Bria Mack became one of NJ’s top sprinters ever during remarkable 2016 season!

Williamstown’s Bria Mack capped her junior year with her first career Meet of Champions title, and it was the highlight of a remarkable season.

Mack had six previous top-10 finishes in a Meet of Champions, including a second in the 100 last spring behind Union’s Daisha Bisiolu. But this time she wouldn’t be denied.

After an 11.82 in the trials Mack ran 11.87 in the finals, finishing a comfortable 1 1/2 meters ahead of Kaitlin Salisbury of Hawthorne, who ran 12.01 in the final after an 11.96 in the trials.

Mack’s victory came 20 years after another Williamstown sprinter, Dana Burnett, won the Meet of Champions 100 in 11.85.

The makes Williamstown the sixth school with more than one Meet of Champions 100 winner. The others are Woodbury, Weequahic, Montclair, Franklin and Columbia.

South Jersey girls won the Meet of Champions 100-yard dash or 100-meter dash (since 1979) 11 of the first 12 years the Meet of Champs existed but had just seven of the past 29 years before Mack’s victory this year.

Here’s a list of every Meet of Champions 100 winner in history:

1975 … Vonnie Coker (Woodbury) 11.1
1976 … Sharon Johnson (Haddon His) 11.0
1977 … Lori Lewis (Woodbury) 11.1
1978 … Michele Glover (Pennsauken) 10.7
1979 … Pat Dunlap (Camden) 11.5 [100 meters]
1980 … Michele Glover (Willingboro) 11.6
1981 … Michele Glover (Willingboro) 11.5
1982 … Denise Mitchell (Edgewood) 12.2
1983 … Wendy Vereen (Trenton) 11.3
1984 … Denise Liles (Kingsway) 11.9
1985 … Andrea Conaway (Bordentown) 12.1
1986 … Denise Liles (Kingsway) 11.9
1987 … Neretta Freeman (Garfield) 12.52
1988 … Roxanne Francis (Weequahic) 12.16
1989 … Gilly Dishon (Tenafly) 12.36
1990 … Regina Trotter (Weequahic) 11.95
1991 … Regina Trotter (Weequahic) 12.05
1992 … Staci Jordan (Orange) 12.11
1993 … Inshallah Saunders (Plainfield) 11.98
1994 … Nicole Carmichael (Kennedy) 12.04
1995 … Nicole Carmichael (Kennedy) 11.80
1996 … Dana Burnett (Williamstown) 11.85
1997 … Aleah Williams (Montclair) 11.91
1998 … Melisa Barber (Montclair) 11.57w
1999 … Aleah Williams (Montclair) 11.65
2000 … Amandi Rhett (Moorestown) 11.61w
2001 … Kimberly Lyles (Franklin) 11.94w
2002 … Jenna Harris (Franklin) 11.96
2003 … Jenna Harris (Franklin) 11.74
2004 … Jamillah Nock (Wilson) 11.96
2005 … Ogechi Nwaneri (Columbia) 11.99
2006 … Ogechi Nwaneri (Chatham) 11.66
2007 … English Gardner (Eastern) 11.62
2008 … English Gardner (Eastern) 11.88
2009 … Myasia Jacobs (Paramus Catholic) 11.72
2010 … Myasia Jacobs (Paramus Catholic) 11.48
2011 … Myasia Jacobs (Paramus Catholic) 11.47
2012 … Annie Johnson (Shawnee) 11.82
2013 … Olivia Baker (Columbia)) 12.05
2014 … Torie Robinson (Winslow)) 11.73
2015 … Haisha Bisioulu (Union) 12.04
2016 … Bria Mack (Williamstown) 11.87

And here’s a look at the all-time Meet of Champions performance list, with Mack checking in as the No. 15 performer of all-time with her 11.82 in the trials on the Central Regional track in Wayville. (Note that the Meet of Champions all-time performance lists are a joint project of me and Jim Lambert)

 

 

