Winslow girls register absolutely INSANE sprint triple at Woodbury Relays

Juniors Flora Ahiarakwe and Shakira Dancy led the Winslow girls to an astonishing sprint relay triple Saturday at the 45th annual Woodbury Relays.

Winslow didn’t win the Group 4 team title at Woodbury — Timber Creek also had a tremendous day and outscored Winslow 58-47 — but Winslow’s sprint triple was ridiculous!

The Eagles ran the No. 1 times in South Jersey this year in the 4-by-100, 4-by-200 and 4-by-400.

Winslow won the 400-meter relay in 47.44, the 800-meter relay in 1:40.30 and the 1,600-meter relay in 3:55.15. The 47.44 broke the meet record of 46.85 set by Winslow in 2004.

Sophomore Tionna Tobias led off the 4-by-1, followed by Ahiarakwe, senior Iyianna Williams and Dancy.

Williams led off the 4-by-200, followed by Ahiarakwe, freshman Janeya Hammond and Dancy.

And in the 4-by-4, the order was Williams, Ahiarakwe, Hammond and Dancy.

How fast did Winslow run?

The 47.44 is No. 6 in South Jersey history and No. 20 in state history. The 1:40.30 is No. 3 in South Jersey history and No. 12 in state history. The 3:55 doesn’t make the all-time lists but for a cold, rainy day in mid-April, it sure augurs well for Penn next weekend.

Let’s get right to the lists!

Here is the all-time South Jersey 400-meter relay list, which shows Winslow holding five of the top eight spots:

46.87 … Eastern 2003
46.9h … Willingboro, 1980
47.06 … Winslow Twp., 2014
47.18 … Winslow Twp., 2013
47.40 … Winslow Twp., 2016
47.44 … Winslow Twp., 2017
47.45 … Willingboro, 1994
47.54 … Winslow Twp., 2003
47.3h … Willingboro, 1981
47.4h … Camden, 1978
47.4h … Camden, 1979
47.75 … Eastern, 2002
47.76 … Winslow Twp., 2005
47.76 … Winslow Twp., 2012
47.82 … Moorestown, 2000
47.85 … Deptford, 2015
47.87 … Winslow Twp., 2011
47.9h … Willingboro, 1995
47.94 … Camden, 1995
48.03 … Penns Grove, 2014
47.8h … Willingboro, 2003
48.07 … Camden, 2006
48.08 … Winslow Twp., 2004
48.08 … Willingboro, 2009
48.12 … Washington Twp., 2001
48.14 … Camden, 1997
48.23 … Woodrow Wilson, 2006
48.23 … Egg Harbor Twp., 2015
48.24 … Camden, 2008
48.25 … Egg Harbor Twp., 2014

And the all-time South Jersey 800-meter relay list:

1:39.21 … Eastern, 2003
1:39.59 … Winslow Twp. 2012
1:40.33 … Winslow Twp., 2017
1:40.62 … Winslow Twp., 2003
1:40.5h … Wilson, 2006
1:40.91 … Winslow Twp., 2004
1:41.10 … Washington Twp., 1999
1:41.20 … Willingboro, 1994
1:41.33 … Camden, 2009
1:41.1h … Camden, 1995
1:41.40 … Winslow Twp., 2005
1:41.2h … Camden, 2006
1:41.54 … Willingboro, 1999
1:41.56 … Highland, 1998
1:41.59 … Eastern, 2002
1:41.7h … Wilson, 2008
1:41.5h … Pleasantville, 1995
1:41.5h … Wilson, 2005
1:41.81 … Willingboro, 1995
1:41.85 … Deptford, 2015
1:41.86 … Willingboro, 2000
1:41.87 … Camden, 2001
1:41.88 … Winslow Twp., 2013

Pennsauken’s Martin Booker pulls off incredible triple at Neshaminy Invite!!!

How about this monster triple:

Pennsauken senior Martin Booker Jr. won the 100 in 10.77, the 200 in 21.73 and the 400 in 48.68 Saturday at the Neshaminy Track Classic across the river in Bucks County.


