Two more outdoor PRs for Deptford grad Kiara Lester of Texas Tech!

Deptford graduate Kiera Lester, a Texas Tech senior, had a fast double this past weekend at the Texas Tech Corky/Crofoot Shootout at Terry & Linda Fuller Track and Field Complex in Lubbock.

Lester placed fourth in the 400 with a time of 53.79 and also ran 23.86 in the 200 with a wind reading of exactly 2.0 meters per second, which makes her performance wind-legal.

Both times are outdoor PRs for Lester, the 2016 Meet of Champions indoor 200 winner.

A terrific double for Lester, a transfer from Penn State.

Her previous outdoor 400 PR was a 53.99 last month in a different meet in Lubbock, and her previous outdoor 200 PR was a 23.98 in April of 2019 in a meet at LSU in Baton Rouge, her junior year at Penn State.

Lester has run 23.71 and 53.37 indoors, the 23.71 in the finals of the Big Ten Championships at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in February of 2019, where she was fourth, and the 53.37 when she won the 400 at the 2020 indoor Big Ten meet at SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.

 

Kingsway grad Stone Caraccio records another fast 800 for Monmouth!

Kingsway graduate Stone Caraccio ran the two-fastest 800s of his life in his last two meets.

Caraccio, a freshman at Monmouth, ran a PR 1:52.32 last weekend in a meet at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., and then ran sub-1:53 again this past weekend with a 1;52.72 in a meet at Rowan University in Glassboro.

Before these two races, Caraccio’s collegiate PR was a 1:55.76 in a meet at Lafayette University in Easton back in March. His overall outdoor PR was a 1:55.30 from 2019 Haddonfield Distance Night, and his lifetime-best was a 1:54.53 in February of 2020 indoors at Ocean Breeze.

Those PRs have all now gone by the wayside, and Caraccio is now No. 10 in Monmouth history, knocking off current teammate James Hoffman, who ran 1:52.36 a few weeks ago, by 4-100ths of a second.

Caraccio is No. 6 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference going into the conference championships this weekend in Lawrenceville. No. 4 on that list is Rancocas Valley graduate Ian Moore, who ran 1:51.98.

New Jersey track and field legend Ed Grant has passed away at 94

The first time I met legendary New Jersey track journalist and historian Ed Grant was at indoor states at Jadwin Gym in the mid-1980s when I first became aware of his New Jersey Track annuals and newsletters.

I bought whatever his most recent annual was that day and was up till 3 a.m. at my apartment in Delanco that night studying every word, every list, every record.

Safe to say that very few people have influenced my work as a journalist as much as Eddie, who maintained a statistical and anecdotal history of New Jersey track that could have filled 20 encyclopedia volumes. I was once putting together an all-time Easterns performance list and asked him if he had any results from before 1970. To my shock, the next time he saw me, he handed me a list of winners going back to 1934.

So much New Jersey track history would have been lost forever if not for Ed’s annuals and newsletters. He dedicated his life to New Jersey track and field and the sport is so much richer for it.

Ed covered 74 consecutive Penn Relays, which is insane when you think about it. It was always fun to see young sports writers pepper him with questions at Penn. It usually went something like this:

“Hey Eddie, is that the first time Hopatcong has won a 4×4 class relay?”

“No, they won it in 1963! They ran 3:31.6 and their anchor, Arnie McNally, moved them up from 6th to 1st in the last 220! Arnie had never run quarter before! He was a javelin thrower, but one of their quarter-milers missed the bus and they threw him in there and he ran 51.9! He went on to run 50.9 at the Sussex County championships and then had a great career at Bimidji State and became an architect in Sweden. He designed the new capital building in Västerås. Have you been to Västerås? Let me tell you about Västerås …”

Etc. You’d never get any work done but you’d always learn something.

I have so many stories about Ed I wouldn’t know where to start.

My favorite was Penn Relays weekend one year probably in the early 1990s. I went back to the Burlington County Times office in Willingboro to write after the meet ended, and I looked in the library and Ed was sitting there writing one of his Star-Ledger stories on a typewriter. I asked what he was doing there and he said he didn’t have time to go back to the Ledger office so he was writing in our office. But he hadn’t asked anyone or set it up. He just showed up, went inside when someone opened the door and found a place to start typing.

My pal Jim Lambert wrote a wonderful look back at Ed’s remarkable life and career, which you can find here: https://nj.milesplit.com/articles/293899/legendary-ed-grant-is-a-new-jersey-track-and-field-treasure

We lost Ed this morning. He was 94. If you’re reading this, then you’re a huge fan of New Jersey track or a former or current runner, coach, official, parent or journalist. You’re connected to this sport we all love in some way, and that means Ed has touched your life in a positive way.

