During the 2021-2022 indoor track and field season, one of the biggest success stories from the men’s track and field team is their star-studded hurdling team that consists of junior Cameryn Martin, freshman Kimani Carrington and freshman Vance Thelemaque.
Considered a mentor and “the big brother of the group,” Martin has been the centerpiece behind this award-winning hurdling group, qualifying for regionals in the 2019-2020 indoor season and placing fourth in the 110-meter high hurdles at the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Outdoor Championship last season.
Going into the NJAC Indoor Track and Field Championship in February, Martin suffered a hamstring strain and a sore ankle that he had the opportunity to rest upon but instead challenged himself to race.
“I felt all of it when I went to go race the first time,” Martin said. “My coach asked if I wanted to drop the race, I told him ‘No, absolutely not … Whatever it takes I’m finishing this race.’”
Fighting through the pain, Martin placed fourth in the 60-meter hurdle final with a time of 8.68 seconds, just shy of his personal record of 8.49 which he recorded in his first meet his freshman year. With spring break coming to an end and being able to rest, Martin feels healthy going into the spring season.
Alongside Martin for the 60-meter hurdle finals in the NJAC championship were two freshman sensations Carrington and Thelemaque, who placed strongly in the finals as well, finishing second and fifth respectively.
After seeing their performance, Martin praised how hard his teammates have worked.
“Seeing how they came in reminds me a lot about myself my freshman year,” Martin said. “I’m really eager to see what they can do for the team.”
Carrington had the best time out of the three Montclair State University men’s hurdlers (8.50 seconds). Despite only being a freshman, Carrington has proven to be a bonafide star within the team.
“Getting top three was really an accomplishment and I’m proud of myself for it,” Carrington said. “I just have to stick to myself and stay focused on what I need to accomplish.”
Placing a time of 8.50 seconds in the 60-meter hurdle final is more than enough for Carrington to come into the spring season and continue to improve and break his personal record of 8.45 seconds.
Both Martin and Carrington qualified for regionals after running below the needed qualifying time of 8.70 seconds for the 60-meter hurdle. With Martin being a few years older than Carrington, the freshman star looks up to him.
“We met up one time when I was in high school and he helped me with hurdles during my senior year … Then moving onto college and racing with him, it was such an honor,” Carrington said.
At the NJAC, Thelemaque placed a strong time of 8.76 for the 60-meter hurdle but wasn’t able to qualify for regionals. However, considering the adjustment that hurdlers have to make from high school to college, Thelemaque’s season should be considered a success.
“There’s a big difference coming into track here,” Thelemaque said. “The height of the hurdles and the number of meets we have in college, it’s spread out a lot more.”
The freshman hurdler is not phased by finishing one place short of being top four in the finals. He has already impressed his team and himself by being able to place the times he does as a freshman.
“I want to be [number] one, I have to put the grind in and work hard,” Thelemaque said. “I work together with [Carrington] and [Martin] and we all go at it … If we could all place first, second and third that’d be even better.”
After an impressive start to their indoor season, Carrington and Thelemaque should be considered rising stars for the men’s track and field team. They have a strong connection on and off the field and push each other to do better. Both athletes see each other as brothers.
“He’s like a twin brother to me and our relationship grew quick,” Thelemaque said. “We want the same things for track and our futures.”
As the outdoor track and field season approaches, the hurdle group of Martin, Carrington and Thelemaque will be a dominant trio capable of racking up several team points for the Red Hawks all season long.