Leake advances to high jump Meet of Champions

By: Sean Moylan
   In all of the most important ways, Northern Burlington County Regional High School girls’ varsity track and field star Latasha Leake did what she came to do at Sunday’s Group III Indoor Track and Field Championships at Princeton’s Jadwin Gym.
   She finished third in the high jump with a leap of 5 feet 2 inches to qualify for the Meet of Champions.
   However, when one is as good as Latasha Leake, one always expects more.
   "She (Leake) came in at five feet. She blew over five feet with no problem. When she cleared five feet she was already in third. Then she blew over five feet two inches with no problem," said longtime NBC head coach Steve Alustiza.
   Leake was actually in great position to win, because she had used only two jumps to clear two heights. However, she just barely missed clearing 5 feet 4 inches, a leap she has made several times in the past. Early in the year, a twisted ankle kept Leake from training the way she normally does.
   However, lately poor weather has become a major factor in Leake’s falling behind in her training.
   "Between the state relays and yesterday (Sunday), we didn’t have a lot of chance to train. Hopefully the weather will stay dry for us," said Coach Alustiza.
   "It’s just a matter of circumstances that couldn’t be helped."
   If Leake can get her outside jumping in, she could medal at the Meet of Champion. She has that kind of talent. Other Greyhounds also attended the Group III Championships.
   Tawny Barin, NBC’s fine distance runner, ran a 5:50 mile. Morgan Golden ran a 7.6 second 55-meter dash while Michelle Reed (2:37) and Allison Cooper (2:45) both ran well in the 800.
   On the boys’ side, Ben Bergen (2:14) and Josh Grossman (2:16) both ran strong half miles. Danny Bowden posted a 5:08 time in the mile and Matt Dunaway ran well in the 55-meter dash.
   "Now what we’ll do for the next couple of weeks is tone it back and do maintenance work (for the spring)," Coach Alustiza added.
   Leake, however, will be training hard to make an impact at the Meet of Champion, which will be held on February 29th.