He was one of a kind. There’ll never be anybody else like him.

 

Pennsauken runs #1 4-by-4 in New Jersey with four sophomores!!!

Pennsauken has the fastest 4-by-4 in the state this year and if you think that’s impressive, just wait two years.

Because all four runners are sophomores.

Pennsauken ran 3:22.65 at the Deptford Spartan Relays Saturday, a bit faster than the 3:22.72 Elizabeth ran at the Metuchen Relays last month.

Premier Wynn led off with a 50.53 split, followed by Ejani Shakir’s 50.34 and Kahlil Ali’s 52.92 to set up anchor Bryce Tucker, whose 48.87 anchor gave Pennsauken a close win over Deptford, whose 3:23.32 is No. 3 in the state so far this year.

The time is Pennsauken’s fastest since 2017, when they ran as fast as 3:18.11 and won the state Group 3 title at Northern Burlington with Donte Jamison, Nahzir Russell, Braheem Whitfield and Martin Booker.

All four Pennsauken legs are fast, but Tucker in particular is that hammer that every relay team wants on the anchor leg. He has an 800 PR of 1:56.75 from the 2020 indoor Meet of Champions at Ocean Breeze, a state freshman record. He has yet to run a competitive 800 outdoors.

Tucker’s 800 ability with three quality sprinters means one thing. Watch out when these guys have a chance to run the sprint medley. They’re going to fly.

Nobody keeps freshmen or sophomore relay records, but it’s hard to imagine very many – if any – South Jersey schools have run faster than 3:22.65 with four sophomores.

A look at the remarkable and versatile Floyd Whitaker’s incredible senior year so far

Let’s take a look at the fantastic season multi-talented Highland senior Floyd Whitaker is having.

Whitaker can seemingly excel in any event he tries. And he’s tried a lot.

We know he’s one of the top triple jumpers in the country. He ranked eighth nationally in the triple jump in the last full outdoor season in New Jersey, winning the Meet of Champions at 50-2 1/2 at Northern Burlington – No. 3 in South Jersey history – and then placing eighth at New Balance Nationals in Greensboro, N.C.

But he does a lot more than triple jump.

At this weekend’s Deptford Spartan Relays, Whitaker cleared 6-4 in the high jump, setting an outdoor PR. He did have a 6-6 clearance in the winter of 2020 at the Bubble. That 6-4 is tied for No. 1 in Ne Jersey. Whitaker and Egg Harbor junior Isaiah Glenn are the only South Jersey jumpers to hit 6-4 this spring.

Whitaker has also excelled in the intermediate hurdles this spring. He ran 56.52 to win the event at the Deptford Spartan Relays after recording a PR of 55.87 the previous week at the Metuchen Relays, where he was second to Rumson Fair-Haven’s Joe Agilione, who is No. 1 in the state. Whitaker is No. 1 in South Jersey in the intermediates and No. 5 in the state.

Whitaker has only long jumped twice, with a season-best of 21-5 from Metuchen. He has a PR of 23-5 1/2 from when he won the 2020 indoor Meet of Champions at Ocean Breeze and an outdoor PR of 22-1 from the 2019 state Group 3 meet at Central Regional. Even without focusing on the long jump this spring, Whitaker is No. 9 in the state and No. 3 in South Jersey, behind only Clayton senior Termeir Hill [22-3 1/2 also at Metuchen) and Hammonton junior Connor Wright [21-7 in a dual meet].

Although he’s never done much high hurdling – he entered this season with a 16.30 PR – Whitaker ran 15.54 in a dual meet at Delsea last week in his only try at the 110 highs this spring. Not sure where that ranks because the MileSplit database doesn’t have a lot of dual meet hurdles marks logged, but it’s pretty high up there,.

And of course there’s the triple jump. Whitaker hit a PR of 47-11 1/2 at the Metuchen Relays and 45-10 1/4 in that Delsea dual meet. He’s No. 1 in the state, ahead of Mount Olive’s A.J. McKay, who hit 47-5, also at Metuchen. Whitaker and McKay went 1-2 at the 2020 indoor Meet of Champions – the last Meet of Champions that was held.

Five events. So far. And he’s among the best in the state in all of them. 

Egg Harbor’s Alex Dessoye runs huge 400 PR for Bucknell!

In his final conference meet, Bucknell senior and Egg Harbor Township graduate Alex Dessoye ran a huge 400 PR.

