A huge PR, All-America honors and 3rd-place in the shot at NCAAs for the amazing Jess Woodard!!!

step0001-9Jessica Woodard added to her remarkable resume Thursday with her best performance yet at NCAAs, another PR and All-America honors.

Woodard, an Oklahoma sophomore seeded No. 8, bombed a two-foot shot put PR of 58-8 at the NCAA Division 1 track championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., and placed third in the  to earn All-America status for the second time. She also earned All-America honors in the shot indoors, when she placed eighth with a 55-11 as the No. 12 seed.

Her mark qualified her for U.S. Olympic Trials back in Eugene next month, assuming 24 other U.S. women don’t surpass her.

Along the way, she beat the No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 6 and No. 7 seeds.

Mississippi’s Raven Saunders, ranked No. 4 in the world, was a huge favorite and won with a 63-5 bomb, a meet record and collegiate record. The previous college record was 62-3 3/4 by Meg Ritchie of Arizona in 1983, and the previous meet record was 62-1/2, set by Oklahoma’s Tia Brooks in 2013.

Woodard’s 58-8 surpassed her PR of 56-9 1/4 set last month at the Big 12 championships, where she also placed third.

Her mark was far enough to win the NCAA shot put title 20 times since the event was added to the NCAA docket in 1982.

It’s also No. 2 in Oklahoma history, behind a 62-2 1/2 by Tia Brooks in 2013. Brooks is now No. 1 in the U.S.

Woodard’s marked moved her up to No. 31 in the world this year and No. 11 among all American throwers. Here’s what the current U.S. leaderboard looks like, with all the 58-foot throwers listed:

  • 64-8 3/4 … Tia Brooks
  • 63-5 … Raven Saunders
  • 63-2 1/4 … Felisha Johnson
  • 62-3 1/2 … Jillian Camarena-Williams
  • 61-5 … Michelle Carter
  • 61-5 … Jeneva Stevens
  • 60-10 1/2 … Kelsey Card
  • 60-4 3/4 … Brittany Smith
  • 59-7 1/2 … Daniella Bunch
  • 59-1/4 … Chase Ealey
  • 58-8 … Jessica Woodard
  • 58-4 3/4 … Erin Farmer
  • 58-2 … Monique Riddick

Woodard, a Marlton native and Meet of Champions winner in the shot and discus at Cherokee and national scholastic shot put winner, had a PR of 47-1 1/4 in high school, so she’s improved more than a foot in the last two years. Her best throw as a freshman was 50-10, so that’s a nearly eight-foot improvement in a year.

Woodard’s career best in the discus is 177-9, when she was third in the Big East last month. She didn’t qualify for NCAAs in the discus.

Woodard opened with a 50-1 1/4 and followed with a 54-1 3/4 before recording her 58-8 on her third throw, her final throw of the trials. The top nine throwers advanced to the three-throw finals, but the order of the top three didn’t change – Saunders, Chase Ealey of Oklahoma State (59-1/4) and Woodard.

Woodard closed with throws of 54-8 and 54-7 1/4 before fouling on her final attempt. No. 2 seed Kelsey Card got off her best throw, a 57-11, on her final attempt, but fell nine inches shy of Woodard.

At last year’s NCAA Championships, Woodard was 17th in the discus and didn’t compete in the shot put.

“Jess Woodard – what a huge throw,” Oklahoma coach  Jim VanHootegem said on Oklahoma’s web site. “It’s really fun to see her blossom into this type of thrower.

“Last year, she came to this meet and didn’t make the finals in the discus. For her to score in the shot put in two championships this year shows she’s really establishing herself as a national presence.”

Woodard was one of three Oklahoma throwers to earn All-America honors at NCAAs. Senior Julia Reedy threw 213-5 for fourth place in the hammer and senior Liz Herrs was eighth in the javelin with a throw of 170-9.



Florence’s Curtis Thompson wins NCAA javelin title at 254-9!!!!!!

