It had been 29 years since the Rancocas Valley girls won a state championship, and this one was very similar to the first one.
In 1987, Tonya Lee scored all of RV’s points in the state indoor Group 3 meet at Jadwin Gym, with wins in the 400 (59.88) and high jump (5-6) and a second-place in the 55-meter hurdles.
Under the old scoring system – 6-4-3-2-1 – that amounted to 16 points and was enough for the Vince Phillips-coached Red Devils to win the team title.
Lee went on to multiple All-America honors at Tennessee and reached the finals of the 1992 Olympic Trials in the 400-meter hurdles.
This year, nearly three decades later and on the other side of the state, it was Aliyah Taylor’s turn to lead the Red Devils to a state championship. Taylor had a hand in all but one of RV’s 29 points as the Red Devils won their second state title.
Taylor won the 400 in 56.76, set a PR and broke her own school record with a 7.01 for second to Williamstown’s Bria Mack in the 55 and teamed up with sophomores Darynn Minus-Vincent and Shauna Nuss and senior Sydne Nance to run a New Jersey No. 3 and school-record 3:58.11 to win the 1,600-meter relay.
The 3:58.11 is an indoor and overall school record for Rancocas Valley. The previous overall mark of 3:59.34 was set by Janaia Sledge-Maith, Morgan Gordon Marcia McCord and Allison Hawkey at the 2007 Central Jersey Group 4 sectionals at Hillsborough.
The only point R.V. scored that Taylor did not have a hand in was a sixth place by Nance in the high jump with a 5-2 clearance.
Rancocas Valley finished with a three-point margin of victory over South Brunswick, winning 29-26.