Oakcrest graduate Ishmael Muhammad led all qualifiers into the finals of the 800-meter run at the Big East championships Friday at the Ocean Breeze facility on Staten Island.
Muhammad won the first semifinal in 1:51.24. The first two finishers in three races plus the next two-fastest times advanced to Saturday’s final.
Muhammad ran within half a second of his indoor PR of 1:50.80, which he ran last February at the Villanova Invitational on the same track. Muhammad ran 1:48.31 for third at the 2015 USATF Junior National Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene.
Two other New Jersey half-milers — Georgetown’s Rey Rivera from Old Bridge and Villanova’s Ben Malone from River Vale and Pascack Valley Regional High — qualified for the final, which is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
In the 200, Villanova teammates Sterling Pierce of Rancocas Valley and freshman Amir Brock of Egg Harbor Township posted the third- and fourth-fastest qualifying times of nine qualifiers for the two-section final, with just 1-10th of a second separating them. Pierce ran 21.87 and Brock 21.88. Sebastian Feyersinger of DePaul led the qualifiers in 21.75. The 200 final is scheduled for 12:50 p.m. Saturday.
Brock ran 21.56 outdoors at EHT but his 21.88 is an indoor and collegiate PR and his first race under 22 as a collegian.
Pierce’s indoor 200 PR is a 21.45, which he ran when he placed second in the 2016 final, just behind Feyersinger. Pierce edged Feyersinger outdoors in the spring of 2016 to win the Big East 200 title.
For full results from Day 1 of the Big East Championships click here.