Curtis Thompson established himself as the No. 1 collegiate javelin thrower in the nation Thursday when he won the NCAA Division 1 title with a heave of 254-9 at legendary Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Thompson, a former New Jersey and national champion from Florence, is a sophomore at Mississippi State.

Thompson, ranked No. 2 among American men this year and No. 36 in the world with a PR of 265-10, upset world No. 26 IIoánnis Kiriazis of Texas A&M to win his first national title and earn All-America status for the second time. He was third at NCAAs last year.

“What a feeling,” Thompson said. “All the hard work has paid off. This is why you compete, to be an NCAA champion. That can never be taken away.”

Thompson is the first South Jersey boy to win an NCAA Division 1 individual title in 27 years, since Dennis Mitchell of Edgewood won the 200 for Florida in 1989. He’s the first to win any sort of national title in D-1 since high jumper Mike Morrison, another Florida runner, ran a leg on the Gators’ winning 400-meter relay team in 2004.

He’s also the fourth New Jersey boy ever to win the NCAA Division 1 javelin title. He was third last year with a 247-5.

In 1969, Arizona State sophomore Mark Murro, a graduate of Essex Catholic, won the javelin with a throw of 265-9 using the old implement. In 1978, Bob Roggy of Holmdel High , a senior at Southern Illinois, threw 283-8 to win gold. In 1981, Mike Justus of Hopatcong High and Rowan University won with a 273-2 throw. Justus was allowed to compete because back then Division 3 winners were added to the field in the Division 1 meet.

We put together what we believe to be a complete – or nearly complete – list of every South Jersey athlete to win an NCAA Division 1 national title. Including relay legs.

As you can see, Thompson is only the seventh South Jersey boy to win an individual gold medal at nationals, only the third since 1956.

There could be some omissions, especially among athletes from the 1940s and 1950s. Please let us know in the comments section if you find any errors or omissions.

Archie Harris, Indiana [Ocean City], Discus [162-4]
Browning Ross, Villanova [Woodbury], 3,000-Meter Steeplechase [9:25.7h]
Don Bragg, Villanova [Penns Grove], Pole Vault [15-1]
Charley Pratt, Manhattan [Palmyra], 220-Yard Hurdles [23.1]
Carl Lewis, Houston [Willingboro], Long Jump 27-4 3/4 [held indoors]
Carl Lewis, Houston [Willingboro], 100-Meter Dash [9.99]
Carl Lewis, Houston [Willingboro], Long Jump 27-0 3/4 [held indoors]
Dennis Mitchell, Florida [Edgewood], 200-Meter Dash [20.09A]
Mike Morrison, Florida [Willingboro], 400-Meter Relay 2nd Leg [39.11]
Curtis Thompson, Mississippi State [Florence], Javelin [254-9]

Carol Lewis, Houston [Willingboro], Long Jump [21-11 3/4]
Carol Lewis, Houston [Willingboro], Long Jump [22-1]
Denise Mitchell, Florida [Edgewood], 1,600-Meter Relay 1st Leg [53.8, 3:27.53]
Jamie Moton, Clemson [Delsea], Hammer Throw [220-6]
Nadia Davy, LSU [Bridgeton], 1,600-Meter Relay 4th Leg [50.3, 3:25.26]
Nia Ali [Pleasantville], 100-Meter Hurdles [12.63w]
English Gardner [Eastern], 100-Meter Dash [11.10]
English Gardner [Eastern], 100-Meter Dash [10.96]

Thompson is Mississippi State’s second NCAA champion in three years. In 2014, sophomore Brandon McBride won the 800 in 1:46.26. Since 1925, MSU has had only three NCAA Division 1 individual men’s champions

“I couldn’t be more proud,” Mississippi State coach Steve Dudley said. “What an awesome performance. He’s worked so hard to get to this point, and he’s only a sophomore.”

Thompson threw 230-3, 240-11 and 240-1 in the trials, which got him safely into the finals but had him sitting only sixth going in.

He threw 243-3 on his fourth throw and was still in only sixth place before he popped his 254-9 on his fifth throw. That gave him a four-foot lead over John Ampomah of Middle Tennessee State, who had thrown 250-9 on his first throw.

