EAST ORANGE, NJ – In the rich sports history of Essex County, one of the activities that has always been in the spotlight is track and field. Heck, people still talk about the achievements of such talented performers as Columbia’s Joetta Clark, who starred in the late 1970s, and Essex Catholic’s Marty Liquori, who sparkled in the late 1960s.
This spring, the track and field standout from Essex County has been East Orange Campus High School senior Akeem Lindo. In any event that Lindo competed in, he’s been in contention for a first place finish.
Lindo, who will vie in college at North Carolina A&T, particularly stood out at the Essex County Championships in mid-May. Lindo, who is a top student with a 3.9 GPA, led Lance Wigfall’s squad to its fourth straight title. The talented youngster took first in the 110-meter hurdles in the time of 13.89 seconds, and also took first in the 400-meter hurdles with a fine time of 54.18 seconds. For those efforts and other top performances during the month, Lindo is the choice for Worrall Community Newspapers Athlete of the Month in May.
Also given consideration were West Orange girls’ track and field performer Abigail Vital, Glen Ridge girls’ lacrosse player Gretchen Gilmore, Seton Hall Prep lacrosse player Cole Kirst, and Nutley baseball player Marty Higgins.
“When Akeem first came out for our team, you could tell that he was a very determined kid,” said Wigfall, a 2003 EOCHS graduate who was a former State Meet of Champions winner for the Jaguars. “Akeem has always set goals for himself, whether it’s in sports or in the classroom. I think after he graduates from college he wants to become the kind of engineer who designs and builds airplanes.”
Lindo, who is well respected by his teammates, has been a very consistent performer throughout his varsity career in track and field.
“He can help us by picking up big points in several events,” said Wigfall. “And he seems to perform better in the big meets.”
In the Essex County Relays, the Jaguars finished second behind a talented Seton Hall Prep team. But that only made EOCHS more determined to take first once again in the county championships.
Along with Lindo, youngsters like McKinley Smith, Treymont Carter, Al-Tariq Dunson, and Ibrahim Fobay have come up with top efforts for EOCHS.
“We have a close-knit group of kids,” said Wigfall. “In truth, we’re all family when you come right down to it.”
According to the coach, Lindo enjoyed competing in baseball when he was younger. But he’s certainly found his niche in track and field.
“There’s no question that Akeem is a special kind of athlete,” remarked Wigfall, who was pretty good in his time in the 400. “I expect him to do very well in the college ranks.
“But I think being a top student is most important to him. I know Akeem enjoys such classes as math and science.”
NOTES – The previous local Athletes of the Month have been Columbia girls’ swimmer Marie Fagan in January, West Orange wrestler Noah Tandy in February, West Orange girls’ basketball player Mya Bembry in March, and SHP golfer Charlie Smollen in April…. Lindo also excels in the winter in indoor track and field.