Boys’ Sectional Championship Highlights Winter Track Success


Photo courtesy of Patrick Storti

After a successful season last year, the winter track team is looking even better this year with the boys winning the sectional title and the girls’ team having four individual qualifiers for the state meet. Additionally, the future of the team looks bright with a flood of young athletes joining the team this winter.

On February 4th, the Cinnaminson winter track team competed at The Bubble and won the indoor sectional championship with some great performances all around. This is the team’s second indoor sectional championship in school history; the Pirates’ first championship was in 2017.

Despite this great achievement, the team is maintaining its focus and preparing for the state meet happening on February 18 where the Pirates have a chance of possibly winning the state championship. 

Head coach Charlie Kind emphasized that the key to success for the sectional championship and for the upcoming state championship is the team’s ability to keep its composure under pressure.

“Things will go right, and things will go wrong,” Kind said. “We just gotta keep our composure, and go out there and perform to the best of our abilities.”

The indoor team has been dominant over the past six seasons, having been the runner-up twice and winning two sectional championships within that span. 

Furthermore, with an increased number of participants this year, the team’s future shows potential.

“I’d say the season is going pretty well, we’ve had a huge turnout for winter track this year so there are a lot of younger kids who’ve never done track before,” assistant coach Derek Moore said. “…we’ve had some pleasant surprises out of them. I think overall they’re super into it.”

According to Kind, there are currently 55 athletes on the team. The program has never seen a turnout of more than 45 participants. 

Students on the team say the influx of new athletes this year may be due to the more relaxed nature of the sport. As more of an individual sport, newcomers can focus and improve on their own abilities in track.

“I guess people weigh their options, and track is just more of an individual thing, if you’re not as much of a team sport person. You’re just working on yourself, and measuring your own performance,” senior Nick Olson, who decided to join the team this season, said. “That’s kind of the allure of it. It’s more of a relaxed environment. It’s just less pressure and more of working on your own abilities.”

Senior Sam Magin emphasized the importance of the newer athletes trying to expand their views and encourages her teammates to try different events and find their strengths. 

“Try anything, you can’t keep yourself scared in this little box of not wanting to move forward and not wanting to broaden your horizons… if you’re stuck running the same event over and over and over again you could be missing so many opportunities that you may not be looking for,” Magin said.

The number of new athletes this year certainly brings along some changes to the season, but Coach Kind welcomes this change and saind he thinks it can only benefit the program.

“It’s been a change, but it’s been a good thing. It gives us hope for the future, if these young kids are coming in, and can learn from the outstanding seniors,” Kind said. “Just watch, and learn, and work hard. If they can do those things, there’s definitely a lot of hope for the future.”

There are certainly several upperclassmen athletes that the newcomers can look up to. Someone that stands out among the boys is junior high jumper Derrick Robinson. 

“The biggest surprise of the season by far was Derrick Robinson. We did not expect him to go so high so early,” Kind said. “He’s doing really, really well.” 

During the outdoor season last spring, Robinson cleared 6 ft 2in. Currently, Robinson leads the entire state of New Jersey and ranks 15th in the country with a mark of 6-6. In spite of his early success, Robinson’s ambition continues to grow as he looks forward to competing in nationals later in the season.

“I’m excited for states, and I’m excited to go to nationals,” Robinson says, “but my next goal is the school record.”

Senior Malicah Etienne is also having a great season. He is seeded second for the state meet. Along with Etienne, Coach Kind highlights the distance runners for their talent.

“Alex Boyko has been fantastic. He is number one in group two in the mile. He’s doing great. He’s working hard, and looks fantastic,” Kind said. “Matt McCarron is great, and Derek Coceano has been very solid.”

All three of these athletes will be partaking in the state meet. 

On Saturday, February 18th, at The Bubble in Toms River, the Pirates have 12 athletes participating in the state competition. The eight qualifying boys will be competing with a chance to win the boys’ indoor state championship for the first time in school history.