Briana Gess got pushed in a race and for once it wasn’t South Jersey rival Alyssa Aldridge doing the pushing.
On Monday evening, Gess and fellow junior Mary Webb of Pennsbury High in Fairless Hills, Bucks County, hooked up in a memorable battle over 3,200 meters at the Varsity Classic over the fast 200-meter banked track at the Armory.
Webb, a 4:59 miler who rarely runs the deuce, went in with a PR of 11:12 from last spring, and Gess went in with a PR of 10:45.12 from outdoor states her freshman year at Egg Harbor.
Gess kept reeling off 80-second laps and finished with a personal-best 10:40.03, with Webb 40 meters back in 10:48.2.
Gess didn’t break the Haddonfield indoor school record – it’s still 10:38.90 by Olympian Erin Donohue in 2001.
But she did move into the No. 6 spot on the all-time South Jersey indoor list and No. 19 in state history indoors.
Her time is also No. 4 in the U.S this year according to the MileSplit national rankings. Webb, who attends the same school as long-time Eagles Pro Bowl cornerback Troy Vincent, holds the No. 1 mark for 3,200 meters in Pennsylvania so far this winter.
Gess has PRs of 2:13.18 for the 800 and 4:45.97 for the 1,600. This was the first serious 3,200 she’s ever run indoors.
Here’s a look at every South Jersey girl that’s run sub-10:50 indoors:
- 10:19.30 … Brittany Sedberry (Ocean City), 2006
- 10:31.06 … Megan Lacy (Cherokee), 2012
- 10:38.11 … Megan Venables (Highland), 2011
- 10:38.90 … Erin Donohue (Haddonfield), 2001
- 10:40.03 … Dina Iacone (Washington Twp.), 2012
- 10:40.80 … Briana Gess (Haddonfield), 2017
- 10:42.06 … Holly Bischof (Bishop Eustace), 2012
- 10:42.42 … Theresa Cattuna (Cherry Hill East), 2007
- 10:42.71 … Chelsea Ley (Kingsway), 2008
- 10:45.20 … Devon Grisbaum (Ocean City), 2015
- 10:46.63 … Erika Kemp (Rancocas Valley), 2013
- 10:46.9 ….. Michelle Rowen (Washington Twp.), 1983
- 10:47.06 … Alyssa Aldridge (Mainland Reg.), 2016
- 10:48.78 … Shelby Cain (Haddonfield), 2014
Sedberry’s seemingly untouchable 10:19, which she ran at the National Scholastic Indoor Championships in 2006, stood as the state record until it was broken by Ashley Higginson.
Gess is a two-time Meet of Champions winner outdoors in the 1,600 and also a former XC Meet of Champions winner. She was a Foot Locker XC finalist this past fall.
Gess also learned this week she’s been selected to run the mile in the Millrose Games at the Armory on Feb. 20.