  • 11.47            Myasia Jacobs (Paramus Catholic), 2011 (1)
  • 11.48            …… Jacobs, 2010 (1)
  • 11.5               Wendy Vereen (Trenton), 1983 (1)
  • 11.56            English Gardner (Eastern), 2010 (2)
  • 11.57            Me’Lisa Barber (Montclair), 1998 (1)
  • 11.61            Amanda Rhett (Moorestown), 2000 (1)
  • 11.62            …… Gardner, 2007 (1)
  • 11.62            …… Jacobs, 2011 (q)
  • 11.66            Ogechi Nwaneri (Chatham), 2006 (1)
  • 11.68            Aleah Williams (Montclair), 1999 (1)
  • 11.68            Shavon Greaves (Lakewood), 2007 (2)
  • 11.72            …… Jacobs, 2009 (1)
  • 11.73            Torie Robinson (Winslow), 2014 (1)
  • 11.74            Jenna Harris (Franklin), 2003 (1)
  • 11.74            Michele Glover (Willingboro), 1981 (1)
  • 11.74            Patti Dunlap (Camden), 1979 (1)
  • 11.76            Shameka Speed (Bridgeton), 2003 (2)
  • 11.77            Aisha Morgan (Schalick), 1998 (2)
  • 11.80            …… Rhett, 1998 (3)
  • 11.80            Nicole Carmichael (Paterson Kennedy), 1995 (1)
  • 11.82            Denise Liles (Kingsway), 1986 (1)
  • 11.82            Annie Johnson (Shawnee), 2012 (1)
  • 11.82            Bria Mack (Williamstown), 2016 (Q)
  • 11.84            Michele Glover (Willingboro), 1980 (1)
  • 11.84            …… Glover, 1979 (2)
  • 11.85            Dana Burnett (Williamstown), 1996 (1)
  • 11.87            Porshe Giddings (East Orange), 2007 (3)
  • 11.87            Dominique Booker (Montclair Immaculate), 2009 (2 P)
  • 11.87            Jordan Simmons (Bishop Ahr), 2010 (3)
  • 11.87            …… Mack, 2016 (1)
  • 11.88            …… Nwaneri, 2007 (4)
  • 11.88            …… Gardner, 2008 (1)
  • 11.89            Jasmine Carter (Columbia), 2010 (4)
  • 11.91            …… Williams, 1997 (1)
  • 11.91            Darriea Pigott (West Orange), 1995 (2)
  • 11.92            …… Rhett, 1999 (2)
  • 11.92            Bria Saunders (Parsippany), 2014 (2)
  • 11.93            Georgina Nembhard (Ocean Twp.), 2006 (2)
  • 11.94            Kim Lyles (Franklin), 2001 (1)
  • 11.94            Wendy Vereen (Trenton), 1981 (2)
  • 11.94            …… Robinson, 2014 (Q)
  • 11.95            Regina Trotter (Weequahic), 1990 (1)
  • 11.95            …… Me. Barber, 1998 (4)
  • 11.95            Audrey Wilson (Deptford), 2008 (2)
  • 11.95            Danielle Beniulis (Jefferson), 2014 (3)
  • 11.96            Jamillah Nock (Camden), 2004 (1)
  • 11.96            Jenna Harris (Franklin), 2002 (1)
  • 11.96            Kaitlyn Davis (North Brunswick), 2012 (2)
  • 11.96            Madeline Soto (University), 2014 (4)
  • 11.96            Kaitlyn Salisbury (Hawthorne), 201 (Q)
  • 11.97            Carlene Cummings (Englewood), 1996 (2)
  • 11.98            Camille Campbell (Carteret), 2000 (2)
  • 11.98            Audrey Wilson (Deptford), 2007 (5)
  • 11.98            Inshallah Saunders (Plainfield), 1993 (1)
  • 11.99            …… Johnson, 2012 (Q)

Mack finished her 2016 season with a third-place finish in the 100 at the Brooks PR Invitational in Renton, Wash., with an 11.88.

