Rancocas Valley boys win hot Easterns 4×200 with U.S. #8 1:29.29!!!!! OMG!!!!!

For all the long, storied history of Rancocas Valley boys track, one thing that had eluded the Red Devils during the program’s long history was an Easterns title.

Till now.

Brian Merriman, Sam Keleekai, Rob Hawkins and Brandon Boggs ran 1:29.29 and won the 800-meter relay Tuesday night at the 83rd annual Eastern States Championships at the 168th Street Armory in New York.

The time is No. 1 in New Jersey this year and No. 8 in the U.S.

The Red Devils posted the third-fastest time in qualifying races earlier Tuesday night at 1:31.04, behind Newburgh Free Academy (1:30.08) and Timber Creek (1:30.12).

But it was all R.V. in the final, with the Red Devils leading from start to finish.

Newburgh was a DNF, and Hamden High of Connecticut wound up second in 1:30.53, with Timber Creek third in 1:30.97 in the two-section final. Egg Harbor Township ran 1:31.23 for fourth, giving South Jersey three of the top four spots.

R.V.’s time is a school record and 10th-fastest in South Jersey indoor history. Rancocas Valley is the third straight South Jersey school to win the Easterns 4-by-200, following Deptford in 2015 and Pennsauken in 2016.

Overall, South Jersey has won the Easterns 4-by-200 11 times in the last 30 years. Here’s a list of South Jersey 800-meter relay winners at Easterns, going back to the Jadwin Gym days:

1:33.33 … Willingboro, 1988
1:30.87 … Woodrow Wilson, 1995
1:31.17 … Woodrow Wilson, 1996
1:29.61 … Camden, 1999
1:28.46 … Lenape, 2000
1:28.82 … Camden, 2002
1:29.52 … Vineland, 2003
1:26.90 … Camden, 2004
1:29.72 … Timber Creek, 2013
1:30.51 … Deptford, 2015
1:29.74 … Pennsauken, 2016
1:29.29 … Rancocas Valley, 2017

And here’s the updated all-time South Jersey list, with every sub-1:30 time:

1:26.90 … Camden, 2004
1:27.60 … Vineland, 2004
1:28.0h … Edgewood, 2001
1:28.45 … Camden, 2002
1:28.46 … Lenape, 2000
1:28.48 … Camden, 2007
1:28.91 … Camden, 2000
1:29.06 … Oakcrest, 2012
1:29.17 … Camden, 2001
1:29.29 … Rancocas Valley, 2017
1:29.52 … Vineland, 2003
1:29.57 … Camden, 1997
1:29.61 … Camden, 1999
1:29.72 … Timber Creek, 2013
1:29.74 … Pennsauken, 2016
1:29.87 … Timber Creek, 2016
1:29.92 … Deptford, 2017
1:29.97 … Pleasantville, 2008

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