McCurry, a Rowan University junior from Hammonton, ran 9:18.03 for sixth place overall in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Sam Howell Invitational this weekend, a personal best and the No. 7 time so far this year in NCAA Division 3.
His previous steeple PR was 9:36.40 last year when he won the event at the NJCAA Division 3 nationals at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica, N.Y.
McCurry won the unseeded section of the race, and his time was fast enough to place him sixth overall.
McCurry was a four-time NJCAA champion at Gloucester County College, which is now officially known as Rowan College at Gloucester County.
Considering McCurry never placed in states in high school, his emergence on the college level is quite a story.
McCurry had PRs of 1:58.79 and 4:23.24 in high school. Not bad but hardly off the charts. He reached states once, thanks to a third place in the 1,600 in the South Jersey Group 3 meet at Egg Harbor in 2012, behind Chris Marco of Toms River South and Kingsway’s Tom Cooke. He went on to take 10th with a 4:26.86 in a race that produced three sub-4:13 times.
In college, he’s run 4:18.96 in the full mile (fourth in the indoor NJAC meet), 1:55.70 in the 800 (in a an indoor meet in Winston-Salem, N.C.) and 15:07.76 for the 5,000 indoors at Widener.
McCurry is a relative newcomer to the steeplechase, but he’s already only 18 seconds off the school record, 9:00.13 set in 1984 by another former Atlantic County runner — Oakcrest’s Don Deckert. Deckert ran that time leading a 1-2-6 Rowan finish at the 1984 NCAA Division 3 championships at Carlton College in Northfield, Minn.
Bob Rimkis was second (9:00.43) and Lenny Hernandez sixth (9:09.74). Deckert’s twin brother, Ron, won the Division 3 title in the 5,000 (14:13.46) that weekend.
Next for McCurry is the Hopkins/Loyola Invitational at John Hopkins University in Baltimore this weekend.