A May 20 high school track meet being investigated by the NJSIAA for being bogus has raised questions about the validity of the same event last year, dubbed the Brick City Invitational.
However, Eddie Greene, the track and field coach for Newark’s West Side High School and the co-founder of the Newark Flames club team, said he was the meet director for the 2017 event.
Greene called this year’s meet a “sham” and insisted the 2017 meet took place.
“I set that meet up,” said Greene. “That meet happened.”
This year’s Brick City Invitational was initially listed online as having been run May 20 in Newark and hosted by the Newark Flames, which also ran the 2017 event.
However, a man who identified himself as Corey Johnson in an interview with NorthJersey.com said that the meet was falsified, along with the results for at least six teams. Johnson said he was the Flames coach and coordinator for the meet.
NJ MileSplit, the time-keeping website for high school track and field events, has scrubbed both the 2017 and 2018 event results from its website.
Although Greene insists the 2017 meet took place, the meet results were never made official by MileSplit, said Robert Kellert, the NJ MileSplit editor. Additionally, the only contact person listed on the meet page, Aaron Brown, denied any knowledge of the meet or any association with the Newark Flames Track club.
“As far as being affiliated with Newark Flames, no I had no affiliation with that,” Brown told NorthJersey.com on Wednesday. “I don’t have any knowledge of it. I never was called about it. I didn’t host the meet.”
Brown’s comments added more uncertainty to an already muddied scenario.
Brown said he was friends with Greene and that they met when Brown was a high school track athlete at St. Benedict’s Prep. Brown said that while he may have been listed as an emergency contact for the 2017 event, he never received any calls regarding entry fees or the meet itself.
Yet, in a phone call Wednesday, Greene initially said that Brown was both the meet director and the contact person for the 2017 Brick City Invitational.
“Last year, he served as the meet director or whatever for the meet,” Greene said. “He served as the meet director.”
In a later conference call on Wednesday with Greene and Brown, Greene retracted his statement and said that Brown was not the meet director and was merely a contact person for the event. When asked about the 2017 event, Greene said it took place and he had collected entry fees from as many as eight teams.
Kellert, the editor of NJ MileSplit, said the online pages for both the 2017 and 2018 meets were posted from Eddie Greene’s NJ MileSplit account. Greene, however, told NJ MileSplit that Johnson had access to his account and posted the 2018 meet page and the falsified results, according to an email from Greene to Kellert on Tuesday.
Greene said he submitted the 2017 Brick City Invitational meet page and the meet results.
The discrepancies between Greene and Brown are the latest in inconsistencies surrounding the Brick City Invitational. On Tuesday, Greene told NorthJersey.com that he had first heard about the May 20 meet on Tuesday morning.
However, Glenda Waxter, the mother of an alleged participant of the May 20 meet, said that Greene had returned her call about the meet early Sunday morning.
Waxter, who worked as an official at the North 1, Group 1 & 4 sectional track meet at Clifton, had noticed the discrepancy between her son’s actual best triple jump mark of 43-8 1/2 that he achieved in winning the 2017 North Non-Public B title and the 45-10 he was given at the 2018 Brick City Invitational that was posted on NJ MileSplit.
She knew he hadn’t competed on May 20.
Some of the performances originally posted for the May 20 meet also included significant personal bests for many of the athletes. The marks would have qualified the athletes for either the championship division or the Emerging Elite division of the New Balance Nationals next month, the national high school outdoor track and field championship meet.
Calls to Larry White, executive director of the NJSIAA, were not returned Wednesday. However, in an email Tuesday, White said submitting fictitious information was both “unacceptable and unsportsmanlike.”
At least six teams were listed as participating in the 2018 meet, including Bard Early College, Benedictine Academy, East Orange Campus, Immaculate Conception of Montclair, Malcolm X Shabazz, Notre Dame, People’s Prep, West Side and Newark Flames.
Athletic directors for Notre Dame, People’s Prep and West Side High School all denied that they fielded teams for the 2018 Brick City Invitational. Meet results also listed Centralville TC and Greater Oaks TC as participants, though neither appears anywhere else on NJ MileSplit.
The NJ MileSplit website lists eight high schools and a club team as having participated in the 2017 Brick City Invitational. The high schools were Bard Early College, Benedictine Academy, CSIHS/McCown of Staten Island, East Orange Campus, New Egypt, Shabazz (entered as Quiet Storm of Newark), Weequahic and West Side. The club team was Cherry Hill Bolts.