Point Boro track and fields’ Devin Hart and Riley Larsen are the first to do it.
Hart won the 3,200 meter event [9:03.07] for his sixth Meet of Champions [MOC] title and Larsen cleared 12 feet to win her first MOC title, becoming the first pair of Panthers to win titles at the NJSIAA MOC at Northern Burlington High School on Saturday, June 8.
It is one of the final milestones in their high school careers.
“You can’t write it up any better,” boys head coach Michael Colonna said. “To go home with two Meet of Champions with Riley and Devin, I think it is unbelievable, I am lucky to have them as athletes, lucky to be their coach and I couldn’t ask for two harder workers.”
Hart had a lot on his mind in the two-mile event. With the entire pack right on his heels with about 400m to go, Hart made a move no one could keep up with.
He finished his final lap in under a minute to cross the finish line seven seconds ahead of Mendham’s Jack Stanley, who finished second.
“I was telling myself, ‘Don’t quit, trust your training and go after it,’’ Hart said. “I’ve had people test me in the last lap, the last straight and I wasn’t going to let that happen again.”
Larsen took full advantage of her No. 1 seed in the girls pole vault. She advanced to the final two against the indoor MOC winner, Pingry’s Caroline Dannenbaum.
The two battled until Dannenbaum failed to clear 12 feet 6 inches, giving Larsen the MOC title.
“Going last definitely helped because I could watch people going in front of me and know if she clears the pressure is on and I can do it right now and stay at the top,” Larsen said. “It could of went either way.”
MOC marked the final New Jersey event for both athletes. Hart will run for Stanford University in California next fall and Larsen will vault for the University of Virginia, both Division I programs.
At the end of the day, the two athletes gathered in the infield with their coaches for a photo, an fitting ending to one of the final chapters of their high school careers.
“I was watching her go before my race and everything, saw her win and was like, ‘Now, I have to win,’” Hart said. “The coaches will give you all the tools you need to be as good as you want to be. It’s all up to you.”
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