The legacy one leaves behind is measured, not merely on the back of personal accolades, but how others speak of us; the memories they store away; and the tales they recount later down the line.
Justin Love continued to etch his chapter into the Matawan history books on Saturday morning at the Husky Relays with impressive early season showings in the high jump, as well as the 100 and 400 hurdles events, but the senior’s achievements on the track and in the field seem to come secondary in conversations of late. Not for purposes of gloating, or prideful expectations, but because this individual has evolved beyond the status of “multi-faceted athlete.”
On the surface, Love is the cornerstone of this Huskies track & field organization because he owns a resume with First-Team All-Shore (2012 Spring Track, 2012-13 Winter Track) honors, multiple Monmouth County and Shore Conference championships, and even a Central Jersey Group II title. But as the epitome of “student-athlete”, the collegiate-bound senior has developed a responsibility to his teammates, and a Matawan program he helped restore to prominence.
“Justin’s imprint on this program is monumental,” explained Turner, who is currently in his 29th year at the helm of this Matawan outfit, “and the mark he’s leaving behind goes beyond his performance on the track.
“This past week when we were in the cafeteria, we had some guys struggling with their math work and who’s there leading them through it but Justin. Again, he’s not just a big part of this program athletically, but he’s a true shining example of what being a student-athlete is all about.”
With all the different lures life in high school has to present, how Love has been able to rise above those distractions and focus on his self-appointed leadership obligations is profound and speaks to the character and integrity that has drawn such institutions as Cornell and Notre Dame University to seek out the rising senior’s disciplined approach and strong mental makeup.
“I think it stems from my upbringing and my parents,” said Love. “My mom would always tell me to help out my little sister, because she’s always needs help in school, and would always stress to me to help other people in need. I’ve always felt a responsibility to help others when I can and it’s followed me.”
“Justin cares more his teammates than he does individual goals,” continued Turner. “And every place he’s visited, from Cornell to Notre Dame, wherever, we’ve heard that he’s kind of invisible, meaning he’s part of the group, more than anything else he’s a teammate after the first meeting. “
As far as those college plans go, though Love is leaning toward attending Cornell, Notre Dame is still in the running according the senior, however, he and the Huskies still have business to tend to in this 2013 campaign.
As for the event in Matawan on Saturday, the Matawan boys, followed by Long Branch and Red Bank Regional took 1-2-3 in Division I overall team rankings, while Central Regional, South Plainfield and Colts Neck placed 1-2-3 in Division II. On the girls side, Matawan again won Division I, followed by Holmdel and Barnegat, while Division II went Woodbridge, Ocean Township and Middletown North.