Of all her insane accomplishments running for Haddonfield, this one might be the most insane.
Briana Gess, a Foot Locker qualifier and a Meet of Champions winner both on the track and on the trails, destroyed the New Jersey record on the historic 2.5-mile Van Cortland Park cross country course when she won the Eastern race at the 43rd annual Manhattan Invitational.
Gess covered the hilly course near the Bronx Zoo in an astonishing 14:10.4, placing third in the fastest race ever run at Vanny.
Jessica Lawson of Corning East won the race in a course-record 13:53.9, breaking the record of 13:55.3 set in 2007 by Carley Seymour of Central Cambria. Kaitlyn Neal of Fayetteville-Manlius in New York was second in 14:04.6, seventh-fastest time in course history, and Gess was third with the 13th-fastest time in course history.
Gess broke a state record at Van Cortland that had stood for three decades!
In 1985, Karen Ahearn of Bernards ran 14:12.8, and that stood as the New Jersey course record until this past weekend.
Gess also broke her own South Jersey course record of 14:25.6. The top three South Jersey times ever run on the 2.5-mile Vanny course belong to Haddonfield Bulldogs. Vanessa Wright ran 14:30.4 in 2004, and Olympian Erin Donohue ran 14:42.2 in 1998.
Here is a look at the updated all-time New Jersey list at Van Cortland. The list is culled from the all-time list maintained by Kyle Brazeil and posted on the MileSplit New York web site: http://ny.milesplit.com/articles/133682?page=1
All-Time Top 20 New Jersey Van Cortland List
- 14:10.4 … Briana Gess [Haddonfield], 2015
- 14:12.8 … Karen Ahearn [Bernards], 1985
- 14:12.8 … Melanie Thompson [Voorhees], 2008
- 14:13.1 … Janet Smith [J.P. Stevens], 1983
- 14:16.0 … Ashley Higginson [Colts Neck], 2006
- 14:20.7 … Jodie Bilotta [North Hunterdon], 1986
- 14:23.2 … Meg Waldron [Bernards], 1982
- 14:25.5 … Mackenzie Barry [Mendham], 2012
- 14:30.4 … Vanessa Wright [Haddonfield], 2004
- 14:35.8 … Marin Warner [Holmdel], 2014
- 14:37.2 … Anne Marie Letko [North Hunterdon], 1986
- 14:37.3 … Anna Murphy [Oak Knoll], 2007
- 14:37.5 … Cate Guiney [Middletown South], 1998
- 14:37.9 … Megan Curham [Villa Walsh], 2012
- 14:39.0 … Stacy Bilotta [North Hunterdon], 1983
- 14:39.9 … Jill Smith [Southern Regional], 2008
- 14:41.2 … Theresa Gschwind [Summit], 1981
- 14:42.2 … Erin Donohue [Haddonfield], 1998
- 14:42.5 … Devin Grisbaum [Ocean City], 2014
- 14:42.7 … Sarah Pagano [Immaculate Heart], 2008
- 14:43.3 … Jesse Mizzone [Passaic Valley], 2001