Scott Copperman of West Milford hasn't been a head coach for very long -- this is only his third year. But he's already shown some innovation in looking to improve and develop his team and the sport by the creating the Highlander Dual Meet Series, which debuted Dec. 27 at the Armory Track and Field Center in New York.
The series, which concludes Jan. 28 at the Armory, matches West Milford, Wayne Valley, Clifton,
Garfield, Vernon, and Middletown North in scored dual meets in 11 indoor events, the nine
standard State meet events, the 200, and the long jump.
"I felt the need to set up a new type of winter meet that would allow large teams to enter all
of their athletes in several events without bankrupting the program, offer competition in a
variety of events at a variety of levels in a limited period of time, and allow teams to compete
as teams rather than individuals," Copperman said before the first meet.
A $700 payment covered each school for both meets and for all athletes in all events. Varsity
and subvarsity heats were set up and the pairings, drawn at the meet, matched Wayne Valley and
the host school, Vernon and Clifton, and Garfield and Middletown North.
The boys meets were won by Vernon, 60-34, over Clifton; Middletown North, 49-41, over Garfield,
and West Milford, 65-30, over Wayne Valley. The girls meets went to the same schools by scores
of 63-28, 48-46, and 69-24, respectively.
"Each team really used the meets differently," said Copperman. "Some went all out to try
and win, some used it as development, and we tried to get ready for [Wednesday's] Northern Hills
"Everyone helped out in the running of the meet and it went pretty smoothly, even though we went
about 45 minutes over our allotted three-hour time. It was a great experience and I really look
forward to the next one."
Medals were awarded only to the best performers of the night in each event.
For the boys, winners included Dan Spoust of West Milford in the 55 hurdles (8.3 seconds), Mike
Rogers of Garfield in the 3,200 (9:59), Matt Winkler of Wayne Valley in the 1,600 (4:38), Sean
Begley of West Milford in the long jump (18-6 1/2), and the Wayne Valley relay team (3:42).
For the girls, Maria Pavkovitch of Garfield won the 1,600 (5:53) and 3,200 (13:01), while Seetha
Maneypanda of Clifton won the 400 (65.1) and 200 (27.9). Corinne Reiser of West Milford took
honors in the high jump (4-10) and long jump (14-5 1/2), Heather Sleece of Clifton won the 800
(2:42.9), and Garfield's Jen Austin took the shot put at 32-9.
Congratulations to Copperman for a unique and interesting concept for winter track.