It was a massive weekend for the Montclair State University outdoor track team at the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championships with the men’s team placing third and the women’s team finishing in eighth.
The third place finish by the men’s team is the highest team finish since the 2015 season, which was also third.
The team still has a lot to improve on but they have been making some serious progress according to sophomore sprinter Samael Milevoix.
“It means a lot to be performing the way we are at the moment, we’ve been working as a team day in and day out to improve in our respective events,” Milevoix said. “We still have a long way to go to win the conference but we are making crucial progress.”
Montclair State has had a phenomenal season thus far. From many personal records (PRs) being broken to podium finishes and to just steady improvements, the Red Hawks have been performing this spring.
And the season is still going as the AARTFC Outdoor Regional Championships will take place on May 17-18 at Susquehanna University.
Those who have qualified for regionals include sophomore Brandon Balcacer, freshman Michelle Itoua, Milevoix, sophomore Jordan Dickerson, freshman Jalen Ridgeway, freshman Nicholas Schaffer, freshman Jackson Dalton, junior Owen Fogarty, graduate student Anthony Dimaulo, freshman Alex Dimaulo, sophomore Myles Day, sophomore Keyshawn Dixon, junior Jabez Thomas, junior John Griffith, senior Na’im Kinsey and freshman Taniya Giles.
At the NJAC Championships, which were held at Ramapo College, Montclair State had two athletes collect victories in their respective events. Griffith, who finished second in the hammer throw on day one, bounced back with a victory in the shot put with a throw of 15.36 meters. Griffith also finished third in the discus.
In what has been Thomas’s first season competing outdoors, he has been special. He won the triple jump by .49 meters and saved his best jump for last at 14.5 meters, which claimed 11 points for the team.
Itoua also put together an incredible performance. The talented freshman sprinter qualified for the AARTFC Regionals with a new school-record time of 12.39 in the 100 meter. The previous mark of 12.45 by Ashley Powell has stood since 2012. Itoua also recorded a qualifying time of 25.86 in the 200.
Another good performance came from graduate student Dimaulo in the long jump. Dimaulo leaped 7.1 meters and took second place but was just .02 meters behind the winner from Rowan University.
Heading into regionals, Dimaulo is confident and knows what he needs to do to keep improving.
“I just need to clean up small technical errors,” Dimaulo said. “No big deal.”
The speedy Milevoix had a strong showing at the NJAC Championships as well. Milevoix competed in the 400 meter and advanced to the finals on day one with a new PR of 49.48, which was also the top time in the preliminaries.
On day two it was time for Milevoix to compete in the finals. He topped his time from the day before and clocked in at 49.00 in the 400 meter, but ultimately just missed a podium finish by just .06 seconds.
“I ran a PR both days, so that felt great,” Milevoix said. “I just barely missed the podium for the open 400 but on the bright side it fueled me to do my part in making sure we would make podium for the 4×4. I can say with confidence I ran some of my best races ever this weekend.”
2023 has been a great season for the Montclair State outdoor track team and it is not over but the program which is led by Coach Carter, is certainly heading in the right direction.
“We have good talent and are fostering it with increasing precision,” Dimaulo said. “I believe we were able to perform well because our coach is a great motivator and everyone believes they can do well along with proper training and talent.”
The track team is improving nonstop, and it will be fascinating to see how the rest of this season goes along with the upcoming years.