The Men's and Women's Track and Field teams of Union County College competed in its first ever Region XIX Championships at the Newark Public Schools Stadium in Newark, NJ on May 2nd and 3rd. Both teams performed beyond expectations with the Men's team falling just short of taking home the title, which was won by Gloucester County College (218 points) to Union's 168 points. The Women's team led by Tamoya Brown (Elizabeth HS/Elizabeth, NJ) placed 3rd overall with 68 points.
Both teams remained competitive by taking home a lion's share of gold and silver medals which paced both teams to their respective finishes. The Men's team was led by Sprinter/Jumper Savonn Maye (Jonathan Dayton HS/Springfield, NJ) who was the Team MVP for the championships winning 3 individual championships (Long Jump, Triple Jump, and High Jump) and was the 2nd leg on the Gold medal 4x100 relay. The Men's sprint group led by sophomores Edward Kosso (Plainfield HS/Plainfield, NJ), Issac "Ice" Kalema (New Fairfield HS, CT/Elizabeth, NJ) and Immanuel Edobi (Union HS/Union, NJ) swept the Men's 200 meter dash and finished 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in the Men's 100 meter dash respectively.
The Owls newly formed Field Event group remained at the top of the NJCAA Division III National rankings led by freshman Samard Walker (Abraham Lincoln HS/Jersey City, NJ), who won 2 individual Gold medals by winning the Shot Put and Discus. He remains the heavy favorite to win the Nationals this week in Utica, NY. The Jumpers helped support the cause by placing 2nd, 4th and 5th in the Long and Triple Jumps led by Freshmen Shane King (Elizabeth HS/Elizabeth, NJ), Brian Flores (Union HS/Union, NJ) and Lekan Omole (Rahway HS/Rahway, NJ). King has qualified for nationals in his last meet and is currently ranked 9th after suffering a hamstring injury earlier in the season.
The Women's team faced an uphill battle but performed in stellar fashion led by Sprinter/Jumper Tamoya Brown. Brown earned 3 Gold medals in the Long Jump, 100 Hurdles and 400 Intermediate Hurdles as well scoring 30 points for the team. She currently is ranked 1st in the nation in the 100 and 400 meter hurdles events, as well as being the 2nd ranked Long Jumper in the Women's NJCAA Division III. Fellow Sprinter Kenya Newton won 2 individual Gold medals in the 200 and 400 meter dashes, as well as placing 3rd in the 800m run. They were supported by Mid-Distance runner Celeste Simmons who supported the Lady Owls in her two events, 400 Intermediate Hurdles and the 400 meter dash.
Head Coach Jason Mcfall said "Being in our first year of the Region Championship is a new feeling for us. We are undersized as a team, but you can't measure our heart and determination. This speaks in volumes to the commitment of our school, team and coaching staff (Assistant Coach Paul Jones and Petra Semelova) have put in to our craft. We hope to bring back from upstate New York the recognition Union County College truly deserves, being a track and field hotbed in the state of New Jersey."
Both teams will be in action in their last meet of the season, May 8th – 10th at the NJCAA Division III National Championships in Utica, NY hosted by Mohawk Valley and SUNY Delhi. Go Owls!!