Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Male Athlete of the Week: St. Jacob Diodonet of West Milford

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Male Athlete of the Week: St. Jacob Diodonet of West Milford

Article excerpt

St. Jacob Diodonet carried the hopes of a former athlete at the State Meet of Champions on Wednesday, but it didn't slow him down.

The West Milford senior, running in Lane 8, won the 400-meter crown in 48.23.

The Record Male Athlete of the Week may have given his school its first Meet of Champions gold medal, but he was focused on sharing the victory with Highlanders assistant coach Brian Leslie.

"He was a tremendous athlete, but never made it to the Meet of Champions," Diodonet said of Leslie, a former All-Passaic County long jumper at West Milford. "When I passed the line, realizing I actually did it, he came up to me. It was the most satisfying hug I ever had from a coach in my life."

In the moments after the victory, Diodonet lent the medal to Leslie -- the man he said was "a great mentor to me the whole season."

"It was nice to see," Diodonet said. "On the back of the medal it had my name on it, my time, the place I finished. It was a big aha moment like, 'We did it! We made it! …

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