Then No. 1 seed Ioannis Kyriazis, whose best so far was a modest 243-6, stepped into the circle for his final throw and bombed one deep into the sector, toward Thompson’s mark.

As Thompson watched to see whether or not he would be an NCAA champion, Kyriazis’ throw was announced — 253-5.

Thompson had a national title by 16 inches.

For complete throw-by-throw breakdown for every competitor, click here. Rutgers sophomore Chris Mirabelli, a graduate of Rancocas Valley, a former Meet of Champs winner and Thompson’s long-time rival, finished 17th with a throw of 229-4, well off his PR of 240-3. Another New Jersey thrower, Midland Park’s Kaleb Zuidema of South Carolina, placed 20th at 227-5.

Gess becomes 5th S.J. girl in history to record 3 straight M-of-C wins!!!!!

Haddonfield’s Briana Gess wins mile races so routinely it’s easy to forget just how special a runner she’s been the last three years.

On Wednesday, Gess won the 1,600 for the third straight year at the Meet of Champions, joining Carol Lewis, Erin Donohue, Jess Woodard and Michelle Brown as the fifth South Jersey girl in meet history to win an event three straight years.

Gets ran a meet-record 4:45.97 in 2014, 4:48.05 last year and 4:50.09 this year. If she wins the 1,600 next year, she’ll become the seventh girl in state history and the first in South Jersey in nearly four decades to win four straight titles in the same event.

Christina Cancan of West Windsor-Plainsboro South and Ciara Roche of Freehold Township finished ahead of Gess at the indoor Meet of Champions this winter, and Gess was also eighth at Millrose. But she has never lost a 1,600 or mile race outdoors against high school-only competition.

Let’s take a look at all the three-time winners in Meet of Champions history. Not surprisingly, there are many, many more girls than boys due to the fact that girls track generally features a non-linear improvement path, while boys for the most part consistently improve throughout their four years.

OK, let’s take a look at all the boys and girls who’ve won at least three straight Meet of  Champions titles in the same event since the inception of the meet in 1969 (the girls started in 1978):

3 in a row
Ray Maragni [Seton Hall], Pole Vault [1981, 1982, 1983]
Matt Elmuccio [Westfield], 1,600-Meter Run [1995, 1996, 1997]
Murad Campbell [Overbrook], 3,200-Meter Run [1997, 1998, 1999]
Terrence Glover [Trenton], Discus [1997, 1998, 1999]
Glenn DiGiorgio [Bayonne], Shot Put [2000, 2001, 2002]
Glenn DiGiorgio [Bayonne], Discus [2000, 2001, 2002]
Nick Vena [Morristown], Shot Put [2008, 2009, 2010, 2011]
Sam Mattis [East Brunswick], Discus [2010, 2011, 2012]

4 in a Row
Joetta Clark [Columbia], 880/800 [1977, 1978, 1979, 1980]
Carol Lewis [Willingboro], Long Jump [1978, 1979, 1980, 1981]
Jodie Bilotta [North Hunterdon], 3,200 [1985, 1986, 1987, 1988]
Chris Engel [Mount Olive], 1,600 [1989, 1990, 1991, 1992]
Danielle Tauro [Southern Regional], 1,600 [2004, 2005, 2006, 2007]
Olivia Baker [Columbia], 400 [2011, 2012, 2013, 2014]
3 in a row
Sharon Redact [Monmouth], Shot Put [1975, 1976, 1977]
Mary Banks [Raritan], Two-Mile [1977, 1978, 1979]
Pam Dukes [Freehold Twp.], Shot Put [1980, 1981, 1982]
Andrea Johnson [Plainfield], 400 Hurdles [1981, 1982, 1983]
Tatiana Smolin [Randolph], High Jump [1983, 1984, 1985]
Jodie Bilotta [North Hunterdon], 1,600 [1986, 1987, 1988]
Sandi Everett [Hillsborough], High Jump [1989, 1990, 1991]
Moral Chokshi [Bridgewater], 3,200 [1991, 1992, 1993]
Kathy Kilar {North Edison], High Jump [1994, 1995, 1996]
Sara Beth Cullen [Red Bank], Shot Put [1996, 1997, 1998]
Erin Donohue [Haddonfield], 1,600 [1999, 2000, 2001]
Kim Mineo [Glen Rock], 800 [2001, 2002, 2003]
Michelle Brown [Seneca], 400 [2008, 2009, 2010]
Myasia Jacobs [Paramus Catholic], 100 [2009. 2010, 2011]
Myasia Jacobs [Paramus Catholic], 200 [2009. 2010, 2011]
Jill Smith [Southern Reg.], 800 [2007, 2008, 2009]
Jessica Woodard [Cherokee], Discus [2011, 2012, 2013]
Keturah Orji [Mount Olive], Long Jump [2012, 2013, 2014]
Keturah Orji [Mount Olive], Triple Jump [2012, 2013, 2014]
Sydney McLaughlin [Union Catholic], 400 Hurdles [2014, 2015, 2016]
Briana Gess [Haddonfield], 1,600 [2014, 2015, 2016]

