Coach Danielle Grady is flanked by her 4×100 team, which set and re-set the school record in reaching the Northeast Finals for the first time in Hamilton West history and finishing in sixth place.
By Rich Fisher
Apr. 29: Not just one, but all three Hamilton Township public schools showed well at this past weekend’s Penn Relays in Philadelphia.
It all started on Friday as “The Avengers” celebrated the opening weekend of their movie in a big way.
Nottingham’s quartet of Louis Akpadago, Shamali Whittle, Judeson Mirac, Dana Ridley became the first New Jersey 4×100 team to qualify for Championship of America since 2012 (the top nine teams qualify). The Stars ran a time of 41.84. One day later, the quartet finished 7th in the finals with a time of 41.49.
Then there was the foursome of Ridley, Emilio Selesnick, Whittle and Jalen Corbin, who became the first 4×400 team in school history to win their heat at Franklin Field.
“Add that Northstar legend and soccer star Jessica Gonzalez went into the Mercer County Soccer Hall of Fame (Saturday) and that Northstar football legend Saquan Hampton was drafted by the Saints, and today was a banner day!” coach Jon “Big Dawg” Adams exclaimed.
Hamilton West had a pretty good couple of days as well. On Friday, Kevin “Boz” Boswell, Brandon “Jamaica” Muir, Javon “Von” Porter and Bryon “Where’s my nickname?” Hearst became the first Hornet 4×100 team to qualify for the HSB Northeast Finals by running a record time of 43.0. On Saturday, they promptly broke that record by running a 42.89 and taking sixth in the finals.
“We each contribute to our team in any way that we can,” Muir said. “Hard work pays off and as the season progresses we will only get better from there.”
Porter added that, “We are a couple of men trying to make it somewhere big in life.”
Not to be forgotten, the east side of town got in the act as Steinert’s Terris Burton took fourth in the 400 hurdles with a blistering run of 53.40, which was the top time in New Jersey and fifth best mark in the nation this year.
“He was coming out of the second heat and wasn’t given a favorable lane assignment with drawing lane nine,” coach Kyle Flanagan said. “But regardless, he kept the staggered lead for most of the first 200 which was so smooth, then he found his second gear at the 200 split and hammered it home and really ran a beautiful race. The kid has worked so hard and it was great to see him have that success on that stage.”
Steinert’s 4×400 team of Robert Huegel, Burton, Rohan Ming and Myles Pulley ran a 3:29.22 in their heat.
“That team has been lately showing out and finding their gear,” Flanagan said. “We ran a season PR of 3:24.4 last week.”
The 4×100 team of Huegel, Burton, Matt Coulanges Pulley ran a season best 45.52 on Friday.
“The kids ran real hard and had a great time performing at Penn,” Flanagan said. “That meet gives us a chance to have the experience, pressure, and feel of a post-season meet early on in the season.”