The 2021 NJSIAA Outdoor Meet of Champions will not be held at Rutgers University and instead we'll be revisiting a long time staple in the meet's history, Frank Jost Field in South Plainfield, NJ.
During the summer it had been announced that the 2021 Outdoor NJSIAA Meet of Champions would be heading to the newly renovated Rutgers University track and field complex.
Unfortunately due to COVID-19 restrictions and concerns for outside parties on Rutgers' campus the NJSIAA has been forced to pivot and will instead hold the Meet of Champions to Frank Jost Field at South Plainfield High School this spring.
"We've had a great working relationship with Coach Bob Farrell of Rutgers University, who wants to host the meet," NJSIAA Assistant Director Bill Bruno stated to NJ MileSplit on Wednesday, "But unfortunately due to the concerns with COVID-19 and high school athletes and parents they are going to have to respectfully decline this year."
The South Plainfield location does come with a long history of its own. Frank Jost Field hosted the Meet of Champions during two previous tenures, a long run from 1984 to 1999 and then a three year stop from 2013 to 2015.
"South Plainfield in the past has been a great host of this meet," Bill Bruno added, "And we're looking forward to our return because we know they do a wonderful job holding a meet of this size."
|Years||MOC Host Site|
|1984-1999||Frank Jost Field, South Plainfield|
|2000-2002||South Brunswick HS, South Brunswick|
|2011-2012||Lombardi Field, Old Bridge|
|2013-2015||Frank Jost Field, South Plainfield|
|2016||Central Regional HS, Bayville|
|2017-2019||Northern Burlington HS, Columbus|
NJ MileSplit also reached out to Bob Farrell, Rutgers University Director of Track & Field and Cross Country, about the move.
"We are extremely excited to host the Meet of Champions in the future! Next year I hope we can host Sectionals, Groups and MOC. I think it's the perfect opportunity for New Jersey and Rutgers," Farrell stated, "I'm a NJ track fan first and foremost and I want to see us have the best possible state championships we can. These athletes deserve the best opportunity they can to continue to show the USA that the best talent continues to pour out of Jersey. We're excited to play a part in that."
The last time the New Jersey visited South Plainfield for the Meet of Champs in 2015 we were watching Sydney McLaughlin leaving the field behind in the hurdles, Briana Gess continuing her 1600m title streak, Alyssa Wilson and Nickolette Dunbar battling in the throws, Rey Rivera taking home his first MOCs title, and so many other New Jersey track greats making history before our eyes.
This move has been another example of how fluid things are now a days, forcing sports to be able to take changes in stride. The positive here is this was just a location change, and the plan is to still hold a Meet of Champions and NJSIAA tournament this spring. A special event New Jersey track and field athletes have been waiting far too long for.