There were a lot of standouts for the Egg Harbor boys this weekend in their triumph in the tough South Jersey Group 4 meet.
Sprinter Trey Henry won one event, placed in another and ran on a second-place relay team. Ahmad Brock picked up four medals. Fifth-seeded Gobi Thurairajah won the 1,600 and medaled in two other events. Anthony Vasquez won the high hurdles with a big PR and medaled on two relay teams.
Mubeen Monodu had a first in the high jump and a second with a huge PR in the triple jump, Josh Cohen a first in the pole vault and Luis Rivera-Turell ran on two scoring relay teams.
But as I kept studying the South Jersey Group 4 results, I kept coming back to EHT junior William Spence.
Guys like Spence are why track and field is the greatest sport in the world.
According to the MileSplit database, Spence didn’t compete much as a freshman in 2017 – he ran 12.01 and 24.38 in the 100 and 200. He ran briefly indoors in 2018 and this past indoor season he ran the 55, placing 16th at sectionals with a 6.94.
This spring, his focus changed to the intermediates, and he raced in four major meets — the Jim Camburn Relays, Bridgeton, the Atlantic County meet and the Cape Atlantic Championships — all with times ranging from that 1:01.06 to 1:01.65.
So he went into sectionals with a personal-best of 1:01.06 in the 400-meter intermediates, a time he ran at the Bridgeton Relays back in April. That made him the No. 18 seed Friday.
Think about that.
If you’re the No. 18 seed and everybody runs average, you have to jump 12 guys just to medal.
Spence did even better than that.
In what will probably go unnoticed but may be unprecedented in this year’s sectionals, Spence placed fourth in the intermediates in 57.33, a nearly four-second PR in an event where PRs generally come in small doses.
Racing by himself in the third of five sections, he finished only 37-100ths of a second out of second place.
Those four points weren’t the difference between Egg Harbor winning the sectional title and not winning it, but it’s an inspirational performance that speaks volumes about the Egg Harbor coaches and about Spence himself.
Spence also PR’d in the 400 with a 51.55 and ran on Egg Harbor’s third-place 1,600-meter relay team, which ran 3:26.03 (and was the No. 7 seed).
Egg Harbor won its third sectional title this weekend at Washington Township, outscoring Jackson 95-89, with Rancocas Valley third with 85 points in a tremendous three-way team battle.
EHT also won South Jersey Group 4 on its home track in 2013 and 2017. South Jersey Group 4 is generally the most competitive public school section in the state, which helps explain why 11 different schools have won the title in the last 15 years and nobody has repeated in SJ-4 since Winslow in 2003 and 2004.
Let’s take a more detailed look at some of EHT’s big guns over the weekend:
TREY HENRY: In his first season of outdoor track, the senior former baseball player won the 100 in 11.00, placed fifth in the 200 in 22.56 and ran on the second-place 4-by-1 team, which ran 43.02.
GOBI THURAIRAJAH: Surprise winner in the 1,600 with a big PR of 4:20.44 — he had only broken 4:30 once, and that was a 4:26.93 at the Atlantic County Meet. The senior also took third in the 3,200 in 9:40.21 and ran on the fourth-place 3,200-meter relay team, which ran 8:11.17.
MUBEEN MOMODU: Huge day for Momodu, who won the high jump at 6-2 and went 47-9 for second in one of the greatest triple jump competitions in South Jersey history. You can read more about that competition here.
JOSHUA COHEN: The senior followed his indoor sectional pole vault title with an outdoor title at 13-6.
ANTHONY VAZQUEZ: Big weekend for the junior, who PR’d with a 14.54 for the win in the highs and ran on the 4-by-1 and 4-by-4.
AHMAD BROCK: A sophomore, Brock jumped 43-10 3/4 for fourth in the triple jump and ran 11.27 for sixth in the 100 and ran on both the 4-by-1 team and the third-place 4-by-4.
LUIS RIVERA-TURELL: The senior ran key legs on both the second-place 4-by-1 and third-place 4-by-4.
MICHAEL CARFAGNO: The junior took fifth in the discus with a throw of 141-10, a nine-foot PR and a 14-foot season-best.
LUKE BARNES, MICHAEL MIRVILLE AND AIDAN WINKLER: Barnes, a senior, and Mirville and Winkler, sophomores, joined Thurairajah on the fourth-place 4-by-800 team.