That’s two New Jersey No. 1’s and a N.J. #2 for Booker, who also found time to run a leg on Pennsauken’s 42.81 400-meter relay team.

Booker tied his 100 PR of 10.77, which he originally set when he placed third at last year’s Meet of Champions.

He came within 1-100th of a second of his 200 PR of 21.76, which he ran when he placed second in last year’s Meet of Champions.

And he ran his second-fastest 400, behind only the 48.33 he ran in a hot Liberty Division 400 at the Burlington County Scholastic League championships last spring.

Has any South Jersey sprinter ever run those times in one day? Probably a few guys but I doubt anybody has ever done it this early in the season.

The last New Jersey runner to run that fast in all three events at any point in the same season was Zaire Clemes of Trenton in 2013.

The last South Jersey sprinter to run those three times in the same season was Woodbury’s Shawnee Kersey in 2007. At the Group 1 states at Egg Harbor, Kersey ran 10.76, 21.72 in the 200 and 47.88 in the 400 — but that was over two days.

T.J. Johnson of Egg Harbor Township came very close in 2009, with 10.67 and 21.30 but ran a fraction slower than Booker in the 400 at 48.69.

Booker now ranks No. 1 in New Jersey in the 200 and 400 and No. 2 in the 100 behind Camden County rival Antonio Tarantino of Paul VI, who ran 10.68 last weekend at another Bucks County meet – the Bensalem Invitational.

As for the 42.81, that’s No. 2 in the state this year behind Seton Hall Prep’s 42.75 and No. 1 in South Jersey.

All in all, a pretty good day’s work for Booker Jr.!

Collingswood’s Adam Hunt registers South Jersey #1 discus throw at TCNJ!

Collingswood senior Adam Hunt, the state Group 2 discus champ a year ago, popped a 166-11 throw Saturday, No. 2 in the state this year and the best throw so far this spring by a South Jersey thrower.

Hunt was over 170 feet in three meets last year, including a PR of 176-6 to win the state Group 2 title. He went on to medal at the Meet of Champs, where he was eighth. He won by over 30 feet in the College of New Jersey High School Invitational Saturday in Ewing.

Hunt is one of 20 boys from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maine, Virginia, Canada and Jamaica accepted into the invitational discus at the 123rd annual Penn Relays in two weeks.

With some Saturday meets still going on, Hunt ranks No. 2 in the state so far this spring behind defending Meet of Champions winner Jordan West of Rahwah, who threw 190-2 last year and popped a NJ-leading 181-0 last weekend in a meet in Columbia, S.C.


Please welcome Rancocas Valley junior Nick Mirabelli to the 200-foot club!

Nick Mirabelli became the 24th member of the 200-foot Club Saturday with a personal-best 202-4 javelin bomb at the College of New Jersey High School Invite in Ewing.

Mirabelli, who PR’d at 198-0 at the Moorestown Invitational last weekend, moved into the No. 19 spot on the all-time New Jersey list with the new implement, which went into use in 2002.

The Rancocas Valley junior is the sixth 200-foot thrower with the new javelin from South Jersey and the first from R.V., although the second from his family. Older brother Chris, now a standout at Rutgers, threw 216-6 in 2014 and was a Meet of Champions winner as a junior.

Rancocas Valley’s school record with the old javelin, which generally sailed about 10 percent farther than the current impliment, is 221-7, set in 1978 by the great Drew Forbes.

Here’s the all-time state list with the current javelin, now in its 16th year of use. South Jersey throwers are listed in bold.

