Oakcrest wins relay after DQ at Meet of Champs

Posted: June 09, 2011

MATAWAN, N.J. - Oakcrest's Fabian Santiago had mixed feelings after he heard the good news about the 4x100-meter dash in which he anchored at the NJSIAA Track and Field Meet of Champions on Thursday in Old Bridge.

Although East Brunswick's Alexander Malveaux edged him at the finish line, Oakcrest was declared the winner after East Brunswick was disqualified.

Even better, Oakcrest won in a meet-record time of 41,83 seconds, breaking the mark of 42.22 set by Delsea in 2010.

"I guess I can be happy later," said Santiago, a junior. "I'm not happy because of the [baton] exchanges. We put so much effort into it in practice, and we only run this once."

If Oakcrest, seeded No. 1 in the event, had lost, it would have been the first time all year, according to Santiago. As it turned out, Dean Williams, Reginald Morton, Darnell Charles, and Santiago brought home the gold.

One of only three individuals from South Jersey with a top seed, Timber Creek's Damiere Byrd captured more than the gold when he won the 100 in 10.41. The senior realized a dream come true.

"I felt I had to win the MoC after winning nationals indoors," Byrd said. "I wasn't 100 percent, but I was ready enough to run."

The meet was suspended because of rain and lightning around 8 p.m. Officials said they would meet Friday to discuss resuming the meet.

Bothered by a nagging hamstring in his left leg, Byrd beat his nemesis in the 100, Long Branch's Miles Shuler-Foster, who had won the prelims in 10.68. Byrd was second (10.72) in the prelims.

The two hugged after the final. Byrd said he told Shuler-Foster that they can start talking again. The two friends don't speak to each other during competition.

"In the last 30 meters, I felt him on my left shoulder," Byrd said. "I told myself to stay relaxed and get to top speed."

Byrd's winning time of 10.50 seconds in the Group 3 state meet had lifted him to the top seeding. The South Carolina-bound athlete was the top seed in the 100 last year, too, but he placed second (10.42) to Shuler-Foster (10.39).

Haddon Heights' Dominique Irons surprised lots of people, including himself, when he won the triple jump with a distance of 48 feet, 4 inches. Seeded 10th, Irons broke the state sophomore record of 48-0.

Haddon Heights jumps coach Jabari Higgs said the effort was Irons' best by nearly two feet. He added that Irons also broke the school record of 47-6 set by Chris Rountree in 2009.

Woodbury's Darrell Bush, who last week won the Group 1 state title in the 400 in a meet-record 47.46, was seeded second in the event and placed second to St. Peter's Prep's Najee Glass in 46.95.


Contact staff writer Bill Iezzi at 856-779-3826 or biezzi@phillynews.com.

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