Finally, here’s a look at the all-time New Jersey list, which gives you a sense of where Mack ranks among the greatest sprinters in state history. She ran 11.68 in the finals at sectionals at Egg Harbor, which places her No. 12 in state history and No. 4 in South Jersey history.

With one year to go!

11.42 … Michele Glover [Willingboro], 1981
11.44 … Myasia Jacobs [Paramus Catholic], 2012
11.49 … English Gardner [Eastern], 2008
11.50 … Wendy Vereen [Trenton], 1984
11.57 … Patti Dunlap [Camden], 1979
11.57 … M’elisa Barber [Montclair], 1998
11.61 … Shavon Greaves [Lakewood], 2007
11.62 … Cathy Crawford [Perth Amboy], 1997
11.64 … Olivia Baker [Columbia], 2013
11.65 … Aleah Williams [Montclair], 1999
11.65 … Ogechi Nwaneri [Columbia], 2005
11.68 … Bria Mack [Williamstown], 2016
11.68 … Regia Trotter [Weequahic], 1991
11.70 … Assante Johnson [Camden], 2009

 

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Groff finishes brilliant season with another All-America effort in 5,000

Cherry Hill East senior Aaron Groff finished his brilliant senior season with a fifth-place finish in the 5,000 at the New Balance Nationals in Greensboro and earned All-America honors for the second time this year in the event.

Groff ran 14:48.20, finishing just 50 meters behind winner David Principe of Johnston, R.I.

Groff also earned All-America accolades indoors in the 5,000 after a second-place finish at the Armory in 14:43.

Groff showed tremendous range this year, running as fast as 1:57.29 for 800 meters, 4:16.20 for the 1,600, 9:07.42 for the 3,200, when he placed third in the Meet of Champions, and 14:43.10 for the 5,000.

Let’s take a look at the all-time New Jersey 5,000-meter list:

13:57.04i … Edward Cheserek [St. Benedict’s], 2013
14:13.68 … Joe Rosa [West Windsor North], 2011
14:25.8 ….. Chris Hallinan [Bernards], 1976
14:26.6 ….. Andy Martin [North Hunterdon], 1984
14:28.96 … Craig Forys [Colts Neck], 2007
14:35.32 … Doug Smith [Gill St. Bernard’s], 2008
14:38.37 ….. Marc Pelerin [Cherokee], 2002
14:42.2 ….. Jerry Andrews [Highland], 1979
14:43.10i… Aaron Groff [Cherry Hill East], 2016
14:45.20 … Matt Grossman [Millburn], 2016
14:45.49 … Jimmy Daniels [Sterling], 2013
14:48.73 … Ben Massam [Chatham], 2006
14:50.71 … Jim Rosa [West Windsor North], 2011
14:51.0 ….. Jim Smith [Haddonfield], 1980
14:51.17 … Tom O’Neill [Middletown North], 2014
14:54.15 … Chris Luciano [Mountain Lakes], 2014
14:54.2 ….. Steve O’Connell [Millburn], 1976
14:54.62 … Jeramy Elkaim [Livingston], 2011
14:54.87 … Craig Corti [Walkill Valley], 2015
14:55.35 … Kyle Livermore [Don Bosco], 2014
14:58.64 … Jordan Brannan [Colts Neck], 2016

Groff is No. 9 overall with his time from indoors and No. 12 on the outdoor-only list. He’s No. 3 in South Jersey history on the overall list, fastest since Marc Pelerin 14 years ago (hey Marc … how is that possible?) and No. 4 all-time South Jersey on the overall list.

Groff will take his talents to West Philly in the fall and run for the University of Pennsylvania Quakers.

 

Sterling runs 20-second season-best 12:10 DMR at nationals and enters all-time S.J. Top 10!!!!

The Coppolino twins along with Aliya Harrison and Leyna Jewell teamed up to give Sterling a terrific 12:10 DMR and third place in the Emerging Elite race at the New Balance Nationals in Greensboro, N.C.

