Cherokee soph Wechsler records a 74-second 3,200 PR with S.J. #1 time this winter!!!

There are PRs and then there are PRs.

Cherokee sophomore Ethan Wechsler demolished his two-mile PR this weekend, running 9:39.60 for the full two miles at the Ocean Breeze High School Invitational on Staten Island.

That’s the equivalent of a 9:36.24 for 3,200 meters.

Wechsler had never run an indoor 3,200, and his outdoor PR is 10:50.74 from one of the Holmdel Twilight Series meets last spring. His fastest actual 3,200 before this weekend came at the Cherokee Challenge, where he ran 10:34.14 to place 19th in the sophomore race on his home XC course.

Wechsler placed fourth in the two-mile “white” race Saturday, finishing six seconds behind winner Noah Farrelly of Binghamton High in upstate New York.

There are three South Jersey runners under 9:40 so far this winter for either the 3,200 or the equivalent and all three are from Cherokee. Senior Justin Kelly has a 9:39.76 and sophomore Chris Spisak ran 9:39.90, both for 3,200 meters. So if you include converted two-mile times, Wechsler is at the top of that list. Wechsler and Spisak are also No. 1 and No. 4 among all New Jersey sophomores so far this year.

Wechsler’s time is fastest by a South Jersey sophomore indoors since Aaron Groff of Cherry Hill East ran 9:34.66 in 2014.

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Delsea grad Awotunde sets indoor PR with #3 shot put throw in NCAA Division 1!!!!!

story_01_josh_awotundeDelsea graduate Josh Awotunde set an indoor shot put PR and moved into the No. 2 spot in South Carolina history Saturday with a 65-0 3/4 bomb at the Columbia Challenge at the historic 168th Street Armory.

It’s the longest throw by a South Carolina athlete in 20 years!

Awotunde, a senior, had a 61-11 on his third throw but then a 55-2 1/4 and a foul before popping the 65-0 3/4 on his final attempt of the meet to PR and move pass Ohio State’s Nicholas Demaline, who had thrown 62-5 1/4 on his final throw.

Awotunde’s previous indoor PR was a 64-6 when he finished fifth at NCAA’s last year at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas. His overall college PR is a 65-6 at last year’s Penn Relays at Franklin Field in West Philly. He also PR’d in the discus at Penn last year with a 191-11.

Awotunde’s throw is tied for No. 3 in the country this yea, behind only freshman Jordan Geist of Arizona [70-4 1/2 this weekend at a meet in Seattle] and Georgia junior Denzel Comenentia [65-11 at a meet last weekend at Clemson].

Awotunde was already No. 2 in school history but moved closer to school record holder Brad Snyder, a three-time Canadian Olympian who threw 66-8 back in 1998.

Led by Jayaire King, Willingboro boys win second straight state relays title!!!

Junior Jayaire King anchored two second-place relay teams and a third-place team and also ran on the winning shuttle hurdles team, and the Willingboro boys won their second straight state Group 1 relays title Saturday at the Bennett Center in Toms River.

The team title is Willingboro’s 16th at the state relays and fourth in the last seven years. Overall, the Willingboro boys have won 40 state titles indoors and outdoors. Including 19 girls titles, the program has produced 59 state titles. The full chart is below.

In the 800-meter relay, Willingboro ran 1:33.95 with the team of seniors Onaje Howell and Albert Nah and juniors Elijah Valme and King. In the 4-by-4, sophomore Reginald Jones and junior Cristian Coto set up Howell and King, who ran 3:36.12. And in the shuttles, Willingboro ran 32.30 with the team of senior Rayshawn Johnson, King and seniors Zane Hamilton and Donovan Ingram.

This is the fourth straight year Willingboro has won the shuttle hurdles at the state relays. They won in Group 1 in 2015, 2017 and 2018 and in Group 2 in 2016. In 2014 they were third in Group 2.

The Boro took third in the sprint medley in 3:49.26, with seniors Jeremy Thomas and Christian Cisse running the 200s, Valme the 400 and King the 800.

Willingboro also won the high jump relay with sophomores Kameron Smith, who cleared 6-2, and Zaire Clement, who cleared 6-0 combining for a 12-2 clearance.

The Chimeras scored in all three field events. Seniors Isaiah Gibson (42-2 1/4) and Magdiel Cordero (38-7 1/2) teamed up to take fifth in the shot put relay, and sophomores Dontavis Wilson (10-6) and Jason Dingle (9-6) took sixth in the pole vault relay.

Willingboro outscored second-place Glen Rock 48-31,

Here’s a look at all of Willingboro’s state titles over the years!

BOYS
State Relays (16)
1982 [Group 4]
1983 [Group 4]
1985 [Group 3]
1986 [Group 3]
1987 [Group 3]
1990 [Group 4]
1996 [Group 4]
2000 [Group 3]
2001 [Group 3]
2002 [Group 3]
2003 [Group 3]
2005 [Group 3]
2012 [Group 3]
2015 [Group 1]
2017 [Group 1]
2018 [Group 1]

Indoor States (12)
1983 [Group 4]
1986 [Group 3]
1987 [Group 3]
1988 [Group 3]
1989 [Group 3]
1990 [Group 4]
1995 [Group 4]
1997 [Group 4]
2000 [Group 3]
2002 [Group 3]
2012 [Group 2]

Outdoor States (12)
1979 [Group 4]
1981 [Group 4]
1982 [Group 4]
1986 [Group 3]
1988 [Group 3]
1989 [Group 3]
1990 [Group 4]
1991 [Group 4]
1993 [Group 4]
1994 [Group 4]
2002 [Group 3]
2003 [Group 3]

GIRLS
State Relays (9)
1992 [Group 4]
1993 [Group 4]
1995 [Group 4]
1997 [Group 4]
2002 [Group 3]
2003 [Group 3]
2004 [Group 3]
2005 [Group 3]
2010 [Group 2]

Indoor States (6)
1980 [All-Groups]
1981 [Group 4]
1998 [Goup 3]
2002 [Group 3]
2003 [Group 3]
2004 [Group 3]

Outdoor States (4)
1980 [Group 4]
1981 [Group 4]
1999 [Group 3]
2002 [Group 3]

Eastern junior Manny Azonuwu latest South Jersey thrower to join 50-foot club!!!