So the only schools that have produced two different three-time winners are Haddonfield, with Gess and Donohue; Mount Olive, with Engel an Orji; and Columbia, with Clark and Baker.

Davidson becomes 11th Boro hurdler under 54! Is any other school close?

When Willingboro senior Tyler Davidson won the 400-meter intermediate hurdles at the state Group 3 meet this past weekend, he became the 11th Willingboro runner to break 54 seconds in the event. Really, the 12th. We’ll explain later.

Hard to imagine that’s not a state record.

Davidson ran a personal-best 53.35, which makes him the No. 3 seed in the 48th annual Meet of Champions, scheduled for Wednesday evening at Central Regional in Bayville. His previous best was 53.98 at the Carl Lewis Relays on his home track last month.

Davidson was also third in the 400 (48.43) and second in the 800 (1:55.50) and ran a leg on the Chimeras’ second-place 4-by-4 relay team, which ran 3:20.41.

That means Davidson had a hand in 32 of Willingboro’s 48 total points, or enough to single-handled place fifth in the Group 2 team standings. With 48 points, Boro placed a very strong third, behind only River Dell (63) and Matawan (51).

As for Davidson, he’s now Willingboro’s fifth-fastest intermediate hurdler ever and fastest in 13 years, since Mike Morrison won states in 52.71 and the late Shareef Muhammad won the Meet of Champions in 52.92. Morrison, who had only run the intermediates for team points at states, focused on the long jump and high jump at the Meet of Champions, winning the high jump and taking second in the long jump.

Here’s a look at all of Willingboro’s sub-54 intermediate hurdlers, starting with Marc Dickerson in 1979. We also included Chauncey Lamar of long-shuttered Kennedy, since JFK was in Willingboro, and if Lamar ran today he’d be at Willingboro.

  • 52.89 … Devon Patton, 1990
  • 52.71 … Mike Morrison, 2003
  • 52.92 … Shareef Muhammad, 2003
  • 53.14 … Michael Bolling, 2000
  • 53.35 … Tyler Davidson, 2016
  • 53.1h … Darryl Merriman, 1982
  • 53.5 ….. Marc Dickerson, 1979
  • 53.63 … Dwayne Joseph, 2004
  • 53.79 … Brandon Hill, 2013
  • 53.86 … Kenny Brosier, 2015
  • 53.7h … Chauncey Lamar, 1978 [JFK]
  • 53.92 … Gerard Reynolds, 1990

And a list of every Willingboro boy who’s won a state title in the intermediates. This is the first time since 1989 and 1990 a Boro hurdler has won a state intermediates title in consecutive years:

