The first S.J. athlete to win a U.S. track title was 112 years ago!!! The most recent was Saturday!!! Here’s a list of every S.J. athlete that’s won a U.S. title!!!!!

When Florence High graduate Curtis Thompson won the javelin this weekend at the U.S. Track Championships, he continued a tradition that began 112 years ago.

That’s when Almonesson native and four-time Olympic gold mealiMel Sheppard ran 1:55.4 to win the 880-Yard Run at the U.S. Championships in New York. It was the first of five national titles for Sheppard, who grew up in Clayton, moved to what is now Deptford Township when he was 9 and lived later in Haddonfield and Philly.

 

 

MEN
2018
Curtis Thompson [Florence], Javelin [249-3]

1999
Dennis Mitchell [Edgewood], 100-Meter Dash [9.97w]

1996
Dennis Mitchell [Edgewood], 100-Meter Dash [9.92]

1993
Jack Pierce [Woodbury], 110-Meter Hurdles [13.19]

1992
Dennis Mitchell [Edgewood], 100-Meter Dash [10.09]
Jack Pierce [Woodbury], 110-Meter Hurdles [13.13]

1991
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], Long Jump [28-4 1/4]

1990
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], 100-Meter Dash [10.05]
Vince Labosky [Holy Cross], Javelin [261-3]

1987
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], 200-Meter Dash [20.12]
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], Long Jump [28-4 1/2]

1986
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], 100-Meter Dash [9.91w]
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], Long Jump [28-5 1/2w]

1983
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], 100-Meter Dash [10.27]
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], 200-Meter Dash [19.75]
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], Long Jump [28-10 1/4]

1982
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], 100-Meter Dash [10.11]
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], Long Jump [27-10]

1981
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], 100-Meter Dash [10.13]
Carl Lewis [Willingboro], Long Jump [28-3 1/2]

1957
Charles Pratt [Palmyra], Decathlon [7,164]

1956
Charles Pratt [Palmyra], 200-Meter Hurdles [22.8]

1955
Charles Pratt [Palmyra], 220-Yard Hurdles [23.5]

1912
Mel Sheppard [Almonesson], 880-Yard Run [1:57.4]

1911
Mel Sheppard [Almonesson], 880-Yard Run [1:54.9]

1908
Mel Sheppard [Almonesson], 880-Yard Run [1:55.6]

1907
Mel Sheppard [Almonesson], 880-Yard Run [1:55.2]

1906
Mel Sheppard [Almonesson], 880-Yard Run [1:55.4]

WOMEN
2016
English Gardner [Eastern], 100-Meter Dash [10.74]

2013
English Gardner [Eastern], 100-Meter Dash [10.85]

1986
Carol Lewis [Willingboro], Long Jump [22-9w]

1985
Carol Lewis [Willingboro], Long Jump [22-8 1/2w]

1983
Carol Lewis [Willingboro], Long Jump [22-8]

1982
Carol Lewis [Willingboro], Long Jump [22-4 1/4]

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FLORENCE’S CURTIS THOMPSON WINS NATIONAL JAVELIN CHAMPIONSHIP IN HIS FIRST MEET IN A YEAR!!!!!!! HOLY COWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!

What an achievement for Curtis Thompson!!!

In his first meet in nearly a year, the Florence High graduate — finally healthy again — won the javelin Saturday at the USATC Championships in Boise!!!

It’s the first national title for Thompson, who in 2016 was the NCAA champion for Mississippi State and placed a close second in the Olympic Trials, setting the meet record before missing out on a trip to the Olympics because some archaic qualifying rules.

Thompson threw 249-3, beating second-place Capers Williamson by 11 inches.

Thompson opened with a 244-7, which led all throwers after the first round, then improved to 248-7 on his second throw, which continued to lead the pack. He finished the trials with a 236-2.

In the finals, he improved to 249-3 on his first attempt — his best throw in two years, since he threw 260-1 on July 15, 2016, at the NCACAC Under-23 Championships to close out the 2016 season in San Salvadore, El Salvadore.

