Ever since Riverside fell three points shy of winning its first sectional title last year, the Rams have been plotting out this year’s meet.
Riverside finished second in the Central Jersey Group 1 meet last year with 69 points, three behind Shore Regional.
It’s been quite a resurgence for coach Matt Postell’s Riverside program, which as recently as 2016 scored only six points at the South Jersey Group 1 meet.
The Rams this year not only won the first sectional title in the program’s very long history, they did it it commanding fashion.
Led by Senior Jeanquai Morton, who recorded two firsts and two fourths, the Rams outscored Metuchen 100-72 to win the Central Jersey Group 1 title at Howell.
Riverside has had a proud track history going back almost a century.
The Rams won the second and third Burlington County Open titles — in 1931 and 1932 — and had some tremendous individuals, such as former Burlington County shot put record holder Dean Van Ness in 1970, County Open intermediate hurdles winner Dan Dmochowski in 1982, state Group 1,600 champ Ron Brock in 1991 and triple jump state champ Sean Jimoh in 2008.
But this year’s group was a true team, as evidenced by its performance at sectionals. There were more PRs by the Rams than non-PRs, which is a sign of a well-coached team. One that is peaking at the right time.
Morton, a 1,000-point scorer for Riverside’s basketball team, won the high hurdles in 15.15 and the 400 hurdles in 57.89, shattering his PRs of 15.27 and 58.25. He also jumped 6-0 for fourth in the high jump and 19-9 3/4 for fourth in the long jump.
Senior Emmanuel Harris won the 200 in 22.62 and was second in the triple jump at 42-9, setting PRs in both.
Junior Alex Stockton was second in the intermediates [58.43], fourth in the high hurdles [15.67] and third in the triple jump [PR 41-9 3/4].
Senior Jody Johnson was third in the long jump [19-10 1/4] and fourth in the triple jump [PR 41-9].
Michael Combs and Michael Monteiro went 2-3 in the pole vault, Combs tying his PR of 11-0 and Monteiro clearing 10-6. Monteiro was also sixth in the javelin with a 14-foot PR of 125-8. Freshman Caleb Esposito also scored in the pole vault with a 9-6 clearance.
The team of Harris, Johnson, senior Jordan Lewis and freshman Khy’Jaron Moore ran 45.19 for second in the 400-meter relay.
And the Rams were fifth in the 3,200-meter relay in 8:57.58, with juniors Felipe Viana, Jacob Fink and Judson Souza, along with Combs.
Riverside scored 79 of its 100 points — enough to win the meet — just in the hurdles and jumps. The Rams also scored 10 in the sprints, 10 in the relay and one in the throws.