Last glimpse of greatness today in S. Plainfield


Staff Writer

If you’re a fan of track and field, and you haven’t seen Bryant McCombs run in person, take a trip to South Plainfield High School this afternoon.

That’s where McCombs, a senior at Old Bridge High School, will be making his final scholastic appearance in New Jersey, chasing down two (possibly three) titles at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions.

The Texas A&M-bound speedster qualified in two individual events for today’s meet – the 200 and 400 – and will also run the anchor leg for the Knights’ 4×400 relay team, which is the top seed for the event.

Running as a favorite is nothing new for McCombs, the reigning MOC 400 champion and the national indoor 400 champ as a junior. However, he enters the 400 today as the second seed behind Monmouth Regional’s Charles Cox, the Group III champion who toured the track in 47.73 to McCombs’ time of 48.36.

While McCombs looks to defend his 400 title today, he will also likely compete in the 200, where he finished fourth last year at the MOC.

McCombs, who will also compete for a national title in the 400 later this month, qualified in both races at last weekend’s Group IV championships at Egg Harbor, winning the 400 on Friday in 48.36, and coming back on Saturday to win the 200 in 21.80. He also teamed with Allan Lunkenheimer, Paul Racioppi and Sean Davilla to win the 4×400 relay in 3:19.60 to earn the top seed in that event at today’s MOC.

His efforts, along with teammate Jamaar Figueroa’s win in the shot put (55-09) and third-place finish in the discus (160-2), helped lead the Knights to their second straight Group IV title, outscoring second-place Ridgewood, 77-39.

Among the other Knights to score top-six finishes last weekend to advance to today’s MOC were Lunkenheimer (second in the 400, 48.88, and fourth in the 200, 22.37), Jeff St. Florant (second in the triple jump, 44-5 1/4), Matt Ciambrello (sixth in the 3,200, 9:30.56), Ken Cardullo (third in the javelin, 187-0) and Brian Florek (fourth in the javelin, 182-02).

The Knights will certainly be well represented at today’s MOC, where all eyes will be on McCombs’ final assault on the New Jersey record books.

The Metuchen Bulldogs won the Group I championship at Egg Harbor Township, beating out second-place Pennsville, 44-34, after another brilliant performance from Kyle Edmonds and the 4×400 relay team.

Edmonds took second in the 400 hurdles (53.83), then came back on Saturday to take third in the 110 hurdles (14.56) and anchor the 4×400 relay to a win in 3:24.09. Steven Thomas, Dejuan Miller and Mike Saunders ran the first three legs of the event.

Miller and Thomas also advanced to today’s MOC at South Plainfield High School in other events. Miller took second in the 200 (22.53) and sixth in the 100 (11.22), while Thomas took fifth in the 400 (51.33).

Chris Pisano also advanced after taking second in the triple jump (44-0 3/4 and sixth in the 400 hurdles (57.94).

JFK’s Corey Rosenbaum was the feel-good story of the Group II meet at Egg Harbor. The senior was sitting in second place in the triple jump behind Rahedl Savage, of Roselle, going into his final jump on Friday. Needing to surpass 44-10.5 on his final jump, the Mustang soared 45-2 3/4 to claim the gold medal.

In doing so, he kept a promise he made to his 24-year-old brother, Antoine, who was lying in a Philadelphia hospital bed, paralyzed from a gunshot wound suffered two weeks ago while being robbed.

Rosenbaum’s ability to overcome all of the emotions he was experiencing and claim his state title is like something out of a Disney movie – almost too good to be true.

He’ll try to add another chapter to the story later today at the MOC.

His teammate, Terrell Cheatham, did not begin the 800 the way he wanted to, but certainly finished with a flourish this past Saturday. The Greater Middlesex Conference champion found himself in the back of the pack for most of the race, but during the last stretch of the race he came roaring forward to earn a fifth-place finish with his personal best time of 1:57.15.

Several other local athletes will also be competing in South Plainfield today.

Colonia’s Nna Ibeh will race in the 100 after taking fifth (11.09) at the Group III championships Saturday, while St. Joseph’s Carl Luxhoj was second in the long jump (21-6) and triple jump (44-7.75) and teammate Albert Bastien took fifth in the 110 hurdles (15.91) at the Non-Public A meet in South Plainfield on Saturday.

The South Brunswick girls will have two top seeds competing at today’s MOC – Stephanie McIntyre in the triple jump and Indira Morton in the javelin.

McIntyre continued her perfect junior season (she hasn’t lost a triple jump competition all year) by taking home the Group IV title with a jump of 39-7 and 3/4, a meet record and the fourth longest leap in state history on Saturday in Egg Harbor. That was enough to beat Cora Dayon of Trenton (38-1 1/4) and Brittany Gibbs of Old Bridge (37-11 1/2).

McIntyre also took fourth in the long jump (17-0 1/4).

Morton won the javelin with a throw of 139-4, and enters today’s competition as the favorite.

South Brunswick finished seventh as a team at the Group IV meet with 25 points, and also advanced Yesenia Boynton, who took sixth in the 400 (57.72).

Old Bridge’s 4×400 girls relay team of Gibbs, Jazmine Glover, Ashley Gonzalez and Cristine Marquez finished a surprising second (3:53.83) at the Group IV meet, behind Piscataway’s quartet, which ran a 3:51.31. The Lady Knights will be seeded third at today’s MOC, with the Chiefs getting the top seed.

Gonzalez will also compete in the 100 after taking sixth at the Group IV meet in 12.57.

Sayreville also advanced a pair of competitors – Lynn Mayer (sixth in the Group IV high jump, 5-2) and Priscilla Senyah (fifth in the 100 hurdles, 15.16).

Several other GMC competitors will be in action today after qualifying at the Group championships – Metuchen’s Diedre Lippay took fourth in the Group I 1,600 (5:19.47) and sixth in the 800 (2:23.34); teammate Lauren Pisano took fourth in the triple jump (34-4); Bishop Ahr’s Monique Riddick took second in the Non-Public A shot put (39-5.50); J.P. Stevens’ Lataya Dixon took second at the Group IV 100 hurdles (14.49), fifth in the triple jump (37-3) and fifth in the high jump (5-2), where teammate Yasmin Parks was third (5-2).