High Jump and Triple Jump."

Adams was named to the All State team for High Jump during the Winter track season.

Picataggio lauded the efforts of the boys team. "Also winning this weekend and moving on was our Boys 4 x100 team of Seniors Davon Harper, Robert Kirkland, Jahir Blanton and Jermaine Rivers. On Friday, Jermaine and Jahir finished second and third in the 100 meter dash. Jahir was 4th in the 200 meter dash. Senior Siem Mehretu, who finished 6th in the mile and 4th in th3200 meter run. Senior Sam Amorin, who just came out for the team this year , finished 5th, and will be representing us in the discus. Another senior, Caleb Edgehill, put on a valiant finish and placed 6th in the 800. Finally, our 4 x 800 team of  Edgehill, Mehretu, Ghebre and sophomore Joseph Onubogu get to run again by placing 6th."

For Picataggio, his excitement to see members of the Girls Team advance were tempered with some disappointments along the way. Of last week's Essex County Championships winner Malawi Allen, the coach said, "As great as Malawi was a week ago, it was extremely disappointing to see her just have one of those weekends where nothing seemed to go right. Unfortunately, one of the greatest high Jumpers in West Orange High School history will not compete in the Meet of Champions."

In last week's interview with the Alternative Press, Picataggio had mentioned that the Girls Team would be in a "good place" despite the departure of so many seniors. He said, "Senior Aliya Barnes put  it all together by winning the 100 meter hurdles and the 200 meter dash and Senior Chidinma Amaefuna was second in the 400 and 5th in the 200 meter dash."

He continued, "Bukola Akinsola, a freshman, also qualified and will compete next week in the 100 and 200 meter dashes. The girls team of Akinsola, Amaefuna, Barnes and junior Mariah Everett  won and set a new school record in the 4 x 100. Akinsola also qualified and will compete next week in the 100 and 200 meters dash." 

The following is a list of West Orange High School Track Team Athletes advancing to the Group IV State Championships this weekend, and how they placed in the sectionals. The top 6 move on.

Boys Track Team

100 Meter Dash:  Jermaine Rivers (2), Jahir Blanton (3)

1600 Meter Run: Siem Mehrutu (6)

4 x 800 Meter Relay:  Sixth place, Caleb Edgehill, Siem Mehrutu, Yonatan Ghebe, Joseph Onubogu, Jagger Garguilo, Tommy Johnson, Shneider St. Louis, Jamie Smith

Long Jump: Barden Adams (2)

110 Meter Hurdles: Barden Adams (1)

800 Meter Hurdles: Caleb Edgehill (6)

4 x 100 Meter Relay:  First place, Robert Kirkland, Jahir Blanton, Jermaine Rivers, Davon Harper, Barden Adams, McDerby Ceneus, Dael Ceneus, Renaldo Francois

200 Meter Dash: Jahir Blanton (4)

3200 Meter Run: Siem Mehrutu (3)

Triple Jump: Barden Adams (1)

High Jump: Barden Adams (1)

Girls Track Team

400 Meter Hurdles: Aliyah Barnes (6)

400 Meter Dash: Chidinma Amaefuna (2)

100 Meter Hurdles: Aliyah Barnes (1)

4 x 100 Meter Relay: First place, Bukola Akinsola, Chidinma Amaefuna, Aliyah Barnes, Mariah Everett

3200 Meter Run: Susannah Crowell (6)

200 Meter Dash: Aliyah Barnes (1), Bukola Akinsola (2), Chidinma Amaefuna (5)

4 x 400 Meter Relay: Second Place, Bukola Akinsola, Chidinma Amaefuna, Mariah Everett, Adrianna Rowe-McLeash, Aliyah Barnes, Faith Iyizoba

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

One Free Class at Cycle Bar Livingston

April 23, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Get a free ride at Cycle Bar Livingston. Livingston’s premium indoor cycling facility invites the public to sign up for their first ride free.

