OLD BRIDGE TOWNSHIP - The Oakcrest High School boys and Braheme Days Jr. of Bridgeton did more than just win a race or earn a medal at the outdoor track and field Meet of Champions on Thursday.
They broke long-standing local records.
The Oakcrest foursome of Dean Williams, Reggie Morton, Darnell Charles and Fabian Santiago won the 4x100-meter relay in 41.83 seconds - breaking the mark of 41.9 set by Pleasantville in 1995.
Days finished second in the discus with a throw of 192 feet, 9 inches. Days broke the record of 189-7 set by current Bridgeton assistant coach Ray Wilks also set in 1995.
"I feel like I came up big on a big stage," Days said.
The Meet of Champions features the state's top track and field athletes.
In addition to the Oakcrest boys and Days, Tacquaya Tobias of Our Lady of Mercy Academy (second in the long jump) and Chelsea Vaughan of Southern Regional (second in the pole vault) also excelled.
The meet began at Carl Sandburg Middle School in steamy conditions. Thunderstorms with large bolts of lightning forced officials to postpone the meet around 8 p.m. The final eight events will be run on Monday at the same site.
The Oakcrest boys actually crossed the finish line of the 4x100 relay in second place. East Brunswick nipped them.
The Falcons were not happy with their handoffs. Santiago, who was the anchor leg, got the baton at the back of the pack.
"Every exchange we did was a little behind or a little too early," Santiago said. "I was disappointed when we crossed the finish line, not because we finished second but because of how we ran."
But moments after the race was over, the public address announcer said there might be a disqualification in the race.
"There were rumors going around the finish line that East Brunswick got disqualified or that East Brunswick did something wrong," Santiago said. "I didn't want to believe it."
Officials acted quickly and disqualified East Brunswick for an early handoff on the final exchange.
Oakcrest was the winner.
The victory caps a stellar season for the Falcons, who won the large school 4x100 championship at the Penn Relays Carnival in April.
Since the MOC began in 1969, only one Oakcrest boy - Desmond Powell (1994 110 hurdles) - had won an MOC event.
The best news for Oakcrest is that three of the four runners on the 4x100 team are juniors. Only Williams is a senior.
"We're making his senior year," Santiago said with a smile.
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Days, a sophomore, established himself as one of the state's most promising athletes this spring.
His performance in the discus only enhances that standing.
He finished second in the discus to prohibitive favorite Sam Mattis of East Brunswick, who won with a throw of 207-2.
A win for Days would have been eye-opening, but breaking Wilks' record is almost as good. Days had pointed toward the record since the middle of April when it became apparent it was within his reach.
"This awesome," Days said. "I came into (the meet) hoping to challenge Mattis, not in the sense of beating him or anything. I just wanted to get close to him. I got close."
Wilks is one of the best athletes in Cape-Atlantic League history.
He won the shot put at the 1995 MOC as a Bridgeton senior.
Wilks is currently Bridgeton's throwing coach and works with Days at practice.
The record-breaking throw came on the third of Days' six attempts.
"We were really excited," Days said. "I gave (Wilks) a big hug. It was a really good moment. It's what we worked for all season and it came."
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Tobias, a senior, was one of the busiest athletes at the meet.
She finished second in the long jump with a leap of 18-4.25. Essence Mayers of Lakewood jumped 18-9.25 to win.
Tobias also finished seventh in the 100 dash and finished 17th in the 200 dash. The trials for the 100 and the long jump were held simultaneously.
"It was a very exhausting day," she said. "I was running back forth from the 100, back to the long jump and back to the 100. It was hard on my legs."
Tobias said despite the heat she didn't want to skip any of her events.
"I wanted to do my best in all of them," she said. "I'm not completely satisfied, but I did the best I could do," she said.
Vaughan, a junior, finished second in the pole vault with a height of 11-6. The winner Kayla Polcari of Ridgewood also cleared 11-6 but won because of less misses.
Contact Michael McGarry:
(Winners and locals in the top eight)
400 hurdles - 1. Jermaine Collier, Trenton Central, 52.78
4x100 relay - 1. Oakcrest (Reginald Morton, Darnell Charles, Dean Williams, Fabian Santiago) 41.83
1,600 run - 1. Patrick Rono, Lyndhurst, 4:10.01
100 dash - 1. Damiere Byrd, Timber Creek, 10.41; 5. Fabian Santiago, Oakcrest, 10.88
110 hurdles - 1, Christian Boateng, Old Bridge, 13.95; 7. Jae DeShields, Bridgeton, 14.58
800 run - 1. Patrick Rono, Lyndhurst, 1:50.10
400 dash - 1. Najee Glass, St. Peter's Prep, 46.43
4x800 relay - 1. CBA, 7:46.77
200 dash - 1. Zamir Thomas, Snyder, 21.03
High jump - 1. Rob Weimer, Montgomery, 6-8
Javelin - 1. Kaleb Zuidema, Midland Park, 213-02; 8. Zach Torrell, Lacey Township, 191-0
Triple jump - 1. Dominique Irons, Haddon Heights, 48-4; 4. Ryan North, Southern Regional, 46-11.25
Discus - 1. Sam Mattis, East Brunswick, 207-02; 2. Braheme Days Jr., Bridgeton, 192-09
400 hurdles - 1. Ashley Woodards, Delsea, 1:02.59; 6. Ashley Roman, Buena, 1:03.07
4x100 relay - 1. Piscataway, 47.61
1,600 run - 1. Joelle Amaral, Randolph, 4:54.03; 4. Danielle Levitt, Lacey Township, 5:01.28
100 dash - 1. Myasia Jacobs, Paramus Catholic, 11.47; 7. Tacquaya Tobias, OLMA, 12.40
800 run - Erika Veidis, Sparta, 2:09.86
100 hurdles - 1. Ste'yce McNeil, Winslow, 14.23; 8. Samantha Rodriguez, Southern Regional, 22.46
400 dash - Olivia Baker, Columbia, 54.66;
4x800 relay - 1. Lenape, 9:18.71
200 dash - 1. Myasia Jacobs, Paramus Catholic, 24.01
Long jump - 1. Essence Mayers, Lakewood, 18-9.25; 2. Tacquaya Tobias, OLMA, 18-4.25;
Shot put - 1. Theresa Picciallo, Immaculate Heart, 47-5.5
High jump - 1. Fiona Paladino, Montgomery, 5-8
Discus - 1. Jesse Woodard, Cherokee, 142-05
Pole vault - 1. Kayla Polcari, Ridgewood, 11-6; 2. Chelsea Vaughan, Southern Regional, 11-6