Pleasantville High School track coach Alan Laws was starting to think the elusive state title would never happen.
Well, it finally did Saturday.
The Pleasantville boys won the Group II outdoor state championship held at Central Regional.
“I’m overwhelmed,” Laws said by telephone. “I thank God for all of them. I’ve been praying for this for a long time.”
In Laws’ 18 years as coach at Pleasantville, his teams have never won an outdoor state title. The boys won an indoor championship in 2013.
“We’ve won indoor titles, but there is nothing like winning an outdoor championship,” he said. “To get that under your belt feels really good.”
Groups II, III and Non-Public B competed Friday and Saturday. The top two finishers in each event across each group advance to the Meet of Champions next Saturday at Northern Burlington High School. The next best nine from any of the six enrollment groups at the two-day meets also advance.
Junior sprinter Sahmir Jones and junior middle distance runner Quentin Bundy led the Greyhounds. Jones won state titles Friday in the 100-meter dash and 400, and on Saturday, took second in the 200 (21.98).
Bundy placed fourth in the 800 (1:55.51) on Saturday to go with his second-place finish in the 400 hurdles Friday. Laws also believes his 4x800 relay, which consists of Bundy, Gabriel Moronta, Benjamin Clark and Jensen Nunez, will advance to next weekend after Friday’s fourth-place finish.
“They had magnificent weekends,” Laws said of Jones and Bundy. “They’re team leaders. They feed off of each other and they won’t say it but they compete about who will run the best, the middle distances or the sprinters.”
Wildwood Catholic senior Rakim Coyle and Our Lady of Mercy Academy senior Iyanla Kollock led area competitors in Non-Public B.
Kollock won the girls 200 title in 25.76 seconds for a second straight year.
Kollock won the 100 (12.51) Friday. She said it was “unreal” to cap her final spring season with two state titles.
“It’s just really great,” Kollock said. “It means a lot to me as a senior.”
Kollock, 18, dealt with injuries during the winter season. OLMA coach Lawrence Hickman said that her perseverance this spring showcases her true talent as a runner.
Kollock, a Rutgers University commit, has won two indoor and three outdoor state championships in her career.
“I’m very happy and ecstatic for her,” Hickman said. “She has come a long way. I hate to see her leave. I wish I had another year with her.”
Coyle won the long jump state title (22 feet, 08.25 inches) while teammate Caleb Fields placed second (22-02.25).
“It was an honor. It’s something I’ve been working on my entire track career,” Coyle said. “It felt good because last season I came in second to my teammate Charles Fields.”
Coyle, along with Caleb Fields, Charles Fields and Aiden Saul, won the 4x100 relay (43.66). Charles Fields also won the 200.
“It was only the third time this season they ran it,” Crusaders coach Michael Scythes said. “They ran good legs, kudos to them for pulling it off with little experience.”
Holy Spirit’s Paige Scofield (2:23.21) and Angela Bannan (2:24.87) placed sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 800. Matthew Keidat was fourth in the 800 (2:01.49).
Mainland Regional senior thrower Kobe Roberts won the Group III state title in javelin (190-02).
Roberts trailed Summit’s Dorian Jackson (182-05) the entire day until his last attempt. It was the second week in a row Roberts won the title on a late throw, doing so at the South Jersey meet last Saturday.
“Every throw he got better and better,” Mainland coach Steve Sokal-ski said. “He did the same thing today.”
Mainland’s Kevin Anczak also qualified for the MOC, Sokalski said, finishing ninth in the 3,200 (9:33).
Alexa Gardner, of Hammonton, finished second in the discus with a throw of 116-04.
Basil Williams, Revell Williams, Shamar Love and Taz’Mire Burton led Bridgeton to a second-place finished in the 4x100 relay (42.05). Revell Williams placed second in the boys 200 dash (21.91), while Burton was fifth (22.26).
Lacey Township’s Dylan Breen finished second in the long jump (23-00).
Shaunajah Davis Roberts, Caelyn Richardson, Kierston Johnson and Faa’Khirah Sullivan led Oakcrest to a second-place finish in the 4x100 relay (49.58). Newtown won the title (49.54). Matt Carter was third in the pole vault (13-06), while teammate Myles Carter tied for fifth (13-00).
Mainland Regional’s Claire Pedrick was third in the 200 (24.95).
Middle Township’s Gary Nagle was sixth in the pole vault (12-06).