Racing at the Patriot League meet at Army in West Point, N.Y., Dessoyte ran 47.60 to place second to Navy senior Eric Hughey, who won the race in 47.60. Dessoye was only the sixth seed going into the final with a 48.99 in the final.

Dessoye’s PR going into the race was a 48.26 from the 2017 South Jersey Group 4 meet on his home track at Egg Harbor, when he placed a close second to teammate Amir Brock, who ran 48.23. His collegiate best was a 48.62 from the 2019 Patriot League meet at Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. 

His 47.60 is No. 5 in school history, according to the school’s web site.

Click to access MTrackRecordBook2019.pdf

Alex and his brother Robert ran the second and third legs on Bucknell’s 3rd-place 1,600-meter relay team, which ran 3:16.00. Alex also anchored the 3rd-place 400-meter relay team, which ran 41.59.

A massive PR for Stockton’s Darren Wan in latest hammer showdown with NCAA Division 3 #1 Jude Misko of Rutgers-Camden!!!

Jude Misko is the best hammer thrower in NCAA Division 3.

And his rival, Darren Wan, keeps getting closer.

Misko, a senior at Rutgers-Camden from Cherry Hill East, and Wan, a senior at Stockton from Egg Harbor Township High School, are two of the top hammer throwers in the country and they keep bringing the best out of each other in their frequent head-to-head meetings. 

Wan hasn’t beaten Misko yet this spring, but this past weekend at the Osprey Invitational in Galloway Township he came as close as he has yet, falling less than five feet off of another Misko bomb.

Wan threw a massive PR of 190-10, more than 10 feet beyond his previous lifetime best of 180-7, which he threw in a meet at Stockton early last month.

Misko threw 195-8 on his fourth throw to win the event. He had a huge series, with a 191-10 and a 193-2 in addition to the 195-8. On his four legal throws he averaged 191-2.

Wan actually PR’d twice, first with a 182-2 on his fourth throw and then with the 190-10 bomb on his final attempt. He averaged 178-8 on his five legal throws, an average throw just two feet under his previous PR.

Misko is No. 1 in Division 3 with his 200-9 throw from the Philadelphia Metropolitan Collegiate Invitational at Franklin Field last weekend. Wan is now ranked No. 7 in NCAA Division 3.

This is the first time since at least 2012 (as far back as the TFRRS rankings go) that even one NJAC hammer thrower has surpassed 195 feet, and now two have done it.

Misko came into the season with a PR of 179-1, which he set in the spring of 2019 in a meet at Widener University in Chester. He’s broken that three times, as you can see in the comparison below.

Wan’s PR coming into this year was 169-11, which he set at the 2019 New Jersey Athletic Championships at Stockton. He too has PR’d three times this year.

Two of Misko’s PRs this spring have been set in head-to-head matchups with Wan, and all three of Wan’s PRs have been set in head-to-head meetings with Misko.

They’re two of the best in the country, they both went to high school in South Jersey, they’re both throwing in college in South Jersey, and they keep getting better. This is a fun one to keep watching.

Stockton Invite #1, March 26, Galloway Township
Misko: 1st, 190-2 
Wan: 2nd, 174-2

Stockton Invite #2, April 2, Galloway Township
Misko: 1st, 195-5
Wan: 2nd, 180-7

Bill Butler Invitational, April 10, West Chester, Pa.
Misko: DNC
Wan: 1st, 176-4

Stockton Invite #3, April 16, Galloway Township
Misko: DNC
Wan: 1st, 178-5

Bill Fritz Invitational, April 17, Glassboro
Misko: 1st, 184-4
Wan: DNC

Philadelphia Metropolitan Collegiate Invitational, April 24, Philadelphia
Misko: 1st, 200-9
Wan: DNC

Osprey Twilight Invitational, April 30, Galloway Township
Misko: 1st, 195-8
Wan: 2nd, 190-10

Stockton’s Hunter Daly from Florence hits THREE high jump PRs, moves into =#4 in NCAA Division 3!!!

Florence’s Hunter Daly, a junior at Stockton University, recorded a big high jump PR of 6-9 1/2 this weekend at the Osprey Twilight Invitational in Galloway Township.

He actually recorded three PRs in one meet!

Daly’s 6-9 1/2 jump puts him in a tie for the No. 4 spot in the country in NCAA Division 3 and No. 1 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.

Daly’s previous PR was 6-6 3/4, which he first cleared indoors at the 2020 NJAC Championships at Ocean Breeze and then matched outdoors in a meet at West Chester University last month.