  • 224-10 … Curtis Thompson [Florence], 2014
  • 224-  1 … Kaleb Zuidema [Midland Park], 2010
  • 217-  9 … Dean Sullivan [Delbarton], 2011
  • 216-  6 … Chris Mirabelli [Holy Cross], 2014
  • 209-11 … Stephen Burk [Parsippany], 2012
  • 209-  5 … Kevin Steimle [Mahwah], 2009
  • 209-  0 … Josh Suttmeier [North Hunterdon], 2010
  • 208-11 … Kevin Seery [Hanover Park], 2011
  • 207-  7 … Seth Zuidema [Midland Park], 2014
  • 206-10 … Cade Antonucci [Holy Spirit], 2016
  • 206-  1 … Mike Brazil [North Arlington], 2014
  • 205-11 … Robert Scales [Middletown South], 2002
  • 204-  3 … Marion Easley [Somerville], 2005
  • 203-  7 … James Malizia [St. Joe’s-Montvale], 2002
  • 203-  6 … Stephen Benigno [Cherry Hill East], 2014
  • 202-10 … Chandler Balter [Livingston], 2014
  • 202-  9 … Brian Florek [Old Bridge], 2007
  • 202-  6 … Jim Tully [Christian Brothers Academy], 2010
  • 202-  4 … Nick Mirabelli [Rancocas Valley], 2017
  • 202-  0 … Steven Pierce [Ridgewood], 2006
  • 201-  5 … Zachary Torrell [Lacey Twp.], 2011
  • 201-  4 … Will Gonzalez [Cedar Grove], 2010
  • 201-  0 … Sean Biehn [Burlington City], 2006
  • 200-  3 … Cody Unger [Jefferson Twp.], 2008

The Mirabelli brothers still trail the Zuidema brothers of Midland Park in the sibling category. Kaleb Zuidema threw 224-1 in 2010 and Seth Zuidema threw 207-7 in 2014 for a family total of 431-8.

Chris and Nick so far have combined to throw 418-10, but Nick has the rest of this season and all of next year to add 12 feet, 9 inches to his PR and seize the family record from the Zuidemas. Nick would need to throw 215-3 for the Mirabellis to take over the New Jersey sibling lead.

Shawnee girls run N.J. #1 9:24 at Holmdel Twilight, hope for Penn Relays invitation!

The Shawnee girls won the 3,200-meter relay Thursday night at the Holmdel Twilight #1 meet at Bob Roggy Stadium with a 2017 New Jersey-best 9:24.44, a likely Penn Relays qualifier.

Shawnee won by 80 meters over second-place Colts Neck, which ran 9:38.70. The Renegades just missed the school record of 9:23.67, set three years ago at Group 4 sectionals. Hard to believe they didn’t run faster during the Michelle DiMuro days!

There is no specific time a school needs to run to qualify for Penn, but in the Large School division of the 4-by-800, 9:24 should be fast enough to safely qualify. The DMR and 3,200-meter relay fields will be announced on Sunday.

Grace Kearns led off for the Renegades, followed by Bella Turner, Claire Hauser and Kara Bonner.

This was Shawnee’s first 3,200-meter relay this spring. The Renegades ran 9:37.54 indoors with a lineup that included Kearns, Bonner, Hauser and Taylor Dirscherl.

The 123rd annual Penn Relays is scheduled for April 27-29 at Franklin Field on the Penn campus in West Philly. The girls 4-by-8’s qualifying races are scheduled for that Thursday morning.

Shawnee’s time is No. 23 in South Jersey history indoors or outdoors.

9:04.66 … Lenape, 2013 [in]
9:05.62 … Lenape, 2012 [out]
9:05.83 … Lenape, 2008 [out]
9:06.30 … Haddonfield, 2008 [out]
9:09.71 … Lenape, 2012 [in]
9:10.32 … Haddonfield, 2000 [out]
9:11.94 … Lenape, 2008 [in]
9:15.61 … Ocean City, 2014 [out]
9:15.92 … Haddonfield, 2015 [out]
9:16.79 … Haddonfield, 1999 [out]
9:18.71 … Lenape, 2011 [out]
9:18.94 … Lenape, 2006 [out]
9:19.15 … Wilson, 2002 [out]
9:19.35 … Wilson, 2002 [in]
9:20.39 … Haddonfield, 2014 [out]
9:20.55 … Seneca, 2008 [out]
9:21.7h … Ocean City, 1994 [out]
9:22.30 … Lenape, 2010 [in]
9:22.37 … Egg Harbor Twp., 2013 [out]
9:22.38 … Buena, 1999 [in]
9:23.53 … Seneca 2016 [out]
9:23.67 … Shawnee, 2014 [out]
9:24.44 … Shawnee, 2017 [out]

Paul VI junior Antonio Tarantino runs NJ #1 10.68 for 100 meters at Bensalem Invitational!

