Cherry Hill native Isaiah Jean-Baptiste and Florence native Scott Wood both ran legs Sunday on Rider’s school-record 3,200-meter relay team, which placed third at IC4As in Boston with a 7:32.83 and earned all-East honors.
Jean-Baptiste, from Cherry Hill East, and Wood, who graduated from Holy Cross, ran the first and third legs for Rider, whose time shattered the school record of 7:36.34 set two years ago at the same meet on the same track. Wood is the only runner who was on both teams.
Rider ran 7:40.54 with a slightly different lineup in Saturday’s trials — sophomore Dalin Hackley running instead of Jackson. They were a wild-card qualifier as one of the five-fastest non-winning times in three sections, but they only qualified by about 2 1/2 seconds.
But in the final, it was lights out.
Jean-Baptise led off in 1:55.13, followed by senior Jonathan Jackson with a hot 1:50.65 split, followed by Wood with a quick 1:52.70 and then sophomore Anthony Arduino with an 1:54.18 anchor. Jackson is from Roselle and Ardino from Bloomfield.
“The 4×800 ran a great, competitive race,” said Rider coach Bob Hamer, a former star at Council Rock High in Newtown, Pa.
“Breaking the Rider record and earning All-East honors were the two big goals for them coming in to this weekend. Each of them did their job and that contributed to a great end result.”
Jean-Baptiste was Camden County champ last spring for Cherry Hill East and ran as fast as 1:54.59 for 800 meters and 4:16.76 and was Olympic Conference champ in the 1,600. His indoor PRs were 1:58.21 and 4:26.06.
Wood has progressed remarkably at Rider.
He ran as fast as 1:57.90 as a junior at Holy Cross when he placed fourth at the 2012 Burlington County Open at Maple Shade. But that was his only time under 1:59. His best as a senior was 1:59.90 when he won the BCSL meet at Northern Burlington. His indoor 800 PR was 2:03.60.
At Rider, Wood has just gotten better and better.
He ran 1:59.11 as a freshman, 1:57.87 as a sophomore and then broke through with a 1:53.81 at the 2016 Terrier Invitational in Boston last winter. His 1:52.70 split was a career-best.
“Scott Wood a great leg,” Hamer said. “He has come so far in four years, and he has run many really good relay legs for us, but today was his best.
“We have built a program on guys like Scott who come to Rider as an average high school runner and just continue to work hard and they end up accomplishing great things. Scott is an inspiration to so many on this team.”
The 4-by-8 is not an NCAA event and is not contested at most indoor meets, but nonetheless Rider’s time is No. 5 in the country this winter:
7:27.12 … U. Conn, March 5, IC4A
7:28.72 … Rutgers, March 5, IC4A
7:31.79 … Duke, , Feb. 4, Armory Invitational
7:32.73 … Villanova, Feb. 25, Big East
7:32.83 … Rider, March 5, IC4A
7:32.95 … Indiana, Jan. 21, Gladstein Invitational
7:33.28 … Princeton, Feb. 26, Ivy League
7:33.34 … Columbia, March 5, IC4A
7:34.03 … Bucknell, March 5, IC4A
7:34.99 … Rhode Island, March 5, IC4A
7:35.51 … Dartmouth, Feb. 26, Ivy League
7:35.51 … Albany, March 5, IC4A
7:35.58 … Harvard, Feb. 26, Ivy League
7:35.61 … Georgetown, Feb. 25, Big East