Sterling Pierce entered sectional weekend with PRs of 10.87 and 21.75.
So much for that.
Pierce, Rancocas Valley’s speedy senior, ran three races this weekend and PR’d in each one. Competing at the South Jersey Group 4 sectionals at Egg Harbor Township’s Eagle Stadium, he ran 10.73 in the 100-meter dash trials, 10.72 to win the 100 final and 21.64 to win the 200.
The 10.72 and 21.64 are the fastest times any New Jersey sprinter ran over the weekend at the 18 various sectional meets.
It’s also the fastest 100-200 double in the FAT era at the South Jersey Group 4 meet. The previous fastest was by T.J. Johnson of Egg Harbor, who won the two sprints in 10.75 and 21.68 in 2009.
Pierce, who’ll be a freshman at Villanova this fall, is Rancocas Valley’s first sectional double winner in 11 years and only the third since 1975!
The others were hurdler Edgar Gantt in S.J.-4 in 1998 (14.3 and 54.2 hand-timed) and Ian Waterhouse as a junior in C.J.-4 in 2004 (1:53.2 and 4:19.3).
Pierce, whose father Jack ran for Woodbury High School and was an Olympic bronze medalist in the 110 hurdles at the 1992 Olympics, helped Rancocas Valley win its first sectional title since 1977 with his double win.
He also anchored R.V.’s winning 400-meter relay team, with JeSean Foster, Dyson Scott and Zakiyy Williams, and anchored the Red Devils’ 4-by-4 team, which also included Isaiah Curbelo, Joshua DeJesus and Samuel Keleekai.
RV’s secret weapon over the weekend was tireless senior Diante Bah, who scored 22 points in four events (second in 110HH, third in HJ, third in LJ, fifth in 400IH).
All in all, it was a remarkable performance by Rancocas Valley, whose 136 points are second-most in meet history, behind only Winslow’s 140 in 2003.
The Red Devils scored across the board, with 27 points in the sprints, 22 in the distance races, 10 in the hurdles, 26 in the relays, 30 in the jumps and 19 in the throws.
You don’t cover all the events without a terrific staff, and third-year head coach Jeff Dzuranin has one, with Eric Warren coaching sprints and Matthew Joseph throws. They’re assisted by Damon Petras, a former Lenape athlete under Fred Rucker and currently an RV girls assistant, who works with the horizontal jumpers, and Lonnie Stanley, who helps out with the hurdlers.
To understand how special this year has been for R.V., consider where the program was before Dzuranin and his staff took over in 2013. The program had one dual meet win in two years and had scored 19, 10 and 12 points in the last three County Opens.
Now they’re in position to challenge for the first state title in school history.