Rancocas Valley and Haddonfield both dipped under eight minutes for the first time this year Friday morning in the 3,200-Meter Relays at the 124th annual Penn Relays at Franklin Field.
R.V. placed 15th overall in 7:59.33 and Haddonfield 17th overall in 7:59.58 in a different race. Both just missed qualifying for the Championship of America.
The 12-fastest teams in the four races advance to the Championship race. The slowest qualifier Friday was Pennsbury of Bucks County, which ran 7:58.75.
So R.V. missed by about half a second and Haddonfield by just under a second.
But the two South Jersey powerhouses still posted the fastest times in South Jersey this year despite racing during a morning downpour.
Haddonfield ran first, in the first of two small-school races, and the Bulldogs placed fourth overall. Derek Gess led off with a 1:58.29 split followed by Ethan Spellman (1:57.60), Greg Eisenhower (2:02.16) and Martin Riddell (2:01.54).
Haddonfield didn’t run sub-8:00 last year but has now gone under five of the last six years, a remarkable record of consistency.
About 10 minutes after Haddonfield ran, Rancocas Valley was on the track for the third 4-by-8, the first of two large-school races. The Red Devils wound up sixth in the fastest race of the day, with six schools dipping under eight minutes.
Jake Tyndale (2:01.31), Vincent Brown (2:00.98), Ian Moore (1:58.97) and Micah Wood (1:58.09) ran for R.V.
This is the Red Devils’ fourth time under 8:00 in the last five years — all but 2015, when they missed by less than a second.
Of the 22 New Jersey schools in the field, only two ran faster than R.V. and Haddonfield. St. Benedict’s of Newark ran 7:57.62 and North Hunterdon ran 7:58.17, and both advanced to the Championship of America, which is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday.
Overall this year, R.V. and Haddonfield rank sixth and seventh among New Jersey schools this year.
Cinnaminson also ran well, clocking 8:08.90, just off its qualifying mark of 8:08.72 made in much better conditions.
Justin Arnold (2:03.53), Tom Ungvarsky (2:03.07), Austin Gabay (2:00.84) and Max Adams (2:01.47) ran for the Pirates.