OLD TAPPAN — Their coach was in Ireland, accompanying his wife at a wedding where she was in the party. Their senior star was not at Old Tappan either on Saturday, having done all her damage in three Friday events, before being excused for a family function. And their junior potential all-Bergen thrower also had left early, to watch her sister in a softball tournament.
That didn’t leave many members of the Emerson girls track team to celebrate the first-ever Red Littler Bergen County track and field championship title Saturday, but the members of the fourth-place 4-x-400 relay took care of that problem.
“We’re so excited,” said senior co-captain Jackie Morton after the Cavos had held off equally surprising Queen of Peace, 73-63, for the D Division title.
“Coach [Mark Ledgerwood] talked to us before we left to try our hardest and that we had as good a chance as anyone. He always says, ‘Anything can happen in a track meet.’ ’’
In recent seasons, Emerson girls track has meant senior Nicole Piccinich, the 2012 state Group 1 indoor pole vault champion and junior weight star Cheyenne Bellerand, the school record-holder in the shot and discus. And the duo combined for 43 points in the meet before leaving, including a monstrous 41-3 1/2 throw by Bellerand in the shot put, one of 14 records set over the weekend in the four divisions.
But to win the meet, the Cavos needed a surprise second place from Rachel Guevarra in the high jump, a third from Erika Tretner in the shot and a fourth in the discus, a fourth from Quinn Heinrich in the triple jump and a fourth by Harley Finn in the 100.
Trevor Hedges, who served as acting coach along with assistants Andrea LoBue and Nicole Pacciani, was grinning as he said, “We wanted to make sure our kids got their personal bests and we didn’t even fill in all the events. This is great.”