He closed out with 233-5 and 231-10 but on this day that was enough.

Thompson moved into the No. 3 spot on the 2018 U.S. list behind Michael Shuey (257-7) and Aaron True (254-2), who placed fourth and sixth Saturday.

Thompson became the second South Jersey native to win the national javelin title. In 1990, Holy Cross graduate Vince Labosky of Tabernacle Township threw 261-3 to win the national title with the old implement.

Other New Jersey natives who’ve won the national javelin title are Mark Murro of Essex Catholic (284-3 in 1969), Bob Roggy of Holmdel (289-9 in 1982) and Bobby Smith of Monmouth Regional in 2008 (249-6).

This was Thompson’s first meet since he competed in a low-key meet in Chula Vista, Calif., on July 21, 2017. After throwing 271-11 at the 2016 Trials and ranking No. 2 among U.S. men in 2016, his best throw in 11 meets in 2017 was 249-2.

Thompson, the No. 16 thrower in U.S. history, won the 2016 NCAA title for Mississippi State but red-shirted this past year.

Another South Jersey product, veteran thrower Tim VanLiew of Deptford High School, threw 236-4 for fifth place.

 

In her first track 10,000 in two years, Haddonfield’s Marielle Hall places a close second at USATF National Championships!!!!!

Haddonfield’s Marielle Hall placed second in the 10,000-meter run Thursday at the USATF National Championships in Boise.

Hall ran 31:56.68, finishing just 25 meters behind Molly Huddle, who won in 31:52.32. Hall ran less than 20 seconds off her PR of 31:37.45 set two years ago. It was her first 10,000 on the track since May of 2016.

After the initial lap, Hall ran a ridiculously even set of splits through a mile to go, when the race really sped up. From lap 2 through lap 21, she ran every lap between 76.70 and 78.57 and at one point clicked off six straight laps between 77.12 and 77.87.

The top 12 runners stayed packed together for most of the race, with Hall spending the entire race either in second or third, just behind Huddle and Stephanie Bruce. With five laps to go, Hall moved into second, and with four laps to go, Huddle and Hall had gapped the field, building a rapidly growing lead on the rest of the pack.

Hall ran her last 1,600 in 4:42 and her final 800 in 2:17.6, but Huddle closed in 64.5 and gapped Hall on the final lap.

Here are Hall’s splits for the 25-lap race:

400: 81.74 (81.74)
800: 78.62 (2:40.36)
1,600: 78.01 (3:58.36)
2,000: 77.55 (5:15.65)
2,400: 77.31 (7:50.48)
2,800: 77.15 (9:07.37)
3,200: 77.12 (10:24.49)
3,600: 77.24 (11:41.72)
4,000: 77.87 (12:59.58)
4,800: 78.23 (15:35.33)
5,200: 77.47 (16:52.80)
5,600: 78.47 (18:11.26)
6,000: 76.70 (19:27.96)
6,400: 78.14 (20:46.09)
6,800: 77.19 (22:03.23)
7,200: 77.45 (23:20.67)
7,600: 77.64 (24:48.31)
8,000: 77.35 (25:55.66)
8,400: 78.57 (27:14.23)
8,800: 73.09 (28:27.31)
9,200: 71.78 (29:39.08)
9,600: 69.10 (30:48.17)
10,000: 68.51 (31:56.68)

Hall is entered in the 5,000, which is scheduled for Sunday.

Woodard just misses finals, places 11th in discus at U.S. Championships!!! Shot put is next!!!!!

Competing in her secondary event, Cherokee graduate Jessica Woodard placed 11th at the USATF Championships in Boise Thursday in the discus with a throw of 183-3.

Woodard opened with throws of 168-11 and 169-4 before hitting the 183-3 on her final throw of the trials. She missed the eight-woman final by just 17 inches.

This is Woodard’s third U.S. championships but her first year qualifying in both the shot and the discus.

