Moorestown graduate Natalie Cooper shattered a 19-year-old College of New Jersey 3,000-meter run record Saturday when she finished first at the All-Atlantic Region Championships in Ithaca.
Cooper, a senior at TCNJ, ran 9:54.59, winning by 20 meters over senior Laura Barreca of SUNY Geneseo. She broke the meet record of 10:03.53, set last year by Jaime Lord of RPI, and she broke the TCNJ indoor mark of 9:56.76, set in 2000 by Noel Whitall, a former star runner at Toms River East (and now a coach at Toms River North).
Cooper beat her 3,000 PR of 9:58.37, which she set at Boston University last month. Her time is No. 21 nationally in NCAA Division 3.
Cooper hit 400 meters in 80.65 in sixth place but gradually moved up with 200 splits of 38.1, 38.9, 39.5, 40.1 and 40.2 and took the lead right at the midway point of the race with a 39.9 eighth lap. She closed in 78 seconds for her final 400 to pull away from Barreca.
At Moorestown, Cooper’s 3,200 PR was 11:17.89, and her 9:54.59 converts to a 10:38.29 for 3,200 meters, so that’s a nearly 40-second improvement since high school.
Cooper is a four-time NJAC champ in track and cross country for the Lions and was an All-America in cross country this past fall.