The beat and the beatings continue for the Winslow Township High School girls’ track program. So does the winning, as the Eagles won their sixth-straight state championship.
“We didn’t want to let him down,” Winslow head coach Nikka Brown said about former coach George Horne. “We worked hard to keep this well-oiled machine pushing.”
Horne retired after the indoor season. He was diagnosed with cancer last October. Earlier this week, he text: “Good news … finished up chemo last week and I’m cancer free!.”
“After the indoor season, we definitely wanted to keep that legacy that we had built going,” Brown added. “So we don’t want to let him down and we wanted to keep the system going.
“We had worked hard over the last eight seasons together.”
Under Coach Brown, the Eagles won state title last weekend in Group 3. Winslow coasted to a 31-point margin over second place West Essex with a 73-42 decision.
The spread wasn’t a surprise since the Eagles had stormed to the South Jersey title with 141 points to outdistance silver medalist Mainland (57.50).
“We’ve been blessed with really good athletes,” Brown said.
The latest stars are Tionna Tobias and Shakira Dancy.
Tobias, a junior, set the girls’ state record with a 19-11 ½ gold medal effort in the long jump to break a three decade old mark. The previous record was 19-10 ½ by Claire Connor of Rahway in 1984.
The journey to the state record was marked with challenges as Tobias, who set her previous personal best outdoors with a 19-7 ½ at the Meet of Champions last year, had to overcome injuries this season.
“She works hard, she really works hard and she cares,” Brown said about Tobias. “And after practice, she really works to be one of the best long jumpers in the state. Her work ethic is bar none.
“Over the years she has really studied and is willing to learn more on how to get better.”
Dancy, a senior and a the University of Florida commit, won two golds in the 100 meters with a 11.98 and in the 200 with a 24.33 on the Central Regional track.
“Early in the season, she had a couple of injuries that held her back, but she is finally healthy and she has come back with a fire,” Brown said. “We are excited where she is at.”
Both Tobias (third leg) and Dancy (anchor) teamed on Winslow’s gold medal performances in the 4x100 relay with sophomore Janeya Hammond running leadoff and senior Flora Ahiarakwe running second for a blazing 47.19.
The fleet foursome is the top seed in Saturday’s Meet of Champions at Northern Burlington High School.
The 4x400 relay (Hammond, Ahiarakwe, Nylah Perry and Nicole Hood) also won gold in 3:53.41 for a South Jersey record. In the MofC, Dancy is expected to run in both the 4x100 and 4x400.
“That is the plan,” Brown said about running under 3:50 in the 4x400.
Indeed, the plan has stayed the same at Winslow this year.
“We have two great feeder programs in the township,” Brown said. “They give us athletes and they always seem to step up when the others graduate.”
And so did this year’s Winslow team without Coach Horne.