Tysean Cousar warms up during the 2016 Meet of Champions. (File photo by Suzette J. Lucas.)

Tysean Cousar has a way of defying the odds when he gets to championship track and field meets.

“This is the time of year when Tysean doesn’t care about seeds,” said Ewing High School boys head coach Matt Dalessio. “He just wants to run as fast and hard as he can, and he can do some crazy things.”

The Blue Devils senior saved his craziest jump for last. He climbed five spots from his seeding to place fourth in the boys 200 meters the Meet of Champions on June 9, and secured his first state championship medal. His 22:03 was a tenth of a second faster than the fifth-place finisher and enabled him to reach a goal he had set pre-meet.

“With Tysean, we throw seeds out the window,” Dalessio said. “Put him on the track and he’s going to run to blow everyone away.”

Cousar started to open eyes last year in a breakout spring season. He was seeded 12th for the boys 200 meters in the Central Jersey Group III championship when he ran to third place and a spot in the Group III state championship. He improved there again, going from seeded sixth to taking fourth to advance to his first Meet of Champions. It set him up for this season, and a return to the MOC.

“I was very confident going in,” Cousar said. “I made it last year so I thought it was a goal to go back-to-back years.”

This year, Cousar didn’t just advance in one event, he competed in three events at the MOC. Cousar qualified in the 100 meters, 200 meters and anchored the 4×100 meters relay. At the MOC, he was set to run with a new lineup of Kyle Latty, Nasir Bland and Rashawn Williams.

“I want us to do really well in the relay,” Cousar said. “I’m also focused on my 200 because I didn’t do as well as I wanted to last year.”

Cousar has proven he belongs among the top sprinters this year. Cousar was fourth in the 200 and sixth in the 100 at the Group III state meet to qualify automatically for the MOC as a top-six finisher. And he helped the 4×100 relay to fifth. Ewing also advanced A’irrion Scott to the MOC after the junior finished fourth in high jump. Sending a large contingent to the MOC capped quite a season for the Blue Devils.

“We improved a lot over the past couple years,” Cousar said. “This is everybody’s best season so far. Last year, it was me and another girl that went to Meet of Champs. This year it’s us and five guys going to Meet of Champs so that’s pretty cool. We improved a lot.”

Chibuzo Amonu highlighted the Ewing girls season when she won the discus in the Group III state championship and placed sixth in the shot put to make it to the MOC in both events for Ewing girls head coach Megan Soltysik’s squad.

“She PR’d (personal record) at 122-8 in the discus,” Dalessio said. “We’ve been working with her. She’s been a little down in the shot put, and she can have a big day in the shot and the disc (at MOC). We’re very proud of the whole program.”

Amonu placed 13th in the shot put and 22nd in the discus at the MOC. Ewing expected to be improved on the boys side this year. Their results rewarded their confidence.

‘At first, I didn’t really think I could make it far at track. Then I realized how good I was.’

“We’ve had a very good season for us this year,” Dalessio said. “Coming off last year where we came away with one medal in the county meet and one advancer to states, to jump up to fourth at counties, fourth at states, the 4×1 team on to the Meet of Champions, a high jumper on to Meet of Champions, Tysean doing his thing, we’re very happy with where we are this year.”

The boys did not graduate a large senior class and they added some top-notch athletes to the program this year. Those additions combined with a core of returning athletes that performed like veterans this spring.

“We grew up,” Dalessio said. “We matured. We got some key guys out in Edamiyon Doggett and Stix Gibson as a transfer, and Danny Hill as a transfer in from Georgia, but Kyle Latty grew up a lot and just got incredibly faster in the hurdles, Nasir Bland as a sophomore really grew into his own this year, A’irrion Scott in the high jump is amazing, and our distance team just continued to progress and is looking really good right now. We have a kid, Mohammad Srouji, who is doing good things as a sophomore.”

Cousar has grown steadily since he began running. He has developed into the top sprinter for the Blue Devils over the last two years, and made so much progress that he’s going to continue to compete next year at Wesley College in Delaware. Cousar has run for Ewing for four years, but never would have predicted how important it has become to him.

“At first, I didn’t really think I could make it far at track,” Cousar said. “Then I realized how good I was.”

Cousar was in a support role in his first two seasons before making a big jump last year into an MOC qualifier. He was inspired by receiving a varsity letter at the end of his sophomore year.

He continued to blossom this spring after competing in the winter season for the first time—a testament to his deeper commitment—and saw that pay off. He has personal records of 10.98 for 100 meters from this year’s county meet and 21.70 for the 200 from this year’s sectional effort.

“It was a shock how he progressed,” Dalessio said. “He came out for his freshman year and he was a part of these kids with Rashawn Williams, who we called the Geek Squad. They would giggle all the time, they were a little nerdy, they didn’t really know what they were doing, but they would watch and learn. They saw the fast guys Eashwayne and Kamal Williams back then and see what they would did, and they did their best to mimic what they were doing.”

Dalessio said those runners were ahead of Cousar during his freshman and sophomore years, and he had to fight for a spot in the lineup.

“He wasn’t quite there yet,” the coach said. “His junior year, a lot of the burden of getting us points at dual meets fell on Tysean’s shoulders. He battled all season and did well for us. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough for us to get a lot of dual meet wins, but you could see he was special.”

“When I was a freshman and sophomore, the guys on our team were really good,” Cousar said. “I always wanted to be like them. I just used that as the motivation for me. They did really good at Meet of Champs. One guy (Haughton) placed fourth overall at Meet of Champs two years ago. He was the fastest on our team. I wanted to be like him one day. I guess this year I am.”

Cousar has posted new personal records in all of his events, and says this is easily his best season of high school track. Reaching the MOC in three events cemented his achievements.

“I’ve just been working harder,” he said. “My coaches have been on my back lately a lot because they want me to do good. And since I’m running in college, I want to do really good before I go to college.”

It’s no surprise that Cousar finished his final year with Ewing well. No matter what his seed, no matter what the race, he is known for his strong finishes.

“My coaches think I’m more of a 400 runner,” Cousar said. “I’m good at catching up with people instead of staying with them in the first place. I just gain speed.”