Willingboro’s Malachi James on Saturday became the 14th South Jersey athlete and the first sophomore in 22 years to win two events at the same Meet of Champions.
With defending 100 and 200 champ Shamali Whittle of Nottingham [10.55, 20.95] and St. Peter’s Fitzroy Ledgister [10.39, 21.29] opting for New Balance Nationals at Franklin Field, two of James’ biggest challengers were absent, and the Chimeras’ sophomore won the 100- and 200-meter dash at the 53rd annual Meet of Champions at Franklin High.
James won the 100 in 10.54 and the 200 in 21.88.
Both races were aided by significant tailwinds, well over the legal allowable limit of 2.0 meters per second for a performance to count for record and all-time list purposes.
The 100 final was aided by a 3.9 wind and his section of the 200 was assisted by a 5.6 wind.
In the 100, James outleaned Fabian France of Bergen Catholic, who was second in 10.55. Kingsway senior Evan Corcoran was 3rd in 10.71. In the 200, East Brunswick’s Jayden Phillip was 2nd in 21.88.
James is the first South Jersey athlete to record a Meet of Champions double win in 10 years, since Fabian Santiago of Oakcrest won the 100 in 10.59 and the 200 in 21.52. He’s the first from Willingboro to record a MoC double win since Carl Lewis won the 100 in a hand-timed 10.5 and the long jump at 23-6 ½ in 1979.
He’s the first Burlington County sophomore to win a Meet of Champions title since Brondon Jenkins of Delran was first in the 200 in 1994 in 21.46.
He’s Willingboro’s first Meet of Champions winner in 15 years, since Antonio Abney won the 400 in 47.35 in 2007.
The only other sophomore to win two events at a Meet of Champions is Glenn DiGiorgio of Bayonne, who won the shot put [61-7 3/4] and discus [184-6] at the 2000 meet at South Brunswick.
Here’s a look at all the M-of-C double winners from South Jersey:
1979 Carl Lewis, Willingboro [100, Long Jump]
1983: Dennis Mitchell, Edgewood [100, 200]
1992 Curtis McIntyre, Bridgeton [200, 400]
1995 Royce Reed, Bridgeton [400 Hurdles, Javelin]
1996 Ron Dayne, Overbrook [Shot, Disc]
1996: Robert Hargrove, Vineland [100, 200]
1997 Fred Sharpe, Paulsboro [400IH, 800]
1997: John Stone, Mainland Regional [100, 200]
1998 Robert Jordan, Millville [High Jump, Long Jump]
1999 Nick Brown, Bridgeton [200, Long Jump]
2002 Todd Dutch, Washington Twp. [100, 200]
2004 Reuben McCoy, Winslow Twp. [400, 400IH]
2012 Fabian Santiago, Oakcrest [100, 200]
2022: Malachi James, Willingboro [