Woodard is scheduled to compete in the shot put on Friday. She is the No. 22-ranked U.S. woman in history in the shot at 61-3 1/2.

Impressive South Jersey contingent of 10 athletes heading for USATF Nationals this weekend in Idaho!!!!!

Athletes from Florence, Haddonfield, Delsea, Rancocas Valley, Woodstown, Haddon Township, Williamstown, Cherokee, Absegami and Deptford are heading to Boise for this week’s USATF national championships.

Several South Jersey athletes just missed qualifying, including Penns Grove’s Jaymes Dennison in the 800 and Winslow’s Torie Robinson in the 100. Dennison in particular came very close, missing the field by just 5-100ths of a second.

Several who did qualify have elected to skip the meet, including Olympic gold medalists Nia Ali of Pleasantville in the 100 hurdles and English Gardner of Eastern in the 100 and Megan SaxvanderWeyden of Pennsville in the javelin.

The meet runs Thursday afternoon through Sunday afternoon. Here’s an event-by-event glance at South Jersey’s contingent at USATF nationals!

MEN’S JAVELIN [2:10 p.m. Saturday]
Curtis Thompson [Florence]
Thompson, the 2016 NCAA champion and Olympic Trials runner-up, will compete for the first time in nearly a year. Thompson is No. 15 in U.S. history with his 271-11 at the 2016 Trials.
Tim VanLiew [Deptford] 
The 28-year-old VanLiew has a PR of 261-2 from a meet in Tucson in the spring of 2016. He threw close to that last year with a 256-1 in East Stroudsburg last summer.

MEN’S 1,500 [3:55 p.m. Thursday]
Ford Palmer [Absegami]
Palmer has run 3:39.98 this year, No. 24 this year among U.S. men, from a meet last month at Swarthmore. His PR is 3:36.98 from a meet in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium, in 2015.

WOMEN’S 5,000 [3:22 p.m. Sunday]
Erika Kemp [Rancocas Valley]
Kemp takes a PR of 15:41.43 into the race, a time she ran early in the season at Mt. SAC. She went on to place 10th at NCAAs, earning All-America status with a 15:48.62.
Marielle Hall [Haddonfield] 
Hall ran her 5,000 PR of 15:06.45 in Eugene in 2015, which is No. 16 in U.S. history, and she’s run as fast as 15:16.57 this fall, a mark she achieved a week and a half ago in Portland, Ore.

WOMEN’S 10,000 [7 p.m. Thursday]
Marielle Hall [Haddonfield]
Hall’s 10,000 PR is 31:37.45 from Palo Alto two springs ago. That ranks her No. 24 in U.S. history. She hasn’t run a 10,000 on the track since the Olympics, when she ran 32:39.32 on Aug. 12, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro.

WOMEN’S SHOT PUT [2:10 p.m. Sunday]
Jessica Woodard [Cherokee] 
Woodard is the No. 4 U.S. woman this year with her PR of 61-3 1/2 earlier this month. That ranks her No. 22 in U.S. history.

WOMEN’S DISCUS [2 p.m. Thursday]
Jessica Woodard [Cherokee]
Woodard ranks 10th among U.S. women this spring with a 190-9 in Austin back in March.

WOMEN’S JAVELIN [5 p.m. Thursday]
Brenna Smith [Haddon Township] 
Smith has a PR of 161-7 from a meet at Duke back in April. She’s one of three 160-foot throwers from South Jersey but the only one who entered nationals.

WOMEN’S 100-METER DASH [5:45 p.m. Thursday] 
Gabrielle Farquharson [Williamstown] 
Farquharson, a former Rutgers All-America in the long jump, 100 and 200, has a PR of 11.32 from the 2016 Big 10 meet.  She’s run 11.67 this year.

WOMEN’S 200-METER DASH [1:35 p.m. Saturday, 2:15 p.m. & 4:20 p.m. Sunday]
Gabrielle Farquharson [Williamstown] 
Farquharson’s 200 PR is 23.07 from 2016, and she’s run 23.68 this year.