Sydney Coppolino led off with a 3:38.1 for 1,200 meters, with Harrison speeding a 56.7 for the 400, Jewell clocking 2:28.0 for the 800 and Madison Coppolino anchoring in 5:08.2.

The Coppolino’s and Harrison are sophomores, and Jewell is a freshman.

Sterling’s school record was 12:31.02 from this year’s Woodbury Relays. Their fastest before this year was a 12:34.50 at last year’s Rowan Invite.

It adds up to 12:10.75, which is not only a school record by more than 20 seconds, it’s No. 10 on the all-time South Jersey outdoor girls distance medley list.

The time is No. 2 in New Jersey this year, behind only Southern Regional’s 12:00.32 at the Penn Relays, and No. 1 in South Jersey. This was a down year for the DMR in South Jersey, and Sterling’s 12:31 was actually the No. 1 time in South Jersey before the 12:10.

Let’s go to the record books. Here’s every outdoor South Jersey DMR under 12:15. Sterling is now No. 10 on the all-time outdoor list:

 

11:53.15 … Lenape, 2012 New Balance Outdoors
12:00.64 … Ocean City, 2004 adidas Outdoor Championships
12:02.34 … Haddonfield 2000 Penn Relays
12:02.37 … Haddonfield, 2014 Penn Relays
12:04.39 … Lenape, 2010 Rowan Open
12:05.39 … Ocean City 2005 Nike Outdoor Nationals
12:06.73 … Ocean City 1994 Penn Relays
12:07.21 … Lenape 2008 Penn Relays
12:08.61 … Ocean City, 2014 Rowan Open
12:10.75 … Sterling, 2016 New Balance Outdoor Nationals
12:12.24 … Millville, 2009 Nike Outdoor Nationals
12:13.16 … Bishop Eustace, 2011, Nike Outdoor Nationals
12:14.05 … Cherry Hill East, 2007 Eastern Regional Relays
12:14.24 … Highland, 2004 Penn Relays
12:14.61 … Lenape, 2013 Penn Relays

But since indoors generally provides more fast girls DMR times than outdoors, we also maintain an overall girls DMR list. As you can see, seven of the nine-fastest times were recorded indoors.

11:43.94i … Haddonfield, 2014, New Balance Indoors
11:53.15 … Lenape 2012 New Balance Outdoors
11:54.63i … Lenape, 2013, Easterns
11:58.92i … Lenape, 2010, Easterns
12:00.64 … Ocean City, 2004, adidas Outdoor Championships
12:02.34 … Haddonfield 2000, Penn Relays
12:02.51i … Ocean City, 2014, New Balance Indoors
12:03.40i ….. Haddonfield, 2015, Varsity Classic
12:04.45i … Haddonfield, 2009, National Scholastic Indoors
12:04.90i ….. Lenape, 2015, Varsity Classic
12:05.39 … Ocean City 2005, Nike Outdoor Nationals
12:06.73 … Ocean City 1994, Penn Relays
12:07.21 … Lenape 2008, Penn Relays
12:10.75 … Sterling, 2016, New Balance Outdoor Nationals
12:12.24 … Millville, 2009, Nike Outdoor Nationals
12:13.16 … Bishop Eustace, 2011, Nike Outdoor Nationals
12:13.46i … Washington Twp., 2011, Easterns
12:14.05 … Cherry Hill East, 2007, Eastern Regional Relays
12:14.24 … Highland, 2004, Penn Relays
12:14.48i … Haddonfield, 2013, Easterns

Interesting that Haddonfield is the only Camden County school and the only Colonial Conference school that’s ever run faster than Sterling. And even though Sterling is No. 14 on the all-time overall list, only three schools have ever run faster — Haddonfield, Lenape and Ocean City.

 

Raffo finishes record-setting junior year with near PR clearance at nationals

Seneca junior Brittney Raffo finished her junior year Friday with a ninth-place finish in the Emerging Elite pole vault at the New Balance Nationals at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, N.C.

