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Indoor Track and Field Preps for NJAC Championships

by Ryan White

Montclair State University track & field is gearing up for the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) meet.

It’s the most important time of the season for some members of the men’s and women’s indoor track teams as the NJAC Indoor Championships are right around the corner. The NJACs will take place on Feb. 20 at the Ocean Breeze Track and Field Athletic Complex in New York.

When getting ready for a big meet, it’s important to treat it and prepare like it’s any other while also understanding it’s on a completely different level, according to the head coach of both teams, Ian Carter.

“I think it’s really more so of, you know, treat it like a regular meet,” Carter said. “But you also have to understand the intensity that this comes with. That this one isn’t just another meet.”

For most of the Red Hawks, the conference meet will be their last meet or chance at qualifying for regionals this season and Carter wants to see everyone take it seriously and do their absolute best in New York.

“For a lot of them that haven’t qualified for regionals or things like that, this is their last meet until they go to the outdoor season so I want them to really take it seriously and really put their best foot forward,” Carter said.

Mat Hailu throws a weight out of his hands. Photo courtesy of Cameryn Martin

Sophomore Matthew Hailu throws a weight out of his hands.
Photo courtesy of Cameryn Martin

It’s been a grind of a season thus far but for the most part, Carter is very happy with the way things are going right now.

“I think we have made progress throughout the season,” Carter said. “We definitely are a young team, most of our athletes are freshmen and sophomores for the most part. So we’ve had our growing pains, we’ve gone through injuries, everything like that. Plus indoor season is always just kind of a grind because we don’t have an indoor facility to practice but overall I’m happy with it. I’m excited to get a good week of practice in before conference on Monday.”

The Red Hawks had athletes like Beck Deeny (pictured) jumping high at the invitational. Photo courtesy of Cameryn Martin

The Red Hawks had athletes like freshman Myles Day (pictured) jumping high at the invitational.
Photo courtesy of Cameryn Martin

Right off the bat for the 2022-2023 season, the team posted times worthy for regionals in the first big meet of the season like sophomore sprinter Samael Milevoix who broke his own school record at this event, and junior jumper John Griffith threw the shot put for just over 15 meters.

At the next big meet, sophomore jumper and sprinter Sidney Whetstone was the highest-placing student-athlete from Division III at the NYC Gotham Cup with a 5.21 meter long jump. And sophomore Kimani Carrington qualified for the finals of that event in the 60 meter hurdles event.

Following the NJACs, there will be one last meet before the AARTFC Indoor Regionals, the Fastrack Last Chance meet on Feb. 24.

Red Hawks who have officially qualified for regionals are Milevoix for the 200/400m event, Griffith for the shot put throw and weight throw, junior jumper Owen Fogarty, who recently broke a school record for the pole vault, Carrington in the 60HH event, senior thrower Na’im Kinsey and freshman thrower Taniya Giles for the shot put throw and Whetstone for the long jump.

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Qualifying for regionals is a great accomplishment and Milevoix is grateful to have made it this far.

“It means a good bit for me to qualify for regionals as it’s my first time qualifying for regionals for an individual event as last year I only qualified in relay events,” Milevoix said. “Keeping this in mind, to me regionals are really only a stepping stone to nationals which is my biggest personal goal.”

Earlier this season, the speedy Milevoix broke his own school record he set as a freshman in the 300-yard dash by clocking in at a new low of 35.91. According to Milevoix, he is continuing to stay locked in so that his skill level never goes down.

“It is extremely important that I improve as the competition around us is always improving,” Milevoix said. “If you don’t improve, you will get left behind, quite literally. What personally pushes me the most on and off the track is the want to make those I love proud of me.”

With much of the indoor track season now in the rearview, the Red Hawks’ sole focus is on qualifying for regionals and putting their best foot forward always.

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