Just a four-second PR for Derek Gess.
Gess, who has focused mainly on the 1,600 for Haddonfield indoors, dipped down to the 800 Tuesday night, and the Haddonfield sophomore ran 1:55.93 for fourth place at the 83rd annual Eastern States Championships at the 168th Street Armory.
That’s the fastest indoor 800 time by a South Jersey sophomore in eight years — since Tivo Rivera of Kingsway ran 1:55.16 for second behind Xavier Fraction of Washington Township in the 2009 Meet of Champions at the Bubble in Toms River.
Gess has run 4:21 for 1,600 meters, but his indoor 800 PR before Tuesday was 1:59.82, which was good for 17th place in the Ocean Breeze Invitational in January. He has run 1:56.66 outdoors, when he placed fourth at sectionals last spring.
Gess’s time is a Haddonfield school record and fastest this year by a South Jersey half-miler. It also appears to be a Camden County record, which is interesting since it’s No. 18 on the all-time South Jersey indoor list (below) and Camden County is the most populous county in South Jersey, so you would think somebody from Camden County at some point had run faster than 1:55.93, but as far as we can tell, the mark is his.
Of the 17 faster times, eight are from Gloucester County, five from Atlantic County, three from Burlington County and one from Cumberland County.
How is it possible that eight half-milers from Gloucester County (population 291,479) have run faster than any half-milers from Camden County (population 510,923)? Who knows. It’s the kind of thing that makes track fun.
Here’s the all-time South Jersey indoor list:
1:51.52 … Jacob Clark [Pleasantville], 2013
1:51.72 … Isaac Clark [Pleasantville], 2013
1:51.80 … Derrell Manhertz [Kingsway], 2013
1:53.51 … Alan Laws [Pleasantville], 2007
1:53.68 … Ishmael Muhammad [Oakcrest], 2013
1:54.80 … Marvin Lewis [Willingboro], 2001
1:54.81 … Bill Dolan [Clearview], 2013
1:54.82 … Xavier Fraction [Washington Twp.], 2009
1:55.00 … Steve Butenewicz [Delsea], 2011
1:55.14 … Shannon Sherrer [Vineland], 2002
1:55.14 … Zach McBride [Lenape], 2002
1:55.16 … Joe Lewis [Pleasantville], 1998
1:55.16 … Tivo Rivera [Kingsway], 2009
1:55.19 … Isaiah Curbelo [Rancocas Valley], 2016
1:55.42 … Kevin Cianfarino [West Deptford], 2014
1:55.3h … Tony Uzdavines [Williamstown], 1976
1:55.77 … Carmen Capella [Washington Twp.], 2004
1:55.93 … Derek Gess [Haddonfield], 2017
As for Gess, he crossed the line behind only Dalton Hengst of Mcdonough School in Maryland (1:54.76), Billy Hill of Franklin Township (1:55.31) and Byron Simmons of St. Benedict’s (1:55.57). Gess’s official splits are 27.8 / 28.7 / 29.0 / and 29.2 for out in 57.5 and back in 58.2.