  • 1979 – Marc Dickerson, Group 4 (38.6) [330 yards]
  • 1982 – Darryl Merriman, Group 4 (53.1)
  • 1989 – Gerard Reynolds, Group 4 (54.0)
  • 1990 – Gerard Reynolds, Group 4 (53.92)
  • 1990 – Devon Patton, Meet of Champions (52.89)
  • 1994 – Kenyon Reid, Group 4 (54.48)
  • 2000 – Michael Bolling, Meet of Champs (53.60)
  • 2015 – Kenny Brosier, Group 2 (53.86)
  • 2016 – Tyler Davidson, Group 2 (53.35)

Here’s a look at the top 10 seeds for the intermediates at the Meet of Champions:

52.57 – Cory Poole [East Orange ]
53.30 -Maxwell Dickens [Paul VI]
53.35 -Tyler Davidson [Willingboro]
53.52 -Eric Moul [North Hunterdon]
53.98 -Anthony Steets [West Essex]
54.12 -Anthony Okolo [Union]
54.15 – Jason Stefanski [Penns Grove]
54.15 – Jamil Adams [Winslow Twp.]
54.26 – James Jean [Weequahic]
54.44 – Ihmir Marsette [Weequahic]

And how about an all-time Meet of Champions performance list for the 400 intermediates? You don’t find this stuff anywhere else! Here’s everybody who’s ever run 52.50 or faster at the Meet of Champs!

  • 51.14 … Dwight Ruff (Camden), 2001 [1st]
  • 51.39 … Reuben McCoy (Winslow), 2004 [1st]
  • 51.55 … Justin Gaymon (Phillipsburg), 2005 [1st]
  • 51.62 … Fred Sharpe (Paulsboro), 1997 [1st]
  • 51.92 … Anthony Hampton (Englewood), 1994 [1st]
  • 51.93 … Taylor McLaughlin (Union Catholic), 2015 [1st]
  • 52.0h … Craig Morris (Monmouth), 1980 [1st]
  • 52.07 … Azim Smith (Millville), 2001 [2nd]
  • 52.09 … Mark Cooke (J.P. Stevens), 2014 [1st]
  • 52.16 … Vince Rawlins (Eastern), 1992 [1st]
  • 52.2 h… Martin Booker (Camden), 1981 [1st]
  • 52.27 … Tiquan Underwood (Notre Dame 2005 [2nd]
  • 52.35 … Jermaine Collier (Trenton), 2012 [1st]
  • 52.37 … Anthony Hampton (Englewood), 1993 [1st]
  • 52.43 … Dylan Capwell (Hopatcong), 2013 [1st]
  • 52.38 … Jim Orrange (Marlboro), 1986 [1st]
  • 52.4h … Mike Horrisberger (CBA), 1983 [1st]
  • 52.44 … Emanuel Mayers (Lakewood), 2007 [1st]



Shakira Dancy, a Winslow sophomore who ran her first career outdoor track race about nine weeks ago, officially turned in the greatest 100, 200, 400 sprint triple in New Jersey state championship history!

Dancy swept the three sprints in the state Group 3 meet at Northern Burlington Regional High School in Mansfield Township. Not only did she lead Winslow to its fourth straight state championship, she became the first girl ever to run sub-12, sub-24 and sub-54.5 in the same meet in New Jersey history.

Only three other girls in state history have ever run as fast as Dancy in their entire high school career, and they are all absolute legends: English Gardner of Eastern, Olivia Baker of Columbia and Regina Trotter of Weequahic.

First, here’s a look at their PRs:

Gardner [2007-08]: 11.49, 23.60, 53.98
Baker [2013]: 11.64, 23.95, 52.46
Trotter [1991]: 11.68, 23.96, 54.3
Dancy [2016: 11.94, 23.96, 54.36

Baker and Gardner, two of the greatest runners in state history, still have superior PRs to Dancy. At least for now.

But what about the greatest single-weekend triple?

That’s a different story. Gardner never ran the 400 at states, so she’s out.

Baker? She ran the 100, 200, 400 and 800 at states varying years. She actually lost as a senior in the 100 to Bria Mack. As a sophomore and junior, she tripled but it was the 200, 400 and 800. And she ran a leg on the winning relay too. But no 100, 200, 400 triples.

