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Boys track and field All-Stars: Isaac and Jacob Clark put Pleasantville team on map

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Isaac and Jacob Clark used to have to explain where they were from at big track and field meets.

The Pleasantville High School senior twins met plenty of people who'd never heard of their small hometown in Atlantic County.

Thanks largely in part to the Clark brothers, Pleasantville is on everyone's radar now.

The Clarks helped the Greyhounds to an historic victory at the Penn Relays Carnival and finished first and second in the 800 at the Meet of Champions. They each won South Jersey and state Group II titles.

The Clarks are The Press Track and Field Athletes of the Year.

"You say Pleasantville, they say, 'Where's that at?' You always have to say, near Atlantic City," Isaac said. "Now, everybody knows who we are."

The Clarks were part of the Greyhounds' 4x800 team that became the first local boys team to win a Championship of America race at the Penn Relays in April. Pleasantville finished the race in 7 minutes, 40.71 seconds, to become the first New Jersey school to win the 4x800 since Willingboro in 1983.

Isaac ran a 1:49.57 second leg. Jacob anchored in 1:49.17 and the Greyhounds celebrated the biggest victory of their careers. Jacob's anchor leg was the second-fastest high school boys split in Penn Relays history.

"It was the most heartwarming enjoyment of what we did," Jacob said. "We created history for our school, for our town and not just for Pleasantville alone, but for any other high school in the Cape-Atlantic League."

It was one of the most memorable moments in illustrious careers for the twins. The Meet of Champions provided another lasting memory.

The boys 800 was the meet's most anticipated race, with six runners in the field having run faster than 1:52 this spring.

Isaac won in 1:50.12, breaking his own local record of 1:50.27. Jacob was a close second in 1:50.73.

The 1-2 finish was a fitting send off for the twins, who became known for sticking close together during races.

"We feed off each other. We don't talk during races," Isaac said. "But if I see him do something or he sees me do something, we follow each other. We have that knowledge (of each other)."

Running is in the blood of the Clark twins. Their grandfather and father excelled at it and encouraged the boys to sign up for a track team when they were little.

"I got fascinated with it when I was younger," Isaac said.

The Clarks aren't ready to separate. They will attend South Plainfield College, a junior college in Texas that is a national track and field power.

As they move on to the next chapter of their lives, the Clarks will continue to be each other's toughest competitor and strongest supporter.

"Not many people get to run with their brother in a race. … If you're the best, we can feed off of you," Jacob said. "You have nobody to help you come back. I have him to help me come back."

Team and Coach of the Year

Egg Harbor Township's athletes were tired of finishing second.

The senior-laden Eagles squad was a steady Group IV contender in recent years, but always fell short of its ultimate goal.

That changed on May 25, when EHT won its first-ever South Jersey Group IV championship.

The Eagles, No. 3 in The Press Elite 11, are the boys track and field team of the year.

"We had our sights set on this the entire season," Eagles coach Ryan Smith said of the sectional meet. "To have it culminate in this is great."

Smith pulled senior Curtis Fitzpatrick from the shot put prior to the final round so he could anchor the Eagles' 4x100 relay. The move paid off.

Kofi Yamoah, James Plummer and Fitzpatrick took the top three spots in the shot put. The Eagles also won the relay, pushing them out of the competition's reach.

Smith is The Press Boys Track and Field Coach of the Year.

Contact Brittany Grugan:

609-272-7210

BGrugan@pressofac.com

 

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