Paul VI junior Antonio Tarantino headed across the Delaware River to Bensalem this past weekend with a 100-meter dash PR of 11.50. That was good for 26th place in the South Jersey Invitational last year.

Now, Tarantino is ranked No. 1 in New Jersey.

Tarantino isn’t a total sprint novice. He did run a fast as 22.06 this past winter for 200 meters, sixth-fastest in the state in the rarely run event, and he got his 55 time down to 6.57, fourth-fastest by a South Jersey runner this past indoor season.

But in his spring opener, Tarantino showed that he can run a pretty good 100 as well.

Tarantino ran 10.71 in the trials and 10.68 in the finals to win the 100 at the Bensalem Invitational. He also ran a PR 51.83 to place second in the 400.

Tarantino’s time appears to be the fastest by a South Jersey non-public sprinter since Holy Cross’s James Townsend ran 10.45 to win the 2003 Meet of Champions in the final race of his life.

Looks like Tarantino is No. 10 in Camden County history but only 5-100ths out of the No. 6 spot.

  • 10.35 … Jamar Ervin [Camden], 2000
  • 10.36 … Damiere Byrd [Timber Creek], 2011
  • 10.47 … Dennis Mitchell [Edgewood], 1983
  • 10.53 … Todd Dutch [Washington Twp.], 2001
  • 10.58 … Antonio Miles [Winslow Twp.], 2003
  • 10.63 … Sable Gonnet [Eastern], 2007
  • 10.65 … Dominique Irons [Haddon Heights], 2013
  • 10.67 … Kashif Miller [Haddon Heights], 2014
  • 10.67 … Antraye Miles [Winslow Twp.], 2003
  • 10.68 … Antonio Tarantino [Paul VI], 2017
  • 10.69 … Robert Darby [Pennsauken], 2006

Eastern graduate Tucker shatters Rowan long jump record, closes in on rare 25 / 7-0 club membership!!!!!

Eastern graduate Jeffrey Jon Tucker broke his own Rowan University long jump record this weekend at the Oscar Moore Invitational in Glassboro.

Tucker soared 24-10 on his fifth attempt, missing the 25-foot plateau by just two inches.

Tucker actually had the five-best jumps of the competition, opening with jumps of 24-2, 23-11 1/4 and 24-1 before opening the finals with a foul, the 24-10 PR and then a near PR 24-8 3/4 on his final jump.

The former Eastern Viking broke his own school record of 24-5, set last year. Before Tucker, the Rowan school outdoor long jump record was 24-4, set in 1982 by Robert Abdullah.

Tucker was mainly a high jumper in high school. He had a PR of 6-8 to win indoor Group 4 states at the Bubble in 2013 and won outdoor states that spring at 6-7, then going on to take third at the Meet of Champions with a 6-6 clearance.

His high school long jump PR was a 21-0 good for ninth at Group 4 states in the spring of 2013.

At Rowan, Tucker has maintained his high jump prowess while adding the long jump to his arsenal.

He’s a five-time All-America – three times in the high jump and twice in the long jump. His college high jump PR is 7-0 1/2, Rowan’s indoor school record. So far this spring, his best high jump is 6-8 1/4.

Tucker was named ECAC Field Athlete of the Week for his performance this past weekend. He’s already qualified for the IC4A Division 3 meet in both jumps.

Tucker now ranks No. 2 in NCAA Division 3 in the long jump, less than two inches behind Matt Fleming of Benedictine College in Lisle, Ill. Fleming jumped 24-11 3/4 this past weekend. Tucker is also tied for eighth in the high jump, with teammate Harrison Escoffery from Hackensack No. 2 with his PR 6-10 1/4 from this past weekend.

Tucker only needs two more inches in the long jump to become a rare member of the 25 / 7 club.

How many South Jersey athletes can you think of who have cleared 7-0 in the high jump and soared 25 feet in the long jump? Mike Morrison and Kerry Vivett come to mind. Anybody else?

Haddonfield graduate Gavin Schmeck blossoms in freshman year at University of Vermont!!!!

