"I think I could have cleared 5' 9"," said Cook, who after clearing 5' 8" had to attempt 5' 10", which she couldn't quite get over. But she came very close.
"I thought she had it (5' 10")," said Florence head girls' track and field coach Rodney Roberson, who will miss his Brown-bound star. "I think if we had another week or so she might have cleared 5' 10"."
Paul VI's senior Priscilla Frederick, the eventual winner didn't clear 5' 10" either, but she won because she had cleared 5' 6" on her first attempt while Cook didn't bound over that height until her second try.
"My steps were totally off," said Cook, who takes 10 steps to get to the bar. "In my first attempt at 5' 6" I just dragged my leg and hit the bar with my ankle coming over. She (Frederick) won on misses. I kind of wish she cleared 5' 10", but it's nice to have cleared the same height as the winner."
Actually more than a few girls complained about not being able to get their steps down at South Plainfield's nice, but Unorthodoxed, set-up, which Roberson felt was not the greatest. In fact, 22 girls failed to clear the opening height of 5' 2", though for some that would have been a personal record.
"I was kind of good for me that they set the bar at 5' 2" because 5' 2" is where I wanted to start," said Cook, who won the high jump at last year's Meet of Champions with a 5' 6" leap. So while she only placed second this season, she still improved in the high jump.
Cook has made the Meet of Champions every spring season since her sophomore year. And after two years of playing varsity basketball, Cook qualified for the high jump at the Indoor Meet of Champions the past two years. She has won several Sectional and Group I state titles in the event. And she has been Burlington County's best high jumper for over two years. But the reality is Cook is great triple jumper, long jumper and hurdler as well.
At the Meet of Champions, Cook took 32nd place in the triple jump with a mark of 30' 10". But that was not even close to her best triple jump.
Over the past four years, there were many times that Cook carried the Flashes and scored all of their points, especially in the big meets.
But this year and last, Florence was pretty good as a team. It even had a 6-1 record this season.
"We got a lot more kids out for track," said Cook, who is looking forward to college. "It's going to be really cool to be jumping with people with similar abilities. There's a girl on the team from Massachusetts who is already clearing 5' 9"."
Cook, who may major in Economics, welcomes such challenges.
"It's going to be a little more relaxing, but I'm going to miss her," said Roberson, who went with Cook to one big meet after another over the last four years.
With budding stars like Emily Ivins and Kelly Brickowski set to return next season, Florence should be good next season too. However, you can't replace a Anna Cook. Even when Florence didn't have an official girls' varsity track team, she had a lot of Florence people jumping for joy right along with her.
There was only one right way for Donnell "Hercules" Hayden to end his great throwing career at Bordentown Regional High School — and that was to medal at the Meet of Champions, which is exactly what he did.
Hayden hurled the discus 160' 5" to place 6th in that event at Last Wednesday's (June 6) Meet of Champions at South Plainfield High School. That throw was well over 7 feet better than his third place throw in the Group II state meet. Hayden had placed 10th in the discus last season with a throw of 156' 2".
Although he had placed 9th overall in the shot put in the Group I championships, Hayden earned a Meet of Champions wild card spot in that event. It proved to be well-deserved as Hayden placed 10th out of 37 athletes competing in the shot put event at the MoC. The talented senior unleashed a mighty 53' 8 ½" toss. But Hayden's throws in the shot have consistently been over 50 feet this entire season, which is one of the reasons people wanted him to compete at the year's biggest meet.
Senior "Marvelous" Marvin Carter, who first made his name for himself by running with Rob "Super" Novak and others on Bordentown's best 4x400 relay squad ever, ended his tremendous career with the Scotties with a 50.80 second time in the 400 meter dash, which earned him 20th place overall at the Meet of Champions. Carter, who also plays soccer, was a complete joy to cover on and off the track.
After jumping an incredible 17' 7 ½" at the Group II state meet, Bordentown junior Stephanie Hazlett posted a 16' 8 ½" to place 12th in the long jump out of a field of 36 jumpers at the MoC.