Click HERE to see the full class schedule.

During this week only, Cycle Bar is also participating in the Livingston Fitness Crawl, offering five days of free classes through Friday.  

Cycle Bar ...

Livingston Fitness Crawl: Five Days of Free Classes at 12 Livingston Businesses

LIVINGSTON, NJ — The public is invited to enjoy one free class at as many of Livingston’s fitness businesses as they would like during this week’s Livingston Fitness Crawl, a Livingston Business Improvement District event, beginning on April 23 and continuing through April 27.

For five days, no purchase is necessary at the following locations:

BARRE3 ...

Full Pet Grooming Service 25% OFF

LITTLE FALLS, NJ - Cloud Canine Grooming Salon & Spa in Little Falls is open for business and owner and pet stylist Melissa DiRoma is offering 25% off a FULL GROOMING SERVICE for all new customers. Call (973) 837-8884 or visit to schedule your appointment. Mention promo code TAP DOG for discount. 

About Cloud ...

Free Wellness Event at The Joint Chiropractic

WEST CALDWELL, NJ — The public is invited to a "Wellness Event to Remember" at The Joint Chiropractic in West Caldwell on Thursday, April 19 from 7 p.m. to  9 p.m.

Guests will include:

Michael Piercy, owner of The Lab
Justyna Debski, owner of Revive Mind Body
Karen Caplan, owner of Nutrition Transitions

Join the ...

Luxury Facial Services 50% OFF

MILLBURN, NJ - DeAmour Salon & Spa is proud to announce its newest team member, Renee Rudikh, formerly of the famous Georgette Klinger Spa at the Short Hills Mall.

Rudikh has extensive experience and specializes in a plethora of facial styles including: deep pore cleansing/European, microdermabrasion with collagen, teenage, men's, back, LED and customized European ...

YMCA $0 Enrollment in April

LIVINGSTON, NJ - For the month of April, the West Essex YMCA is offer $0 enrollment. 

Take advantage of all that your local Y has to offer for the whole family!

Personal Training
Group Classes
Low monthly membership
And much much more!...

Check out all that the Y has to offer HERE

About the West Essex YMCA:
The West Essex YMCA has ...

Essex County Executive Announces Improvements to County Parks System

April 22, 2018

ORANGE, NJ - Using the tennis courts in Essex County Irvington Park as the backdrop, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced last week that the tennis courts in Irvington Park and Weequahic Park, and the basketball courts in Ivy Hill Park and Monte Irvin Orange Park will receive facelifts with new asphalt playing surfaces, equipment and fencing. The project is part of ...

Upcoming Events


Wed, April 25, 7:00 PM

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, South Orange

Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity



Thu, April 26, 5:30 PM

West Orange High School - Cafeteria, West Orange

Annual Spaghetti Dinner

Food & Drink

Letter to the Editor: Lions Club of West Orange Spaghetti Dinner

April 16, 2018

Dear Editor,

Since 1953, the Lions Club of West Orange has been recognized throughout the township for our service to the blind and visually impaired. A majority of the world’s eye banks, clinics, and eye research centers are established and supported by all Lions Clubs throughout the world.

We are men and women committed to helping provide quality eye care, eye ...

West Orange Community House Seeks Community Sponsors

April 17, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The Boys & Girls Club at the West Orange Community House (WOCH) has opened its new 9,000 square foot recreational facility at 250 Main Street in West Orange.

The WOCH has been supporting families of West Orange for 100 years, and needs help to continue providing much-needed recreational programs to West Orange. By placing an advertisement banner on the gym ...

Cluelessly Clueless

I teenaged my way through high school under the assumption that my parents had no idea what I was doing.  I like to think I was pretty good at withholding information and presenting situations in ways that were other than they really were.


Still, sometimes they found things out.  Like the time my friends plopped me on our front door step at one o'clock in the morning ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse


MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...