Trotter swept the 100, 200 and 400 in Group 3 in 1991, but only her 100 time was faster than Dancy’s – she ran 11.68, 24.10 and 54.48. That would be the best sprint triple at states until now. But Dancy has Trotter in two of three events.

And get this: Dancy is already No. 15 in South Jersey history in the 100, No. 5 in the 200 and No. 10 in the 400!

Dancy ran indoors for Eastern before transferring to Winslow. She dipped just under 60 in the 400, running 59.77 at indoor states at the Bubble. But nothing that hinted of what was to come this spring.

What’s next for this remarkable Winslow Township sophomore? We’ll find out Wednesday night!

Winslow’s Dancy enters all-time elite with Group 3 sprint triple!!!!

Last year, she didn’t even participate in states.

This year, she dominated states.

Winslow Township sophomore Shakira Dancy, a first-year track participant, turned in one of the greatest sprint performances ever by a South Jersey sprinter this weekend, sweeping the Group 3 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes at the state track championships at Northern Burlington Regional in Mansfield Township.

She became the first girl in nine years to triple the three short track races in the state Group 3 meet.

On Friday, Dancy won the 100 in 12.03 after a PR 11.94 in the trials and the 400 in a personal-best 54.36. On Saturday, she won the 200 to complete the sweep.

Her 30 points led Winslow to its fourth straight Group 3 team title and fifth overall (they tied with Northern Highlands last year). Winslow is the first school ever to win four consecutive Group 3 state championships.

The last to record a Group 3 sprint sweep?

Lakewood star Shavon Greaves ran 11.61, 23.69 and 55.26 to sweep the three sprints in 2007 in South Plainfield. She went on to an All-America track career sprinting at Penn State.

Dancy is ridiculous.

–> Her 11.94 is No. 3 in New Jersey this year, behind only Williamstown’s Bria Mack, who ran 11.68 in the trials of the South Jersey Group 4 sectional race at Egg Harbor last weekend, and Kaitlin Salisbury of Hawthorne, who ran 11.83 to win the state Group 1 title this weekend at Egg.

–> Her 54.36 is No. 2 in New Jersey this year, behind only IAAF World Youth Games intermediate hurdles champion Sydney McLaughlin of Union Catholic, who set a state record of 52.44 on Friday.

We don’t know her official 200 time yet, but she’d run as fast as 24.37 at the Camden County Championships last month this year going into states.

The only girl in South Jersey history to run faster than Dancy in all three races is legendary English Gardner, now ranked No. 2 in the world in the 100. Williamstown’s Dana Burnett in the mid-1990s came very close.

Here’s a look at the high school PRs for all three:

Gardner [2008]: 11.49, 24.04, 54.00
Burnett [1996]: 11.85, 24.42, 53.51
Dancy [2016]: 11.94, 24.37, 54.36

So Dancy is already among the fastest sprinters in South Jersey history and she’s got a Meet of Champions Wednesday, nationals later this month and two more full seasons to go!



Haddonfield’s Gess blazes a 2:11.80 PR; now in rare 800-1,600 company

A day after winning the 1,600 in 4:52.24, Haddonfield junior Briana Gess sped her way to a 2:11.80 win in the 800 at the state Group 2 meet at Northern Burlington High School in Mansfield Township.

Gess’s 2:11.80 broke her PR of 2:13.18 that she set last spring at the Haddonfield Invitational on her home track.

Gess’s 1,600 PR is 4:45.97, and she now joins two legendary runners — Erin Donohue of Haddonfield and Michelle Rowen of Washington Township — as one of only three runners in South Jersey history to run sub-2:12 and sub-4:46 at any point in their high school career.

Donahue ran 2:08.87 and 4:41.16 in 2001 and Rowen ran 2:10.1 and 4:41.5 in 1982.

Gess won the 1,600 on Friday in 4:52.24. She has never lost a 1,600 or mile race to a New Jersey runner in her remarkable high school career.

She hasn’t lost an 800 to a New Jersey girl since the 2014 state meet, when she was second to Corinne Myers of Westwood, who ran 2:07.17.