The From the Backstretch Blog loves really fast times, but we love huge PRs more than anything. And when you get a huge PR that’s also a really fast time … well, that’s when we’re happiest.
Which brings us to Darielle Cross.
Cross is a sophomore hurdler at Rowan, and you may have missed her performance at the New Jersey Athletic Conference meet, but it was a doozy.
Cross, who ran scholastically at Matawan, went into the meet on Monday at the Sea Breeze facility in Staten Island with a PR in the 60-meter high hurdles of 9.21 from the prelims of the Lehigh Fast Times meet in Bethlehem back in December.
She then lowered that to 9.16 in the trials, which was the fourth-fastest time in the prelims, and then put everything together in the final, running 8.93 to finish in a virtual tie for second with Jocelyn Anderson of Montclair State (via Eatontown and Monmouth Regional).
Both were clocked in 8.93, but Anderson was credited with second and Cross third in a super close finish between Monmouth County natives.
That’s a PR for Cross of nearly a quarter of a second in the final and a one-day improvement of 28-100ths of a second.
Her fastest previous final was a 9.26, so she ran 33/100ths of a second faster than she had ever run in a final.
That’s a huge drop in a race that’s only 60 meters long!
Teammate Aspen McMillan, the nation’s top-ranked high hurdler, won the race in 8.87 — just 6-100ths ahead of Anderson and Cross. McMillan, from South Brunswick, has an NCAA Division 3-leading 8.74 from a meet at Ithaca earlier this month.
But Cross is now ranked tied for ninth in Division 3, thanks to her breakthrough race at the conference meet.
Cross also won the 200 at the NJAC meet in 25.88 and placed seventh in the 60 in 8.11 after an 8.08 in the trials.
She also led off Rowan’s 800-meter relay team, which won in 1:42.61. McMillan, Aaniyah Robinson of Passaic County Tech and Brianna Angelella of Southern Regional also ran on the 4-by-200 team, which just missed the school record of 1:42.15 that McMillan anchored two years ago.
What a meet!