Home Voorhees News Eastern Regional girls winter track sprints for first

Eastern Regional girls winter track sprints for first

Four teammates took top prize in the NJSIAA Group IV Relay Championship shuttle hurdle relays.

Dariyah Corbett-Collier, Abigail Brocco and Jewel Ash reflect on their recent success at a shuttle hurdle relay. Competing against 33 teams, scored first place in the 4×51.5 match. It was not only was the team’s fastest time for Group IV but it was the fastest time in the state period.

Eastern Regional High School’s winter track team broke records at a recent shuttle hurdle relay race.

At the NJSIAA Group IV Relay Championship, the team placed first among 34 teams for the girls 4×51 and a half-meter race, scoring the fastest time for Group IV, as well as the fastest time in the state with a time of 32.33 seconds.

Composed of mostly lowerclassmen, the four teammates, Jewel Ash, Jailya Ash, Abigail Brocco and Dariyah Corbett-Collier, were all relatively new to hurdles before competing in this event.

While the girls knew they were going to give it their all, they did not expect to make Eastern history that night in Toms River.

“We expected to do well,” Corbett-Collier, a junior, said. “But we didn’t expect to come in first.”

The girls have been sprinting since they were in elementary school, but it wasn’t until entering Eastern they realize their full potential.

“High school is where I actually discovered how fast I was and what I want to do,” Brocco, a sophomore, said.

Barry Jackson, coach of sprinters and hurdlers for boys and girls winter track, implements hurdles in all of his training, believing its influence on runners’ mobility benefits them in all realms of the sport, such as balance and coordination.

“Whether they’re new or old to hurdles, my philosophy is — everybody trains hurdles,” Jackson said. “It makes them more mobile and makes their limbs, particularly their legs, more flexible at the hips. Their hips, their legs and their cores are the more important things for a runner.”

The teammates feel Jackson helped to mend any of their insecurities about hurdling before going into the championship that day.

But even before the NJSIAA match, he had been unearthing their untapped track skills.

“Coach Jackson really helped me get better with my speed and technique,” Corbett-Collier said. “Before, I was just going through the motions. I wasn’t really good until I got here.”

Throughout the weeks leading up to the match, Jackson scrutinized the girls’ strengths and weakness to construct the best possible force for that particular match.

For the shuttle relay hurdle, sisters Jewel and Jailya Ash, as well as Brocco and Corbett-Collier presented a strong possibility for success.

“I coach them to basically get better technique. Then I work on their speed,” he said. “When I know a race is coming up, I put a team together.”

Jewel Ash, Abigail Brocco, Jailya Ash and Dariyah Corbett-Collier practice jumping hurdles. They are three of the four teammates who broke Eastern Regional’s records at a recent shuttle hurdle relay.

And while relentless daily training certainly contributed to the success of that championship, the girls attribute their tight-knit bond to the results, as well.

Each say they bring their own personality to the team. While Jewel Ash brings “the brains” to the table, Brocco puts everyone at ease.

“We also have a good school behind us. We’re a family inside of our school but our track team is a family inside of a family,” Corbett-Collier said.

“It just shows that my teammates are here to support me,” added Jailya Ash, a freshman. “And we should encourage each other to get somewhere.”

For shuttle hurdles relay specifically, that intimacy is especially vital, since teammates must rely on one another more so than other track races.

Considering their clinching of first place, the girls’ bond undoubtedly transpired on the track that day.

“(Hurdles) really is a group effort,” Jewel Ash, a sophomore, said. “It’s not just about speed. It’s a team effort.”

The girls, along with Jackson, say they look forward to sectionals, as well as the rest of their high school track careers.

Setting new records is just the start, as some intend to continue track throughout college. But, for now, the girls are simply proud of themselves for the NJSIAA accomplishment.

“It felt great to break a record. I thought (being a freshman) we weren’t going to do as much,” Jailya Ash said. “But, knowing we broke a record — that definitely feels nice.”

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