A day after the accusations that a recent high school track and field meet in Newark never happened, the coach and co-founder of the host track club admitted that he falsified the entire meet to boost athletes’ personal records, according to an email.
In an email to NJ MileSplit, a well-known track and field website and defacto timekeepers for the state’s track and field events, a person who identified himself as Corey Johnson, coach of the Newark Flames Track Club, apologized for falsifying a meet called the Brick City Invitational on May 20.
“Good morning my name is Coach Johnson, I am the track coach and CEO of Newark Flames Track Club,” Johnson said in an email to Robert Kellert, editor for NJ MileSplit. “I am writing to say I apologize for the incident of the falsified meet that was supposedly held on May 20, 2018 at Newark School Stadium.”
The day after NorthJersey.com reported that a complaint was lodged by the parent of one of the alleged participants, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association is investigating the meet and the veracity of the athletes’ personal records.
“The investigation is ongoing,” Larry White, executive director of the NJSIAA, said. “It would be premature at this point to say anything else.”
Some of the performances originally posted 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.
In many cases, the results posted were far better than what the athletes had done before, including in the Essex County meet two days prior.
The Newark Flames Track Club was listed as the Brick City Invitational host on both Athletic.Net and NJ MileSplit. The Newark Flames is listed on the USA Track and Field website as a non-renewed and non-approved track club.
At least six teams were listed as participating in the 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.
Yet, athletic officials for some of those teams said that not only did they not participate, many had not even heard of the Brick City Invitational.
“Notre Dame never heard of this meet,” Joe McLaughlin, head coach of Notre Dame track and field, said. “And we never entered this meet. Besides, we hosted our own meet that day.”
Athletic directors for Notre Dame, People’s Prep and West Side High School all denied that they fielded teams for the Brick City Invitational. Meet results also listed Centralville TC and Greater Oaks TC as participants, though neither appear anywhere else on NJ Mile Split.