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Freehold Township’s Staklinski ends career as Meet of Champions winner

Eric Sucar
Freehold Township high jump standout Stephen Staklinski at Freehold Township High School on June 2.

Stephen Staklinski bid farewell to his athletic career with a New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Meet of Champions (MOC) title.

The senior from Freehold Township High School concluded his career when he captured the boys’ long jump at the MOC June 10 at Northern Burlington County Regional High School.

Staklinski won the championship with a mark of 6-10. With the title, he became the first from Freehold Township to win the long jump title at the MOC.

Senior Jason Thobourne of John F. Kennedy High School in Paterson was second with a mark of 6-8. Sharing third place were Newark West Side High School sophomore James Bell and Trenton Central High School senior Semaj Willis, who each finished at 6-6.

Staklinski had been regularly jumping around the 6-6 mark throughout the season, before reaching a new personal best when it mattered the most at the MOC.

“It has been a tough season, and it is just a great feeling to be able to end my senior year and track and field career like that, with a 6-10 mark, a personal record,” Staklinski said.

Staklinski will end his track and field career with a new personal record and the state championship since he has decided he will not continue athletic competition on the collegiate level.

“It was just a great feeling to be able to end that way and go out with a bang. To be able to look back at it in the future will be great, to know that I did that,” Staklinski said. “Winning the Meet of Champions is definitely the highlight; I will always look back and remember that moment first.”

Staklinski will instead focus on academics when he attends the University of Central Florida. He plans to major in biology with the intention of going pre-med.

His Freehold Township teammate, sophomore Andrew Colbert, tied for sixth in the boys’ high jump with a mark of 6-4.

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