With Jayaire King leading the way with two individual state titles, the Willingboro boys are off to a tremendous start in the state Group 1 meet at Franklin Township High.
Willingboro, seeking its first outdoor state title in 15 years, piled up 51 points on Day 1 of the state meet and goes into Saturday with a 31-point lead over second-place Mountain Lakes.
King, who wasn’t among the top three seeds in either race, got the weekend off to a great start for the Chimeras by winning the 400-meter intermediate hurdles in 54.84 and then ran a big PR of 49.76 out of an unseeded heat to win the 400 in a race where the top seven finishers were all from South Jersey.
King is already the first Willingboro boy to double at states since legendary Mike Morrison won the high jump (7-1) and long jump (24-2 3/4) in 2003.
He’s also the first Chimera in the program’s storied history to win the 400 and 400 intermediates at states the same year.
King rarely runs the open 400. His previous PR was a 50.89 to place fifth at the 2017 Burlington County Open. He was only fourth at sectionals in 51.48 and went into states as the No. 9 seed.
King ran in the second of three heats, then held on while the winner of the seeded heat – Woodbury’s Joshua Washington – fell just short of his time with a 49.91.
King was the No. 4 seed in the intermediates. His 400IH PR is a 54.72 from the South Jersey Invitational last month.
Boro senior Emmanuel Lewis III bombed a 160-6 to win the discus by more than 10 feet over another Burlington County Scholastic League thrower, Maple Shade junior Hunter Conover, who threw a personal-best 149-4.
Willingboro added a whopping 16 points in the high jump, with junior Kameron Smith winning at 6-6 and junior Nate Robertson third in 6-4. The duo was broken up by Audubon sophomore Aden Tomeo, who cleared 6-4. Palmyra senior Steven McCoy made it a 1-2-3-4 South Jersey sweep in fourth place with a PR 6-4.
Also for Boro, junior Zaire Clements placed fourth in the 100 in 11.31 for four more points, and senior Elijah Valme took sixth in the 400 in 50.61.