IRVINGTON, NJ — Irvington High School senior Cashieve Blair ended his amazing high school track-and-field career at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pa., on Saturday, June 18.
Blair took 17th place in the 400-meter dash in 48.8 seconds.
Blair and IHS senior Zaheem Crawford-Patterson qualified for the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Meet of Champions, which was also on June 18, at Franklin High School in Somerset. Blair decided to skip the Meet of Champions in favor of competing in the nationals.
Crawford-Patterson was supposed to compete in the triple jump at the Meet of Champions but was sidelined because of a knee injury.
Blair won the 400-meter dash and Crawford-Patterson won the triple jump with a school-record 45 feet, 11 ½ inches at the NJSIAA’s Group 4 state championships June 10-11.
At the NJSIAA’s North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 championships at Ridge High School in Basking Ridge June 3-4, Blair won the 100-meter dash in 10.91 and the 400-meter dash in a school-record 47.67, and Crawford-Patterson won the triple jump with a then–school-record 45 feet, 1 ½ inches. Blair also took second in the 200-meter dash, and Crawford-Patterson took sixth place in the high jump at 5-10.
Blair will continue his track career at St. Peter’s University on an athletic scholarship.
“He is just a workhorse,” said IHS boys head track coach Marvin Hawkins of Blair. “He will go down as one of the best sprinters in school history, and that is saying a lot, because we have had a lot of great sprinters.”
Blair played soccer for IHS in his freshman year and took up track and field the following spring. Since then, he dropped soccer and competed only in track.
In a phone interview with the Irvington Herald, Blair reflected on his career and the guidance he received from Hawkins.
“It was one of the best times I’ve ever had in high school,” he said. “Coach Hawkins is one of the best coaches in the history of Irvington High School. He’s not like a pushy coach. His athletes reflect what he does — he is calm; he’s hard-working. He has helped me a lot, not just physically, but mentally. Before a meet, he always tells me, ‘Just do your job, just go out there and run your own race.’”
Blair also is looking forward to his track career at St. Peter’s University on an athletic scholarship. “I want to make it to the nationals as a freshman.”
Crawford-Patterson, who was a key wide receiver on the state championship IHS football team last fall, will continue his football career at the University of Maine on a football scholarship.
In the 2021 outdoor season, Crawford-Patterson joined the track team two weeks before the North 2, Group 3 sectionals, at which he and Blair led the Blue Knights to the team title.
Hawkins also praised Crawford-Patterson.
“He is just a natural talent,” Hawkins said.
Photos Courtesy of Marvin Hawkins and Felicia Laguerre Owens.