MEN’S LONG JUMP [2:25 p.m. Sunday]
Tariq Thomas [Woodstown]
Just a month after graduating from Delaware Valley College, the seven-time NCAA Division 3 All-America heads to his first national championship as a late addition to the field. Thomas PR’d with a 25-9 1/2 in a meet at Widner last month.

MEN’S SHOT PUT [2:45 p.m. Saturday]
Josh Awotunde [Delsea]
Awotunde, fresh off his second-place finish at NCAA’s, has a PR of 69-11 3/4 from a meet this past winter. Awotunde was ranked 15th in the world with that mark indoors and has thrown 68-1 3/4 this spring

For the meet order of events, click here.

For a complete list of all entrants, click here.

For a list of the top U.S. performances in 2018, click here.

I’d love to link to the 2018 on-line meet program, but sadly there isn’t one.

R.V. graduate Danielle Steff caps tremendous breakthrough season with 7th-place finish at USATF Junior Nationals!!!!!

A year ago, she wasn’t even the top javelin thrower at her own high school. Now, Danielle Steff is one of the top college freshmen in the country.

Steff capped a huge breakthrough freshman year at Monmouth by placing seventh in the USATF Junior Nationals with a throw of 154-3 in Bloomington, Ind.

At Rancocas Valley last year, Julianne Foering and Steff formed a potent 1-2 javelin punch, with Foering throwing over 140 feet and Steff 139. They placed 1-2 at the county meet, 2-3 at sectionals, 2-5 at states and 3-7 at the Meet of Champions, with Foering getting the nod each time.

Then they were off to their respective colleges, Steff at Monmouth and Foering at Temple.

Foering had a very good first year for Temple, although she didn’t throw after early May. She did throw a season-best 134-0 at her last meet.

Steff finished as the No. 11 freshman in the country with her throw of 160-7 when she won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title at Rider. That is the No. 2 throw in Monmouth history, behind another South Jersey thrower, Faith Blamon of Cinnaminson.

Steff went on to place third at the IC4As in Princeton and then 151-1 at NCAA Regionals in Tampa.

She finished her season this past weekend, popping the 154-3 on her first throw of the competition.

Moorestown grad Zion Howard finishes remarkable breakthrough season with near-PR 200-meter dash at USATF Junior Nationals!!!!!

Moorestown grad Zion Howard ran a near-PR 21.53 into a headwind in the 200-meter dash this past weekend at the USATF Junior Nationals in Bloomington, Ind.

Howard, who recently completed his freshman year at Moravian, was one of only two NCAA Division 3 sprinters in the field and finished ahead of the other, Rodrick McMiller of Wisconsin-Platteville.

Howard, racing in the second of four heats, missed qualifying for the final by less than half a second.

Last month, Howard ran 21.42 into a 1.7 meters-per-second wind to place fourth at the Division 3 nationals in La Crosse, Wisc. That earned him All-America honors. McMiller won that race in 21.17.

The race at USATF juniors capped a massive breakthrough season for Howard, whose high school best at 200 meters was a a pedestrian 22.32 for fifth place in the South Jersey Group 3 sectionals last spring.

Think about how far Thomas came this past year.

His greatest success in high school came in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles, an event he won last year at the Burlington County Open and placed third at sectionals in 56.33.

He never placed higher than fifth at sectionals in the 200 and never even raced the event at the county meet. His best finish in the Liberty Division meet in the 200 was an eighth in 2016.

And now he’s put together back-to-back meets with 21.42 and 21.53.

Thomas’s improvement has been equally astounding in the 100, where he had a PR of 11.69 in high school — from a 17th-place finish at 2016 sectionals — but ran as fast as 10.67 this past spring at Moravian, which is located in Bethlehem.

Thomas was the No. 6 freshman in Division 3 in the 100 and No. 2 in the 200 (behind McMiller).