Eastern junior Manny Azuonwu joined the 50-foot club Friday with a throw of 50-0 1/2 at the state Group 4 relays at the Bennett Center in Toms River.

Azuonwu’s previous indoor shot put PR was 48- 1/4 from a meet at the Bennett Center in December. His overall PR is a 48-2 1/4 from last year’s Olympic Conference meet.

Azuonwu, a St. Augustine transfer, and his partner, senior Cheston Bulgin, placed fourth overall in the shot put relay. Bulgin threw 46-9 1/2, which is an indoor PR although he’s throw as far as 51-0 outdoors.

Azuonwu is Eastern’s first indoor 50-footer since Jarred Williams, who was the 2010 South Jersey Group 4 champion with a 52-9 1/2. Williams threw as far as 55-0 outdoors at Group 4 states.

He’s only the third 50-footer this winter from South Jersey, joining Kamron Kobolak of Cinnaminson (58-9) and Bill Goldsborough of Delsea (57-11 1/2)

Justin Kelly anchor leads Cherokee boys to #10 U.S. DMR at state Group 4 relays!!!

Senior Justin Kelly’s 4:24 anchor led Cherokee to its fastest indoor DMR in 16 years Friday at the state Group 4 relay championships at the Bennett Center in Toms River.

Kelly split 4:24.52 and Cherokee ran 10:35.83, fastest this year by a South Jersey school and No. 10 in the U.S. Cherokee finished just behind West Windsor-Plainsboro South [10:33.36] and Hunterdon Central [10:34.34].

The time is fastest by Cherokee (or any Burlington County school) indoors since the 2001 Chiefs ran 10:16.32 for second at Easterns (Josh Joseph 3:07.2, Sean Meyers 50.9, Kevin Hurley 2:01.8, Marc Pelerin 4:16.3).

On Friday, sophomore Chris Spisak led off with a 3:15.7 followed by seniors Kevin Milligan-Tinker [52.2] and Brandon Marks [2:03.5] to set up Kelly.

Cherokee ran about three seconds faster than Camden Catholic did one day earlier on the same track. Camden Catholic ran 10:38.89 for second place in the Parochial A race with the team of juniors Matt Coffey, Ray Derman, Denny Kelly and Richard Castaneda. The same quartet won the 3,200-meter relay in 8:17.4.

Rowan soph Nick Neville destroys indoor 800 PR, closes in on 36-year-old school record!!!!!

image_handler.aspxRowan sophomore Nick Neville posted the No. 2 800 time this year in NCAA Division 3 when he ran 1:54.32 Saturday at the Great Dane Classic at the Ocean Breeze Complex in Staten Island, N.Y.

The only faster time in the nation according to the Direct Athletics database was turned in the same day by Jack Pinho of Springfield (Mass.) College, who ran 1:54.22 in a meet at Tufts University in Boston.

It looks like Neville’s previous indoor PR was a 1:58.04 at the 2016 Gotham Cup meet on the same track.

Neville placed third behind post-collegiate Wesley Vasquez, who ran 1:49.15, and UMBC’s Ifa Eado, who was second in 1:54.17.

Neville ran 1:53-point three times last spring, including an outdoor PR of 1:53.02 at the Hopkins Invitational in Baltimore. He was second to five-time All-America Jeremy Hernandez of Ramapo in the NJAC meet on Rowan’s home track in Glassboro with a 1:53.91 behind Hernandez’s 1:51.87.

Neville’s 1:54.32 puts him less than a second off Rowan’s indoor school record of 1:53.57, set back in 1981 for Glassboro State by Tavo Rivera, who  won the 1977 Meet of Champions in the 880-yard run for Pemberton.

Neville ran high school track at South Brunswick and was fourth in the 2015 Meet of Champions with a 1:54.21 and also ran on South Brunswick’s fifth-place 3,200-meter relay team, which went 7:53.39 at the M-fo-C.

R.V.’s Taylor, PVI’s Vandergrift finish 1-2 in Millrose Games Trials 55-Meter Dash!!!

Two similarly monickered South Jersey girls — Aliyah Taylor of Rancocas Valley and Aaliyah Vandergrift of Paul VI — took the two qualifying spots in the 55-meter dash Wednesday night at the Millrose Games trials at the 168th Street Armory.

Taylor, a senior, won the race in 7.24 and Vandergrift, a junior, was second with a personal-best 7.27 to qualify for the 111th annual Millrose Games at the Armory next month.

Taylor, the Meet of Champions winner at 55 meters as a sophomore and the 200 last year, has a 55 PR of 7.01 from last year’s state Group 4 meet, when she was second to Williamstown’s Bria Mack, who ran 6.95.

Taylor actually ran 7.23 in the trials to lead all qualifiers to the final and Vandergrift ran 7.37, which lowered her PR of 7.42 from the AT&T Coaches Hall of Fame Invitational at the Armory in mid-December.

The Millrose Games are scheduled for Feb. 3 back at the Armory. This is the meet’s seventh year at the Armory after 98 years at Madison Square Garden. From 1908 through 1913 the meet was held at a Manhattan armory.