“We Have Some Of The Best Athletes In Atlantic County”

Spotlighting ACIT’s Young, But Successful Track and Field Program

Coach Bobby Laws, Tey’ana Ames, TaShyah Sample, Amalinally Pemberton, Javonna Williams, Amiyah Stephens, and Coach John Whaley.

Jameil Quintana, staff writer

Considering other schools in the county, the sports programs at ACIT are very young. Still, the age of a program doesn’t necessarily equate to the success of a program. ACIT’s track program is one example. While only 4 years old, this program has quickly built a strong reputation within the larger track community. One of the biggest qualities that has shaped this program is commitment.
“My greatest [strength] is when it’s time to step up, I step up,” said ACIT junior Theo Sample. Sample is on the ACIT track team and competes in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 4×4, and high jump.
When asked about leading athletes on the team, Head Coach Jeff Boyer couldn’t pick just one.
“This is hard to say,” said Boyer. “We have athletes that do multiple events and do very well in each of them. We have champions on the track, in the field, and relay champions as well. We have some of the best athletes in Atlantic County and the CAL conference.”
One of the CAL conference champions is four-year track athlete Tey’ana Ames. She has won MVP (Most Valuable Player), MIP (Most Improved Player), and 1st Team South Jersey two times. For shot put, Ames is currently ranked second in South Jersey, third in Group 4, and third in New Jersey. For high jump, Ames is second in South Jersey, third in Group 4, and sixth in New Jersey. Ames’ attitude and achievement speaks to the commitment that her coaches have expected of her and her teammates.
“When it comes to track I think no matter what I’ll go back to it,” said Ames. “I’m very consistent and determined to do better than I ever did before.”
One of the biggest joys as a coach is seeing all that hard work pay off and lead to opportunities beyond high school. Coach Boyer said what he enjoys most about the job is “seeing [student athletes] achieve their goals and get offers from college.” Ames plans on attending Rutgers University this fall where she’ll continue her track and field career.
Much of the hard work that goes into these accomplishments didn’t just come from the efforts of Coach Boyer. The effort and commitment from Coach Whaley, who sadly passed away this season, has left a lasting mark on the team and program.
“For me it’s been tough waiting for his calls in the morning, during the afternoon, after practice. Just missing those conversations everyday,” said Coach Boyer.
It’s been an emotional hardship for his athletes as well.
“It gets really hard now and then for some of them who’ve been around Coach [Whaley] for years,” Coach Boyer added. “They look for him every time they step on the track. Just waiting for him to tell them what they need to do, and what they’re going to do. Coach meant so much to all of us.”