Raffo cleared 11-10 3/4, just 1 1/4 inches off her PR of 12 feet. All that came between her and a top-eight finish was a miss at the opening height of 10-11.

Raffo missed three tries at what would have been a personal-best 12-4 3/4.

But what a year for Raffo, who became only the second South Jersey girl to win the Meet of Champions pole vault and the second South Jersey girl in history to clear 12 feet at the Meet of Champions.

Raffo this year joined another Lenape District vaulter, former national indoor record holder Danielle O’Reilly of Shawnee, as only the second South Jersey vaulter to win the Meet of Champions pole vault since it was added to the state program in 1999. O’Reilly, who cleared 13-5 indoors and 13-3 outdoors, won the vault in 2003 and 2004, both years at 11-6.

The only other South Jersey girl to clear 12 feet at the Meet of Champions was Moorestown’s Jessica Kloss, who went 12-0 for second place in 2005, when she placed second on fewer misses to Kristen Hafford of Warren Hills, who also cleared 12-0.

Let’s check out the all-time South Jersey pole vault list — all vaulters who have cleared a height above 11 feet.

  • 13-  5i … Danielle O’Reilly [Shawnee], 2004
  • 12-  0 … Jessica Kloss [Moorestown], 2005
  • 12-  0 … Brittney Raffo [Seneca], 2017
  • 11-10 … Kaitlin Dermen [Millville], 2014
  • 11-  6 … Lauren Tauscher [Moorestown], 2007
  • 11-  6i … Melissa Gale [Millville], 2006
  • 11-  2 … Tracey Masterson [Mainland Reg.], 2012
  • 11-  1 3/4 … Kristin Weigel [Pennsville], 2010

Raffo’s official PR coming into this season was just 9-0, although she did clear 10 feet in a summer meet. She extended her PR to 11-0 at the Lenape Invitational, then cleared 11-6 at the Lenape District Cup and then 12-0 at both states and Meet of Champs.

She joins Michelle Brown as Seneca’s second Meet of Champions winner. Brown won the 400 in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

 

 

 

 

Days and Awotunde earn first All-America status in NCAA shot put with final-throw bombs!!!

Long-time rivals Bridgeton High School graduate Braheme Days, a sophomore at UCLA, and Delsea graduate Josh Awotunde, a sophomore at South Carolina, both became first-time first-team All-America picks after placing fifth and seventh in the shot put at the NCAA Championships.

Days and Awotunde have been battling since the 2011 season, when both were sophomores at South Jersey high schools 16 miles apart.

In the 2013 New Jersey Meet of Champions, Awotunde and Days finished 1-2 in the shot put, and Days and Awotunde went 1-2 in the discus.

At NCAAs, Days surpassed 20 meters  (65-7 1/4) for only the second time in his life, recording the second-best throw of his life, and Awotunde hit a big PR.

Days, whose PR is 66-3 1/2 from a meet in San Diego in April, threw 65-8 1/2 on his final attempt at NCAAs at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Awotunde also saved his best for last, following three consecutive fouls with his personal-best of 63-9 on his final throw.

Days won three national shot put titles at Bridgeton and was an eight-time schoolboy All-America. He’s a USATF junior champ and the U.S. junior record holder.And now he’s a first-team All-America.

Days series looked like this: 63-7 3/4, 63-9 1/2 and foul in the trials, then 63-4 1/2, 64-8 1/2 and 65-8 3/4 in the finals.

Awotunde went into NCAAs with a PR of 62-3 from the SEC Championships in May in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He approached it with a 61-11 3/4 on his first throw, then PR’d at 62-10 1/2 on his second throw before fouling on his final attempt of the trials and first two throws of the finals. On his final attempt, he PR’d again at 63-9.

Awotunde barely qualified for NCAAs and was the No. 21 seed out of 24 throwers before making a mockery of the form chart and placing seventh overall.

 

Clark and Groff are latest to join the elite South Jersey sub-9:08 Club!!!