Daly entered the competition at 6-0 3/4, which he cleared on his first try. After he cleared 6-2 3/4 on his first attempt to win the meet, he had the bar moved up to a PR 6-7 1/2, which he also cleared on his first try.

He then made 6-8 3/4 and 6-9 1/2 both on his first attempts for his second and third PRs of the day.

After the 6-9 1/2 clearance, he had the bar moved up to 6-10 3/4, where he missed three attempts.

Daly’s high school PR was 6-6 from the 2017 Woodbury Relays. He won the Burlington County Open at Rancocas Valley as a senior and then won the state Group 1 title at Hillsborough.

Stockton’s school record is 6-11 3/4, set in 2006 by Paul Klemic, who was the 2000 Foot Locker National national champion for Mainland Regional, with a clearance of 7-4 1/2. Klemic also holds Stockton’s long jump record at 25-2 at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, from when he won the first of his two consecutive NCAA Division 3 long jump titles.

 

Lenape grad Alexa Woltjen of UNC Wilmington shatters 1,500 PR at CAA Championships!

Lenape graduate Alexa Woltjen, now a sophomore at North Carolina Wilmington, ran a huge 1,500 PR Saturday at the Colonial Athletic Conference Championships at James Madison University’s Sentara Park in Harrisonburg, Va.

After a 4:48.25 in the prelims on Friday, Woltjen ran 4:40.15 in the final. Her time is  No. 7 in Seahawks  history and fastest in five years.

Woltjen’s previous PR was 4:41.19 from a meet in Columbia, S.C., last month. 

Woltjen spent 2019 attending the University of Maryland, where she had a 1,500 PR of 4:46.76 from a meet in Charlottesville.

At Lenape, Woltjen ran 2:17.28 and 5:01.63 and placed seventh in the 2017 Meet of Champions at Northern Burlington.

Sterling grad Jah’mere Beasley runs #1 200 time in NCAA Division 3, ties Rowan record!!!

Rowan freshman Jah’mere Beasley ran the fastest 200 in NCAA Division 3 this year Saturday in Glassboro.

And matched the school record along the way.

Beasley, a Sterling graduate, ran 21.18, and three other Rowan Profs dipped under 22 second as well.

Beasley, racing with a legal wind of +1.7, locked up with Ibrahim Ayorinde and Daniel Duncan of Princeton, Ayorinde winning in 20.88, Duncan clocking 21.06 and Beasley 21.18 at the Fast Times Before Finals at Rowan.

He bumped J.P. Vaught of Centre College in Danville, Ky., who previously held the No. 1 time in Division 3 at 21.25 from a meet at Mount Berry, Ga., back in March.

Beasley’s previous PR was a 21.30, which he ran on the same track last month. He also ran 21.30 at the 2019 Meet of Champions at Northern Burlington.

Beasley tied the school record set by Glassboro High graduate Ali Ejaz in 2012 in the prelims of the NCAA Championships in Claremont, Calif. (Ejaz ran 21.31 for fourth in the final).

https://www.rowanathletics.com/sports/2008/2/26/MTrackRecords.aspx?path=mtrack

His time is fastest by a New Jersey Athletic Conference sprinter in at least 10 years and probably much farther back, but those records aren’t available.

The meet record at the NJAC meet is 21.29, set in 2001 by Vineland High School graduate Robert Hargrove of William Paterson. 

https://njacsports.com/sports/2009/8/13/sidebar_425.aspx?path=motrack

Also under 22 for the Profs were another Sterling graduate, junior Francis Terry [21.77], junior Justin Bishop of Mainland Regional [21.79] and freshman Amara Conte of Ferris High in Jersey City [21.92].

This was Bishop’s first outdoor 200 in more than three years. He ran 22.60 in a meet at Rowan in April of 2018.

Terry and Conte ran in an earlier section than Beasley and Bishop, and their race was slightly wind-aided at 2.1. But they were PRs as well. Terry’s previous PR was 21.82 from a meet in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in April of 2018. This was Conte’s first collegiate 200. His PR at Ferris High was 22.87 at 2019 North 2 Group 3 sectionals at Middletown North.

Beasley tied the school record set by Glassboro High graduate Ali Ejaz in 2012 in the prelims of the NCAA Championships in Claremont, Calif. (Ejaz ran 21.31 for fourth in the final).

https://www.rowanathletics.com/sports/2008/2/26/MTrackRecords.aspx?path=mtrack

If you add up the four 200 times you get 1:26.66. The school record is 1:25.46, set by Rich Forbes, Keith Thomas, Ronald Moore and Willie Lawson at the 1985 Penn Relays, when the school was known as Glassboro State.