Hazlett also qualified for the 110 high hurdles and her 15.73 second time in that event earned her 20th place out of 33 competitors. Hazlett has a knack for rising to the occasion, especially when people start counting her out. So look for big things out of her and the rest of Bordentown's relatively young girls' varsity track and field team next season.
While the Scotties' boys' track and field team may have a tougher time replacing big point scorers like Hayden and Carter, it still has talented young athletes like sprinter Daequan Kim scheduled to return. So Bordentown will probably be competitive once again next season.
While the Florence Township Memorial High School boys' varsity track and field team didn't have anyone place in the top six at last Wednesday's Meet of Champions, the Flashes were never about just one or two great performers.
The 2007 Flashes proved that a team with depth and talented athletes in every event can make a significant impact. That is why they won the Freedom Division with a perfect 8-0 record and performed well in all the Burlington County meets, including the Freedom Divisional meet at Northern Burlington, which they won.
All things considered, this was the best track season in Florence history. And last Wednesday (June 6) at South Plainfield, Kevin Reeder, Matt Belcher, Kevin Linico and Joe Price gave their all one last time.
Linico ran an 11.5 second time to place 17th in the 100 meter dash while Price took 27th place with a time of 11.34 seconds in that race. In the 110 hurdles, Belcher placed 25th overall with a time of 15.29 seconds while Reeder ran a 15.38 second time to take 28th place.
Less than a week before, Reeder had taken third place at the Group I meet in the 110 high hurdles. And the talented Florence senior had placed in four events at Sectionals. He seems to get better and better each week.
"At the track season Kevin Reeder definitely was one of our most dynamic athletes," said Florence head boys' varsity track and field coach Mike Flynn.
Linico (the 200 meter dash), Price (the 100 meter dash), Belcher (110 high hurdles), Jonathan Allen (discus), Kevin Watts (shot put), Chris Salaga (javelin) and Justin Stone (400 meter dash) were all chosen as Freedom Division First Team All-Stars. And the funny thing is that Reeder, D.J.Pittinger and Shaquan Virgil, who were three of the Flashes biggest point scorers this past season, weren't even on that list. That's how deep the team was this past season.
This week, Florence will graduate, Reeder, Virgil, Jim Karwacki (a great distance runner), Jared Schuster, Watts and a few other talented athletes, but Flynn knows his team still has enough left to remain very competitive.
"We'll be decent next year. Everybody loses athletes," said Flynn, who saw several new athletes come out for track this season with the opening of the new field. "But with our record (8-0) and the kind of year we had, we're definitely setting the bar high for next year."
In Title Town, that's always a good thing.
Northern Burlington High boys' varsity track and field star Chris Tomori was ready to compete in the 400 intermediate hurdles event at last Wednesday's (June 6) Meet of Champions at South Plainfield. Unfortunately, the guy who was hurdling next to him wasn't and that fact may have cost the talent NBC junior a shot at placing in the top five.
"He wanted to go out real hard, but the kid next to Chris (Tomori) kept hitting all his hurdles," said NBC head track and field coach Tim Tedesco, who felt it affected Tomori a little psychologically and may have slowed him down a split second. "He still did okay. He got 7th overall."
Tomori ran a 55.47 second time. In the Group III state meet Tomori had posted a 54.54 second time. Tomori just missed qualifying for Nationals by a 10th of a second.
This season Tomori excelled in several events, but the 400 hurdles ended up being his "bread and butter."
Last week when NBC's sophomore superstar Mike Bowden missed qualifying for the Meet of Champions in the 3,200 by one place, it didn't seem right considering the season he had had. Therefore it was great to see Bowden make the MoC 2-mile race as a wild card. Bowden took full advantage of his opportunity, running a school-record 9:29.06 time, which placed him 17th overall in an unbelievable field of runners. Colts Neck's Craig Forys won the race with a mind-boggling 8:52 time.
The great thing about Tedesco is at the beginning of the year he took one look at his team and knew that Bowden, Tomori, Saidu Mustapha, Dave Specca, Matt Melillo and Ben Case were the guys who would do most of the damage. Though he challenged everyone on the team to step up and have a great year.
"Those guys scored 90 percent of our points and everyone but Matt Melillo and Ben Case is coming back next season," noted Tedesco, whose club may have a breakout season next year.