Hard work definitely does pay off.
That seems pretty clear for the Montclair State University outdoor track and field team, who had multiple wins at the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship and had plenty of athletes soar to new heights in events this season.
Junior hurdler Cameryn Martin won his preliminary heat in the 110-meter hurdles event before officially taking home third place in the event with a time of 11.57. His preliminary time was just .02 seconds off his career-best time back in late March.
Senior long jumper Anthony DiMaulo, who was recently chronicled in The Montclarion, also had a great day with a third-place finish. As well as senior distance runner Sebastian Cortes, whose career-low time of 49.34 earned him a third-place finish.
With this success and more, the Red Hawks are looking to translate it to the All-Atlantic Region Track and Field Conference Regionals in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the home of Moravian University. Head coach Ian Carter believes the chemistry has led them to where they are today.
“A big thing for us is that we wanted to establish a culture; that’s one of the first things I did when I came on the team a couple of years ago,” Carter said. “All of our coaches are excellent with [establishing a culture]. We’re a very tight-knit group and I hold things down on the track and with the young freshmen, so I really feel like we have a strong nucleus and people that are leaders in their own right. I’m very excited for us and I think this is just the first step.”
Someone on the track and field team who has taken a lot of steps is sophomore shot put and discus thrower John Griffith, and to say he had a great 2022 season would be an understatement. Griffith won first place in both shots put and discus at the NJAC Championship, which helped him to secure a spot on the NJAC All-First team for the second time in his career.
Griffith attributes it to trying to put out the same results every time he’s out on the field.
“From last year to this year, we [increased] practice days from two days to three, and my lifts throughout the season have changed a lot,” Griffith said. “The name of the game is consistency. If you’re not consistent, it’s going to fall apart.”
Griffith is also feeling pretty good heading into the regionals event.
“I’m feeling really confident,” Griffith said. “Looking back to winter track, it’s going to be the same people in some of the events, and it was such a close competition then, so I’m really excited to see those faces again and go head-to-head with them.”
A couple of faces Red Hawk fans will see again at Moravian are, as mentioned above, DiMaulo and Cortes. Cortes has had prior experience in these regionals, placing seventh in the 4 x 400 relay event in 2019. DiMaulo does not have that same experience, but he definitely has accomplished a lot in the long jump this season.
Carter expands on how the team is keeping themselves motivated ahead of the regionals.
“I’m going to be honest, a lot of the guys that I brought out are self-motivated, and [Griffith] is one of the biggest examples of that,” Carter said. “They really want this. One of the things about Division III athletes is that no one is paying you to do this and nobody is asking you to do this. You want to be here. It’s really beneficial to have people like that on the team.”
Along with DiMaulo, another key part of the team when it comes to long jumping is freshman long jumper Sidney Whetstone, who also received an NJAC all-first team honor as well as a victory in long jumping at the NJAC Championship. With two great athletes in that event, Carter sees that as a strong point going into regionals.
“[Griffith] is the focal point of us going into regionals, but I think [Whetstone] has a really good chance of placing in the long jump for the women’s side,” Carter said. “I think we should have pretty good times and pretty good finishes this week.”
In the end, Carter does not see a lot of high stakes heading into regionals. He simply wants to see everyone end their season strong, have some fun and show what the Red Hawks are made of. One throw, one step and one jump at a time.