If you’re a long-time From the Backstretch reader, you know we love writing about fast people.

You also know our favorite stories are fast people who weren’t always fast.

Track and field is a sport where people improve at different rates and at different times. So many high school studs for whatever reason never run faster in college, but at the same time we love sharing stories about runners who didn’t have a lot of success in high school who take off in college.

Which brings is to Gavin Schmeck.

What a story!

And we thank Dave Stewart for the heads up about Gavin’s remarkable freshman year at Vermont.

First, some background. Schmeck’s PRs at Haddonfield were a pedestrian 2:11, 4:51 and 10:40. He ran a decent 16:22 in cross country on the Delsea speedway and was Haddonfield’s third runner at states in 2015, placing 15th overall with a 16:55 at Holmdel when the Bulldogs placed second to Voorhees in the state Group 2 meet.

Good solid runner at a terrific program. But no sign of what was to come next.

Schmeck walked on at the University of Vermont in Burlington this past fall, and as a freshman, he earned a spot on the Catamounts’ varsity XC team. And at the America East Championships, Schmeck was Vermont’s fifth runner, placing 32nd in 25:49 over 8K at Jerusalem Mill Park in Kingsville, Md.

Tremendous improvement. But he was just getting started.

This winter, he lowered his PRs to 4:22.27 for a full mile at the America East championships in Boston, 8:37.24 for 3,000 meters at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational (where he finished ahead of former Haddonfield teammate Greg Pelose), also in Boston and 15:07.41 for 5,000 meters at the America East meet.

A 4:22 mile from someone whose high school PR was 4:51 for 1,600 meters? Schmeck’s 800 PR in high school was 2:11, so he basically carried that pace over a race twice as long this past indoor season.

And this past weekend, in the first track 10,000 of his life, Schmeck ran 31:25:52 to win a tri-meet meet in Worcester, Mass., and qualify for IC4A’s.

What made this performance remarkable is that there were only two other runners and Schmeck was basically in no-man’s-land the whole race, with nobody finishing within 45 seconds of him.

That’s 25 laps solo at 15:42.6 5K pace.

Now consider that Schmeck’s high school 5,000 PR was 16:22 and you see how radical his improvement has been.

Last year, he ran 5:17 pace for his best 5,000 meters.

This past weekend, he ran 5:04 pace for 10,000 meters!

Twice as far 13 seconds per-mile faster!

Schmeck’s 31:25.52 is the No. 1 time in the America East Conference this spring.

Already an incredible story. And Schmeck is just getting started! It’ll sure be fun following his progress over the next few years!

RV’s Aliyah Taylor doubles the sprints with two PRs and NJ #1 performances at Lenape Invite!!!!!

Rancocas Valley junior Aliyah Taylor picked up where she left off indoors, with PRs in both the 100- and 200-meter dash at the Lenape Girls Invite on Saturday.

Taylor won the 100 in 11.95 and the 200 in 24.83. The 11.95 is a big PR, breaking her previous lifetime best of 12.08, when she won the Central Jersey Group 3 meet at Northern Burlington last spring. The 24.83 is an outdoor PR, although she ran 24.61 at indoor nationals last month. Her previous best outdoors was 25.40 also from her win at sectionals last year.

Here’s a look at every South Jersey girl that’s run under 12.00 fully automatic. Taylor’s 100 time is No. 14 in South Jersey history:

  • 11.61 … Amandi Rhett [Moorestown], 1999
  • 11.68 … Bria Mack [Williamstown], 2016
  • 11.70 … Assante Johnson [Camden], 2009
  • 11.73 … Torie Robinson [Winslow Twp.], 2014
  • 11.77 … Aisha Morgan [Schalick], 1999
  • 11.78 … Shameka Speed [Bridgeton], 2003
  • 11.81 … Denise Liles [Kingsway], 1984
  • 11.81 … Audrey Wilson [Deptford], 2008
  • 11.82 … Annie Johnson [Shawnee], 2012
  • 11.84 … Robin Taylor [Deptford], 1980
  • 11.85 … Dana Burnett [Williamstown], 1996
  • 11.88 … Denise Mitchell [Edgewood], 1983
  • 11.94 … Emily Carson [Haddonfield], 2013
  • 11.95 … Aliyah Taylor [Rancocas Valley], 2017
  • 11.96 … Jamillah Nock [Woodrow Wilson], 2004
  • 11.98 … Kiara Lester [Deptford], 2016
  • 11.98 … Ciera Ismail [Schalick], 2014

