As a senior captain, Kwabena Appiah’s role on the Stroudsburg boys track and field team was to compete in his three events — the 100 and 200 meters and 4×100 relay — then check in on his teammates who were competing elsewhere.
“Track is a weird sport because everything is so spread out,” Appiah said. “The track is different than the field. And there are jumpers and pole vaulters, too. There’s a lot going on.
“So after I was done with my events I’d go around to see how the throwers were doing and the jumpers. I’d try to motivate them to do their best. As a captain, it was my responsibility to make sure everyone was doing their best for the team.”
Appiah took his duties seriously and did his job extremely well, according to Stroudsburg coach Brett Youngken.
The Mountaineers finished their season with another perfect 11-0 record in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and they won the conference’s championship meet by 48 points. Stroudsburg is The Morning Call’s boys track and field team of the year.
“Our leader by example was Kwabena Appiah,” Youngken said. “He was a crucial part of the boys team, for sure. He was the spiritual leader and very vocal, too. A lot of our younger kids looked up to him.”
Not only was Appiah a team leader, he also was a consistent point-producer in the sprints. He took seventh in the 100 at the EPC championships and placed fourth in the 200.
Of course, Stroudsburg’s strength was its overall balance and depth.
The Mounties had an athlete place among the top eight in 13 of the 15 individual events at the conference meet — and they had several placewinners in many events. In the shot put, for example, Stroudsburg took four of the top eight positions with Nathaniel DeSouza placing second, Kevin Hughes fourth, Corey England seventh and Nazahr Higgins eighth.
Other key contributors included state javelin champion Michael Marsack, Latrell Barnes (sprints), Jordan Villafane (sprints), Dyony Bueno (sprints, jumps), Jahmaal Buckley (sprints, hurdles), Teddy Mostellar (distances), Matthew Bodon (distances), Shaquille Mitchell (jumps), Nick Walter (jumps), Amir Abdelnaby (pole vault), Jake Slomiak (pole vault), Frederick Dudak (throws) and Brian Jasmin (throws).
Certainly, the Mounties won with their strength in numbers.
“The surprise was we welcomed back a couple of boys who hadn’t been out for track in a long time and they made a big impact and provided a lot of the depth we needed,” Youngken said.
“We were motivated,” Appiah said. “Everyone had the same mindset and that was to beat every team we went up against.”