It’s a club that doesn’t allow very many members, but Highland’s Josh Clark and Cherry Hill East’s Aaron Groff both joined the elite South Jersey Sub-9:08 Club at the Meet of Champions Wednesday night at Central Regional in Wayville.

Clark and Groff placed second and third in 9:06.70 and 9:07.42 behind Matt Grossman of Millburn, who won in 9:06.25, leading eight runners under 9:12.

Clark and Groff both made their way into the all-time South Jersey Top 20. Clark’s time is fastest by a Highland runner in 37 years, since Jerry Andrews ran 9:06.2 for a full two miles, which converts to 9:03.1 for 3,200 meters. Groff’s time is fastest ever by a Cherry Hill East runner.

Clark’s previous PR was 9:10.77 when he won the state Group 2 title. Groff’s was 9:13.46 when he was second in the state Group 4 meet.

First, let’s look at the all-time South jersey sub-9:08 list:

  • 8:55.61y ….. Murad Campbell (Overbrook), 1999
  • 8:59.55y ….. Mike Butynes (Sterling), 1972
  • 8:59.75y ….. Jason DeJoseph (Paul VI), 1987
  • 9:00.25y ….. Jim Smith (Haddonfield), 1980
  • 9:00.30 ……. Jimmy Daniels (Sterling), 2013
  • 9:01.84y ….. Mike Mantini (Gateway), 1979
  • 9:02.03y ….. Marc Pelerin (Cherokee), 2002
  • 9:02.92 ……. Luke Petela (Haddon Twp.), 2015
  • 9:03.03y ….. Jerry Andrews (Highland), 1979
  • 9:03.63y ….. Ed Blakeley (Haddon Twp.), 1975
  • 9:03.9h ……. Mike Elder (Haddon Twp.), 1979
  • 9:04.05 ……. Shawn Wilson (Cherokee), 2013
  • 9:04.94 ……. Louis Corgiano (Hammonton), 2014
  • 9:05.98 ……. Steve Maine (Highland), 2014
  • 9:06.11y ….. Greg Stremmel (Gatweway), 1974
  • 9:06.47 ……. Jonathan Vitez (Haddonfield), 2010
  • 9:06.70 ……. Joshua Clark (Highland), 2016
  • 9:07.03 ……. Greg Hughes (Mainland), 2004
  • 9:07.11 ……. Ron Faith (Paul VI), 1985
  • 9:07.2h ……. Kevin Pumphrey (Highland),  1986
  • 9:07.42 ……. Aaron Groff (Cherry Hill East), 2016
  • 9:07.7h ……. Marty Ludwikowski (Cherry Hill West), 1975

Eight of the top 19 times have been achieved since 2010, but the top four of Campbell, Butynes, DeJoseph and Smith has remained the same now for 17 years, which is incredible considering how fast two-milers have become.

As for Clark and Groff, they moved into the No. 17 and No. 21 spots, which is pretty impressive when you start looking at some of the names above them.

We also put together an all-time list of performances by South Jersey runners in the two-mile or 3,200 at the Meet of Champions, and Clark and Groff are even higher on that list — No. 10 and No. 14. We converted two-mile times using the MileSplit conversion calculator.

