Pleasantville junior Gabriel Moronta opened his 2018-19 indoor season with an impressive second-place performance at the Bishop Loughlin Games in his first career 600-meter run.
Moronta won his section in 1:23.84 and finished second overall to Charlie Serrano of Matawan, who ran 1:23.03. There were 115 runners in 16 sections.
Moronta’s time is No. 8 in South Jersey history and No. 3 in Atlantic County history, behind two other Pleasantville middle-distance runners — Alan Laws in 2007 and Isaac Clark in 2012 (see list below).
Moronta, a medalist in the 800 at sectionals last year, was out in 26.1 and 56.0 and ran his last 200 in 27.9. Serrano, for the sake of comparison, was out in 52.5 but closed in 30.6, so if they were in the same section Moronta would have been closing fast at the end and the result could have been different.
Either way it’s an impressive result for Moronta, who ran 51.71 and 2:02.44 last year. He also ran on both Pleasantville’s 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter relay teams, which placed third and fourth at states, helping P-ville win the state outdoor team title.
The 1:23 shows that Moronta in the right race on the right track is already in 1:57-1:58 shape for 800 meters.
All-Time South Jersey 600-Meter List
1:19.6h … Rob Novak [Bordentown], 2005
1:20.71 … Keith Griffith [Florence], 2010
1:21.13 … Shannon Sherrer [Vineland], 2003
1:21.20 … Isaac Clark [Pleasantville], 2012
1:21.76 … Alan Laws [Pleasantville], 2007
1:23.34 … Marcus Phillips [Cherry Hill East], 2011
1:23.56 … Tyler Davidson [Willingboro], 2016
1:23.83 … Gabriel Moronta [Pleasantville], 2019