Haddonfield’s Derek Gess, Highland’s Ben Woodard record HUGE 1,600 PRs and top two 2018 S.J. times at states!!!!!

South Jersey’s top two milers, Haddonfield’s Derek Gess and Highland’s Ben Woodward, ran huge PRs at states Friday, both lowering their PRs below 4:16 in separate races at Central Regional in Bayville.

Gess lowered his PR from 4:18.87 – which he ran indoors at states at the Bennett Center – to 4:15.52, fastest this year in South Jersey. His previous outdoor PR was 4:20.51 at states last year at Northern Burlington.

He placed third in the state Group 2 race, behind Devin Hart of Point Pleasant Borough, who ran 4:12.23, and Fahd Nasser of McNair Academic, who ran 4:14.76.

Incredibly, Gess is the sixth Haddonfield runner in the last 10 years to run sub-4:16. That’s mind-boggling for any school, especially a small public school in the suburbs. And it speaks volumes about Nick Baker and all the coaches in that Haddonfield program.

Here’s that list:

• 4:09.30 … Colin Baker (Haddonfield), 2009
• 4:14.14 … Ben Potts (Haddonfield), 2009
• 4:14.25 … Matt Nussbaum (Haddonfield), 2010
• 4:15.10 … Greg Pelose (Haddonfield), 2015
• 4:15.52 … Derek Gess (Haddonfield), 2018
• 4:15.92 … Jonathan Vitez (Haddonfield), 2009

Woodard lowered his PR a whopping seven seconds, from 4:22.41 to 4:15.62, in a ridiculously fast race that saw five runners under 4:16 and all five PR’ing by at least five seconds.

That’s insane, and it’s why we love this sport so much!

Damien Dilcher won the race in 4:11.28, and Woodard was fifth in 4:15. The race produced five of the top-15 times in the state this year, including Dilcher at No. 2 behind Tim McInerney of CBA, who ran 4:10.75 at the Monmouth County meet last month in Holmdel.

Including Kingsway soph Stone Caraccio of Kingsway and Connor Melko of Bishop Eustace, there are now four South Jersey milers under 4:17 this year. Caraccio ran fourth in the Group 4 race Friday in 4:17.77, and Melko was third in the Parochial A race earlier this week in 4:18.76.

Cinnaminson sophomore Austin Gabay [4:17.79], Camden Catholic junior Matt Coffey [4:18.33], Kingsway senior Jonathan Connor [4:19.77] and Cherokee senior Justin Kelly [4:19.93] give South Jersey a total of eight under 4:20.

 

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