Informtion for this story was submitted by Highland assistant track and field coach Joshua Krowicki.
It took the final event on Thursday night, but the Highland boys indoor track team managed to eke out first place in the NJSIAA Group II Sectional Championship, edging out defending sectional champion Delsea for the title.
The Tartans won the team title in the final event of the night, 4x400m relay. The team of Josh Hackett, Tim Alicea, DaQuan Lindsey and Jamil Jackson finished in second place, a couple seconds ahead of Delsea. The second place finish gave them two more points than Delsea, enough to edge them out 53.4-52.
Highland got a huge boost in the 1600m and 3200m with junior Steve Maine, who earned 18 points between the two races. Maine won the 1600m with a time of 4:24.70, nearly seven seconds better than Delsea senior Nick Costello, who took second.
Maine came up just short of another first place finish in the 3200m, as he finished in second place to Sterling's Jimmy Daniels. However, his time of 9:28.84 was enough to earn his team eight points.
A number of other Tartans also put up numbers that were good enough to qualify them for the Group 2 Championships, which will be held on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 3 p.m. in Toms River. Senior Keith Bianchini and sophomore Ryan Carroll both finished in the top-six of the 1600m along with Maine, qualifying them for the state meet.
Junior Kyle Stinson finished in third place in his first ever attempt at running the 55m dash. His time of 6.88 seconds was enough to send him to next week's state championships.
In addition to helping Highland to second place in the 4x400m relay, Alicea also finished in third in the 800m, sending him to the Group 2 championships in that race.
In the field events, sophomore Chais Hill and junior Kyle Louis each advanced to next weekend's state meet as well. Hill finished second in the high jump on Thursday while Louis finished in a five-way tie in the pole vault.