【N.J】 Cross-country: The Magee’s flip a day of remembrance right into a storied custom. – New Jersey News

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The solar was shining, there was a peaceful breeze and the temperatures had been good for a fall morning. It was the right day for the Magee Memorial Class Meet down at Oak Ridge Park in Clark.

To most, it’d simply be one other meet on the calendar, however to the Magee household, the third Saturday in September is a date that they maintain close to and expensive.

Bernard “Bernie” Magee was an influential determine in not simply NJ cross-country, but in addition monitor and discipline to say the least. He labored as an NJSIAA official, however as a religious Catholic, he noticed how poor the game was in NJ Catholic faculties, he felt one thing wanted to be performed.

“They were doing a lot of the meets for free and essentially making things up as they went as opposed to some of the public schools,” stated Ryan Magee, grandson of Bernie Magee who’s a third-generation NJSIAA official and has been so for about 15 years.

Magee, together with different monitor coaches and officers acquired collectively and fashioned the New Jersey Catholic Monitor Convention, the NJCTC, again in 1957.

The NJCTC solely held three meets on the time, with the primary being a category meet, the place every class degree runs separate races.

When Bernie Magee handed away in 1997, the NJCTC immediately renamed the primary meet of the season in his honor, changing into the Bernie Magee Memorial Class Meet. Yearly, Bernie’s spouse, Evelyn , who’s now 94 years younger, fingers out the trophies to the person and group winners along with a photograph.

In 2015, William “Bill” Magee, Bernie Magee’s son and Ryan’s father, handed away. Invoice was the pinnacle cross-country/monitor and discipline coach at Bergen Catholic, along with being a longtime official himself. The meet was renamed to the Magee Memorial Class Meet to honor each Bernie and Invoice.

Bernie Magee Memorial Class Meet, 2015

Bergen Catholic takes images after profitable the 2015 Bernie Magee Memorial Class Meet.

“Rather than mourn them we decided to honor them,” stated Ryan Magee.

He additionally spoke on what it means to him and his household to see how the meet has became considerably of a convention.

“It means everything,” added Magee. “To see teams like North Hunterdon and Union Catholic, who have been top five for both the boys and girls side for a couple of years now, literally means everything. Whoever shows up, shows up of course, but we’re able to have this meet because of the support of the bigger schools and catholic schools.”

“The location of the meet has changed over the years but the fact that these teams keep coming out simply because it’s this particular means a lot,” added Magee.

Magee additionally spoke on groups across the state recognizing his grandfather and father for the legacy they left within the sport.

“It just goes to show that as a state, everyone’s giving back,” added Magee. “Some of the kids might not know, but a lot of coaches and AD’s who have been around knew my father and grandfather and the fact that they still acknowledge them through this meet is everything.”

Now, the Magee Memorial Class Meet is one that’s acknowledged all through the state because the begin to a brand new season, and is the place a few of the state’s finest showcase their expertise.

The Magee household turned the third Saturday in September from a sense of loss to a day of remembrance and honoring their family members by having fun with the game that they themselves liked a lot.

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Bakari Tice could also be reached at btice@versuszone.com.

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