Sterling senior Alijah Caul continued her outstanding indoor season with a third-place finish in the shot put at Easterns Tuesday night.
Caul had throws of 40-6 1/4 and 40-9 1/2 on her second and third attempt in the trials and was the only competitor with more than one 40-foot throw in the competition. She wound up finishing about a foot behind winner Denae Hill of West Orange, who had a 41-10 1/2 winner.
Considering that Caul placed 27th at Easterns last year with a 33-5 1/2 best throw, you can see how far she’s come.
Her PR last winter was 36-0 and she improved to 38-6 last spring, which was good enough to win South Jersey Group 2 sectionals.
But her real breakthrough has came this winter, with four meets over 40 feet and five others over 39 feet. In fact her worst mark was a 39-2 1/2 at a SJTCA meet last month at the Bennett Center. That’s remarkable consistency. In fact, Caul has averaged a best throw of 39-8 1/2 in the nine meets she’s entered.
Caul’s PR is a school-record 41-8 to win Group 2 states last weekend, and she goes into Sunday’s Meet of Champions as the No. 2 seed behind another Colonial Conference thrower, Haddon Heights’ Cydney Thomas, who won Group 1 with a 44-3 and is ranked No. 6 nationally according to MileSplit USA at 46-1 from sectionals . Thomas didn’t compete at Easterns.
Caul’s 40-9 1/2 is the best throw by a South Jersey girl at Easterns since 2012, when Lola Agabalogun of Egg Harbor threw 42-0 1/4 for fourth and Tara Daniels of Kingsway threw 40-11 for sixth.
The only South Jersey girls to win the Easterns shot put title are Camden’s Dana White in 2000 [41-6 1/2] and Atlantic City’s Mercedes Hicks in 2006 [43-10 1/4].