Eleven Essex County College Grads at 2008 Olympics
Essex County (Newark, NJ) College will have an impressive representation at the Beijing Olympics. Eleven former ECC track standouts, representing four different nations, Jamaica, Grenada, Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago, will participate in the global event beginning August 8.
The Essex Olympic participants include two who were the cornerstones of a pair of National Junior College Athletic Association women’s indoor track titles won by ECC. The Lady Wolverines, coached by Michael Smart won the title in 1997 and again in 2007.
Jamaica has the most ECC representatives including Korine Hinds (Class of 1998), Andrea Bliss (Class of 2001), Kenia Sinclair (Class of 2001), Novlene Williams-
Mills (Class of 2002), Melaine Walker (Class of 2004), and Kerron Stewart (Class of 2005). Williams-Mills won a bronze medal at the olympics in the 4x400- meter relay four years ago.
Grenada’s representatives include Alleyne Francique (Class of 2000), Trish Bartholomew (Class of 2006), and Allison George (Class of 2007). Francique com
peted four years ago and also carried the national flag of Grenada in the opening ceremonies in Athens. George was a member of ECC’s 2007 indoor title, winning both the 55-meter and 200-meter dashes.
Ayanna Hutchinson, a member of the 1997 Essex title, will represent Trinidad & Tobago. Marian Burnett, a member of the Class of 2001, is competing for Guyana.
“Eleven Olympians from one junior college has to be one of the highest representations for a two-year school,” said Smart. “In any event, it’s an outstanding number and very gratifying.” He said Essex frequently has four or five Olympic representatives, but this year is something special.
The events in which the Essex County College graduates are competing in and their major accomplishments while at the school include:
Hinds, a four-time national champion at Essex and the Jamaican national record holder in the 3000-meter steeplechase, the event in which she will compete. This is the first year the women’s steeplechase will be 3000 meters.
Francique, a three-time NJCAA champion and four-time All-American, will compete in the 400-meter dash. He is also a former NCAA national record holder in that even while running for LSU after graduating from Essex.
Walker will compete in the 400 meter intermediate hurdles and the 4x400-meter relay. Walker currently has the number one time in the world for the 400-meter intermediate hurdles and held the national record in the 60-meter hurdles. She was cited for All-American honors at Essex eight times.
Stewart was a three-time All-American at Essex and will compete in the 100 meter and 200-meter dashes and the 4x100-meter relay. She was honored with the Honda Sports Award as the 2007 top collegiate female track and field athlete while a student at Auburn University.