By Jim Lambert
Mike McCabe, Union Catholic’s head track and field coach, added to his legacy as one of the premier high school coaches in the country when he was recently chosen by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association as the New Jersey’s girls track and field coach for this past season.
This is the fourth year that the USTFCCCA has selected a boys and girls Coach of the Year for each state, and McCabe has been honored every year. After being chosen as the N.J. boys Coach of the Year by the USTFCCCA in 2013, McCabe, who completed his 14th year as head coach at UC, has now captured the girls award three straight years.
The award is chosen based on how a team finishes at their state championships, the number of different events in which athletes qualified for the state championships,, individual championships, and how a team stacks up to its performances in previous years.
McCabe, also named the N.J. Girls Coach of the Year by NJ.com, led the Vikings to the No. 1 ranking in the state this past spring and its third straight undefeated campaign. After scoring the most points in the history of the sectional championships (222), UC captured its third straight state Non-Public A championship when it scored in 16 out 18 events to win by 72 points.
Union Catholic, led by the legendary Sydney McLaughlin, also won the swedish relay with a national record time of at the New Balance Nationals in 2:05.93 and also finished with the No. 1 time among N.J. teams in the 4x200 in 1:37.52, the 4x400 in 3:38.92, the shuttle hurdles in 58.74, and the sprint medley relay 3:57.44.
McLaughlin turned in the greatest season in state history this past spring when she capped off the greatest high school career in U.S. high school history..
She lowered her U.S. Junior National and National high school record in the 400 hurdles to 53.83, ran a state record 22.96 in the 200, ran a national record 38.90 in the 300 hurdles, ran the fastest 400 split in high school history (49.85), became the first athlete, male or female, to win the Gatorade National Athlete of the Year in consecutive years, and was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
But there were several other stars in addition to McLaughlin that helped make the Vikings complete perhaps one the greatest track and field team in state history. They included Khamil Evans, Amaya Chadwick, Cassandra Lamadieu, Leena Morant, Jerika Lufrano, Sydney Tucker, Felicia Quianoo, Zamira Ysaac, and Angelique Williams.