EAST ORANGE – Led by talented young athletes, the East Orange Campus High School boys’ outdoor track and field team looks to have another outstanding season this spring.
Lance Wigfall is the new boys’ head coach after serving as an assistant coach under longtime head coach Darren Hammond, who retired at the end of last spring. Wigfall was one of the best boys’ track athletes at EOCHS, winning the 400-meter run at the state outdoor Meet of Champions as a senior in 2003. Hammond, in fact, coached Wigfall.
Wigfall completed his second year as the EOCHS boys’ cross-country head coach this past fall and his first season as the boys’ indoor season coach this past winter.
The Jaguars last spring had an incredible season. They took fourth at the Essex County Relays before taking second at the Super Essex Conference-American Division Championship meet. They then won the team titles at the Essex County Championship meet and state North Jersey Section 2, Group 4 Championship meet.
Leading the Jaguars is Cory Poole. As a sophomore last spring, Poole won the 400-meter run, 110 hurdles and 400-meter hurdles at the Essex County meet. Poole won the same three events at the state sectional meet. Then at the state Group 4 Championship meet, Poole won both hurdle events.
The Jaguars continued their success during the indoor season this winter. They finished second overall at the Essex County Relays and third at the Essex County Championship meet, both at the Jersey City Armory. EOCHS then won the team title at the state North Jersey Section 2, Group 4 Championship meet at the Bennett Center in Toms River.
At the state indoor Meet of Champions at the Bennett Center, EOCHS senior Charon Jenkins tied for ninth in the high jump at 6-foot-2.
To cap the indoor season, Poole finished sixth in the Championship 60-meter hurdles in 7.88; and Jenkins finished 11th in the Emerging Elite triple jump at 44 feet, 3 ¼ inches, during the New Balance Nationals at the New York City Armory, March 11-13. EOCHS sophomore Akeem Lindo also competed at the Nationals, finishing 19th in the preliminaries of the EE 60-meter dash in 7.11.
Wigfall wants to develop the younger athletes in an effort to help his team during the championship meets.
“When it comes to championship season, we will be a stronger team, with the veterans and the up-and-coming guys, because my team is pretty young. I have like five seniors on the whole team. I have to give the younger ones some experience so that we can continue our legacy.”
Other key contributors include such sprinters/hurdlers as junior Willesley Lindo, Akeem’s brother; and sophomore Ibrahim Fobay, sophomore half-miler Immouryi Etienne; and senior jumper Stanley Igbudu. Freshman sprinter Dominick Dazzell also has much potential, said Wigfall.
Though achieving success is nice, Wigfall wants his team to have fun.
“I just want to keep our guys focused and just to continue to have fun and be competitive while we are having fun,” he said. “As long as we are having fun, we’ll be alright.”
The Jaguars enjoyed a great showing at the Kearny Relays in the season opener Saturday, April 2, as Wigfall used his younger athletes in the meet. The boys won the 4×200-meter, 4×400, sprint medley, team spot put and team high jump; and took second in the team long jump. The sprint medley came out of the third heat to win it by two seconds.
Willesley Lindo had a great day as he ran 22.8 in the leadoff 200 leg of the sprint medley; 22.8 on the leadoff of the 4×200 and 48 in the the 4×400. He was named the Most Outstanding Male Athlete of the meet.
The Jaguars will gear up for the Ranger Relays at Wallkill Valley High School on Saturday, April 9.
For the EOCHS girls’ team, under longtime head coach Ron McDonald, the following members comprised the winning shuttle hurdle relays team at the indoor Essex County Relays: seniors Adelia Francis and Mary Pierre-Louis; sophomore Kevaray Gillette; and freshman Mellica Gordon.
The goals for the girls’ team are to achieve some success on the individual level; and advance beyond the state Group meet.
EOCHS schedule, boys and girls
April 9, at Ranger Relays, at Wallkill Valley HS
April 11, at Columbia HS, in Maplewood
April 25, at West Orange HS
May 2, at Millburn HS (boys)
May 3, Mount St. Dominic/Millburn, at Millburn HS (girls)
May 6, Essex County Relays, at Livingston HS
May 7, Frosh-Soph Invitational, at Montclair HS
May 14, Super Essex Championship meet, at Millburn HS
May 20-21, Essex County Championships, at Montclair HS
May 23, East Coast Relays, at Randolph HS
May 27-28, state North Jersey Section 2, Group 4 Championship meet, at Ridge HS, in Basking Ridge
June 3-4, State Group 4 Championships at Egg Harbor HS
June 8, State Meet of Champions at Central Regional HS, in Bayville