You can’t help but wonder: If Luke Petela is running 4:18 unchallenged on a flat track in January, just how fast is he going to run by the end of the winter? What about by the end of the spring?
Petela continued his hot running Friday with a big meet-record 4:18.15 win in the 1,600-meter run at the South Jersey Group 1 meet at the Bubble in Toms River.
It was the first time under 4:20 indoors for Petela, whose time is No. 1 in New Jersey this year and broke the meet record of 4:21.84 set two years ago by Pleasantville’s Jacob Clark.
Petela’s time is also No. 4 nationally and less than two seconds out of first. It’s fastest by a Camden County miler in five years, since Ben Potts of Haddonfield ran 4:16.85 at the 2010 Meet of Champions.
It’s also fourth-fastest ever at any of the indoor sectional meets, second-fastest ever at any of the South Jersey sectionals and fastest in four years.
Here’s a list of the 10-fastest 1,600 performances in sectional history throughout the state:
- 4:14.43 … Curtis Richburg (West Orange), 2010, N1-4 [1st]
- 4:17.12 … Jeramy Elkaim (Livingston), 2010 N1-4 [2nd]
- 4:17.72 … Miles Schoedler (Ocean City), 2011 SJ-3 [1st]
- 4:18.15 … Luke Petela (Haddon Twp.), 2015, SJ-1 [1st]
- 4:18.36 … Brian Leung (WW-P South), 2008, CJ-3 [1st]
- 4:19.52 … Anthony Colasurdo (Lacey Twp.), 2011 SJ-3 [2nd]
- 4:19.84 … Erik Johnson (Ocean City), 2011 SJ-3 [3rd]
- 4:19.96 … Robert Rawls (Triton), 2011 SJ-3 [4th]
- 4:20.55 … Brian Robinson (Millburn), 2010 NJ2-3 [1st]
- 4:20.66 … Tim Ball (Piscataway), 2011 NJ2-4 [1st]
Petela’s previous indoor PR was a 4:25.05 from last year’s Meet of Champions, when he placed 21st after taking second at indoor states.
Outdoors last spring, Petela ran 4:16.55 to win the Camden County title, 4:17.20 to win states and 4:14.39 for second at the Meet of Champs, just behind Kyle Levermore of Don Bosco, who won in 4:13.98.
The South Jersey indoor record is Marc Pelerin’s 4:15.16 for a full mile by Marc Pelerin of Cherokee in 2002. The Camden County record is 4:14.0 full mile by Cherry Hill East’s Marty Ludwikowski in 1975.
Petela led a 1-2 Haddon Township sweep in the 1,600, with junior Owen Long taking second in 4:28.22.
Petela and Long also went 1-2 in outdoor sectionals in the 1,600 and in cross country sectionals at Delsea in November.