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Essex County College’s historically strong Women’s Track team scored a first with four student-athletes placing in the top three at the recent 46th Colgate Women’s Games. This was the first time the College participated in the Games.
Freshman India Norman led the way for the Lady Wolverines, finishing first in the 55M Hurdles. She was also awarded a $1,000 scholarship from the Colgate-Palmolive Company. Sophomores Aaliyah Gordon came in second in the 800M, and received a $500 educational grant-in-aid. Sophomores Milagros Reyes (800M) and Samara Edward (1500M) each came in third in their respective races and earned $250 awards from Colgate-Palmolive.
The team is coached by Lionel Leach, who said the finals at the New York City Armory were a culmination of a series of heats over the past month. He said the top six qualifiers ran in the finals. They competed against runners from both two and four-year colleges.
“This was a very good experience for me,” said India, a Biology, Pre-Medicine major. “I was nervous and excited before the race began. My heart was pumping but I was fine once I started running.”
Aaliyah expressed disappointment over her second place finish.” But I am grateful for the opportunity to compete in this race,” added the Social Sciences major with the perfect 4.0 grade point average.
Samara had spent the fall playing for the College’s Women’s soccer team. “With soccer, you have your teammates with you. In track it’s up to you,” said the Social Sciences major, adding she enjoys the change of pace between the two sports.
Milagros stopped running last year, so she has had to work her way back up to regain her form on the track. “This wasn’t my best time, but I am proud I was able to still do well” said the Physical Education major.
“We are all very proud of your accomplishments,” said Essex County College’s President, Dr. Anthony E. Munroe. “You have very bright futures, both academically and athletically,” he added.
Coach Leach said the team has several invitational meets prior to the National Junior College Athletic Association Indoor Track & Field Championships in Lynchburg, Virginia. “As a team, we are really looking forward to this year’s Nationals,” he said.
The Colgate Women’s Games is the nation’s largest amateur track series open to all girls from elementary school through college and beyond. The overall goals of the Games is to develop a strong sense of personal achievement, self-esteem, instill the importance of education and provide a training ground for those who might not otherwise participate in an organized sport.