In the span of a week, Aaron Groff has lowered his indoor 3,200 PR from 9:32.33 to 9:16.09.
That is quite a drop.
And there’s a good chance there’s more to come.
Groff, the Cherry Hill East senior, matched up with Freehold Township’s Jake Konig in a terrific battle at the Group 4 state meet this weekend at Toms River, and although Konig edged Groff across the line, Groff set a new indoor or outdoor PR.
Konig won in 9:15.49, with Groff a step behind in 9:16.09. Nobody else in the race broke 9:23.
Groff’s previous PR indoors or outdoors was 9:17.32, set at last year’s outdoor Meet of Champions, where he finished 10th in a very fast race.
Konig’s previous PR came in the same race, a 9:20.26 four spots behind Groff. His previous indoor PR was a 9:31.04 at the Central Jersey Group 4 sectionals.
For Groff, it’s quite a breakthrough with the Meet of Champions and Easterns and possibly nationals still to come.
His time is No. 11 in South Jersey history indoors. Here’s the complete list, using the standard .9942 conversion factor from two miles to 3,200 meters:
- 8:58.81 ….. Jonathan Vitez [Haddonfield], 2010
- 9:11.1y ..… Mike Butynes [Sterling], 1970
- 9:11.2y ..… Mike Elder [Haddon Twp.], 1974
- 9:11.86y … Marc Pelerin [Cherokee], 2002
- 9:11.9y ….. Johnny Englehardt [Willingboro], 1976
- 9:13.33 ….. Michael Rankin [Paul VI], 2010
- 9:13.93 ….. Paul Szulewski [Williamstown], 2011
- 9:14.31 ….. Jimmy Daniels [Sterling], 2013
- 9:15.8y ….. Mike Mantini [Gateway], 1978
- 9:15.82y … Kevin Pumphrey [Highland], 1986
- 9:16.09 ….. Aaron Groff [Cherry Hill East], 2016
Curiously, seven of those 11 times come from Camden County schools, with just four from the rest of South Jersey — two from Burlington County, two from Gloucester County.
Also interesting that of those 11 times, four are from the 1970s, then just two from 1979 through 2009, then five from the last seven years.
Groff is coming off a XC season in which he was a Nike National Cross finalist and third-place finisher at the Meet of Champs with a ridiculous 15:39.
Groff, a serious swimmer earlier in his athletic career, has signed to run for Penn, where he’ll be a freshman in the fall.