8:58.32 … Luke Petela [Haddon Twp.], 2015 [1st]
8:58.72 … Murad Campbell [Overbrook], 1999 [1st]
8:59.6h … Jason DiJoseph [Paul VI], 1987 [1st]
9:00.30 … Jimmy Daniels [Sterling], 2013 [3rd]
9:03.1y … Jerry Andrews [Highland], 1979 [1st]
9:04.05 … Shawn Wilson [Cherokee], 2013 [7th]
9:05.12 … Sean Macpherson [Sterling], 2015 [5th]
9:05.98 … Steve Maine [Highland], 2013 [9th]
9:06.47 … Jon Vitez [Haddonfield], 2010 [4th]
9:06.70 … Joshua Clark [Highland], 2016 [2nd]
9:07.0h … Ron Faith [Paul VI], 1985 [2nd]
9:07.6h … Jason DiJoseph [Paul VI], 1986 [1st]
9:07.10 ……. Campbell, 1998 [1st]
9:07.03 … Greg Hughes [Mainland Reg.], 2004 [2nd]
9:07.42 … Aaron Groff [Cherry Hill East], 2016 [3rd]
9:07.6y … Mike Butynes [Sterling], 1971 [1st]
9:07.7y … Marty Ludwikowski [Cherry Hill West], 1975 [1st]
9:09.27 … David Forward [Shawnee], 2009 [6th]
9:09.80 … Todd Campbell [Cinnaminson], 2009 [8th]
9:10.17 … Urie Ridgeway [Bridgeton], 1989 [2nd]
9:10.28 ……. Forward, 2008 [4th]
9:11.48 … Michael Ungvarsky [Cinnaminson], 8th [2016]
9:11.81 … Pete Fixler [Vineland], 1992 [2nd]
9:12.3y … Mike Mantini [Gateway], 1978 [3rd]
9:12.60 … Mike Bowden [Northern Burlington], 2009 [10th]
9:14.01 ……. Clark, 2015 [7th]
9:14.98 … Jon Anderson [Cinnaminson], 2004 [3rd]

 

Cumberland’s Sherrer finishes career with top-10 finish in fast NCAA 800!!!

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Cumberland Regional graduate Holland Sherrer, in red in the middle, placed 10th in the 800 at the NCAA Championships. He’s shown here advancing at NCAA prelims last weekend.

Holland Sherrer never broke 1:54 during his high school career at Cumberland Regional, but he finished his college career this weekend in style — with a near-PR sub-1:48 performance for 800 meters at the NCAA Championships at Hayward Field.

Sherrer’s high school PR was 1:54.12, when he was third in the state Group 4 race in the spring of 2011. He finished behind Bradley Paternoster of Ramapo [1:51.05] and Steve Butenewicz of Delsea [1:53.49] but then inexplicably didn’t compete in the 800 at the Meet of Champs, instead running only a leg on a 400-meter relay team that was DQ’d.

Sherrer, cousin of the famous Vineland Sherrer twins, wound up at Rend Lake Community College in Ina, Ill., where he was a multiple All-America, lowered his PR to 1:52.35 and ran on two JUCO national-champion 3,200-meter relay teams.

Sherrer, who grew up in Deerfield Township, moved on to Mississippi, where he enjoyed a huge breakthrough in the spring of 2014, running 1:48.95. He lowered that to 1:47.74 last year, when he advanced to NCAAs and placed 24th.

This year, he finished his college career in impressive fashion.

Sherrer lowered his PR for a seventh consecutive year, getting as fast as 1:47.13 for fourth at the NCAA East Prelims. That earned him a ticket to NCAAs in Eugene this weekend, where he once again ran very well, just missing a lane in the final.

Sherrer ran 1:47.34 to place sixth in the first of three semifinal races. Sherrer was the fourth-fastest non-qualifier, missing the final by 82/100ths of a second. Because two qualifiers (heat winners) ran slower than him, he wound up with the 10th-fastest time overall.

Sherrer’s 10th-place finish is the best by a Mississippi half-miler at NCAAs since legendary George Kersh won the 1991 championship after placing second in 1990. Victor Shine in 1984 is the only other Ole Miss half-miler to race at outdoor NCAAs.

After not breaking 1:54 in high school, Sherrer finds himself the No. 4 800 runner in Mississippi history. Here’s a look at the all-time top-10:

  • 1:44.07 … George Kersh, 1991
  • 1:46.13 … Craig Engels, 2016
  • 1:46.84 … Thomas Johnson, 1990
  • 1:47.13 … Holland Sherrer, 2016
  • 1:47.55 … Dameon Morgan, 2016
  • 1:47.99 … Sean Tobin, 2014
  • 1:48.01 … Victor Shine, 1984
  • 1:48.77 … Terrance Manogin, 1994
  • 1:49.84 … Alonzo Banks, 1999
  • 1:49.85 … Cornelius Tate, 1984