Taylor now ranks No. 1 in New Jersey in both sprints, with Iyanla Kollock of Our Lady of Mercy Academy in Newfield No. 2 in both races, thanks to her second-place finishes in both races behind Taylor at the Lenape meet.

Kollock ran 12.30 and 25.52. Pollock was Meet of Champions runner-up in the 55 indoors at 7.00, 1-100th of a second behind Gloucester County rival Bria Mack of Williamstown. The 12.30 is a PR for Kollock, who ran 12.41 to win Parochial B sectionals last year. Her 200 PR is a 25.32 from sixth in last spring’s Meet of Champions.


Rowan sprinters bust out at Oscar Moore Invite, Profs record 3 of top 14 times in NCAA Division 3!!!

Rowan’s deep stable of sprinters took advantage of some decent conditions Saturday and dominated the 100-meter dash at the Oscar Moore Invitational on campus in Glassboro.

In the final, senior Dior Hightower ran 10.74, sophomore Steven Jones 10.76 and sophomore Shai Mumford 10.77 to sweep the top three spots. Another Prof, senior Justyce Pollitt, ran 10.89 for sixth.

Rowan is now the only NCAA Division 3 school with three sprinters under 10.80 fully automatic.

Hightower actually ran 10.62 in the trials. All the performances were wind-aided. Hightower’s 10.62 was assisted by a considerable 4.1 meters-per-second wind, but the final was only slightly aided at 2.3 meters per second. Anything over 2.0 meters per second is considered wind-aided. The Division 3 performance list does not differentiate between wind-aided and wind-legal performances.

For unknown reasons, the 2017 NCAA Division 3 performance list does not list Hightower’s 10.62, although it does list other wind-aided performances. In any case, Hightower, Jones and Mumford should be ranked fifth, 12th and 14th in NCAA Division 3 so far this year.

All four are South Jersey natives and of the four, only one broke 11.00 in high school. This is the beauty of the Rowan track team. You don’t need to be a high school star to flourish in this program.

Cameron Dobbins of Rutgers-Camden via Williamstown High School ran 10.77 in the final, splitting Jones and Mumford, and sharing the No. 14 spot with Mumford. So four of the top 15 times in Division 3 this year came from the same race at the Oscar Moore Invite.

Dobbins has a PR of 10.70 from a meet last year at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa.

Rowan’s school record in the 100 is 10.67 by Ed Fortune back in 2002, and presumably only wind-legal marks are considered for record purposes at Rowan, so Hightower will not get credit for that at the moment.

Hightower’s previous PR was a 10.96 from the trials of the Morgan State Legacy meet last April in Baltimore. At Paul VI, his best time was an 11.55 from the prelims of the 2013 Olympic Conference meet at Washington Township.

Jones’ previous PR was a 10.95 in the trials of a meet a couple weeks ago at Widener University in Chester, Pa. His PR was a modest 11.24 during his career at Kingsway, from third place at the 2013 Tri-County Conference meet at Delsea.

Mumford’s previous PR was 10.78 from when he won the South Jersey Group 3 sectionals as a senior at West Deptford.

Pollitt has a PR of 10.82 dating back to the 2015 New Jersey Athletic Conference meet. His best at St. Augustine High School was 11.10 for fifth at the 2013 Cape Atlantic meet.

Needless to say, Rowan seems primed to put together a killer 400-meter relay. Rowan hasn’t loaded up a 4-by-1 yet this year. The school record is a 40.82 from 2002 with Fortune, Matt Davis, Jorge Santiago and Tyree Jackson.

The Profs’ best so far this year is a 42.00 on Saturday with only two of its top four 100 guys – Jonathan Ramirez and Dave Benjamin joined Mumford and Hightower.