Mainland Regional senior Alyssa Aldridge, the defending Meet of Champions winner, ran nearly as fast Saturday in winning states by nearly a minute than she ran a year ago in winning the Meet of Champions.
That certainly points to the possibility of Aldridge’s first sub-18 clocking on the hilly and historic 5,000-meter course at Holmdel County Park.
Aldridge won by 240 meters over Colts Neck sophomore Colleen Megerle, who was second in 18:59.
Nobody in any of the other state races Saturday broke 18:28, so Aldridge is 21 seconds faster than the field going into the Meet of Champions.
Aldridge won the M-of-C in 18:06 last year and ran 18:07 on Saturday. Some statisticians will say Aldridge matched her Meet of Champions time, since her official FAT time last year was 18:06.25, which rounds up to 18:07. Times were not recorded beyond minutes and seconds this year.
In any case, an 18:07 over 5,000 meters comes out to just over 5:50 per mile. To break 18, she would need to lower than only to 5:48.
Only five South Jersey girls have ever broken 18 minutes at Holmdel:
17:28 … Megan Venables [Highland Reg.], 2010
17:40 … Michelle Rowen [Washington Twp.], 1982
17:44 … Chelsea Ley [Kingsway], 2008
17:45 … Briana Gess [Haddonfield], 2013
17:55 … Megan Lacy [Cherokee], 2010
Aldridge ranks sixth on the all-time South Jersey list, just behind that group.
In state history, only 14 girls have broken 18 minutes at Holmdel, most recently Gess in 2013. Aldridge currently ranks 16th on the all-time state list, maintained by Pat Monferrat.
For the full all-time South Jersey list, click here.