Conor Melko tears up the Holmdel track, moves into all-time S.J. top-20 at 3,200 meters!!!! Wechsler, Gabay, Caraccio not far behind!!!!!

Bishop Eustace senior Conor Melko moved into the all-time South Jersey 3,200 top-20 Friday evening with a fourth place in the Holmdel Night of 3200s at Bob Roggy Stadium.

Melko ran 9:06.52, placing fourth in a field loaded with some of the best two-milers in New Jersey and nearby states.

Melko led four South Jersey runners who ran 9:16 or faster. He lowered his former PR of 9:31.56 by more than 20 seconds.

Talk about negative splits – Melko was out in 4:39 and came back in 4:27!!!

His time is No. 17 in South Jersey history and eighth-fastest in the last 30 years.

Senior Sean Dolan of Hopewell Valley, the New Balance Nationals mile champion, won in 9:02.66, with junior Liam Murphy of Allentown, a Foot Locker XC finalist and Meet of Champions indoor 3,200 winner, second in 9:04.43 and Jack Stanley of Mendham, the XC and indoor 1,600 Meet of Champions runner-up, third in 9:05.76.

Here’s a look at the four South Jersey runners in the top group:

Bishop Eustace senior Conor Melko, 4th, 9:06.52
Incredibly, according to the MileSplit database Melko had only contested two previous 3,200’s in his life (not including dual meets). He had a 9:31.56 in an indoor meet at the Bennett Center, then won the Parochial B race this past winter in 10:30.49 basically just running for team points as Eustace won the team championship. As far as we can tell, this was the first competitive outdoor 3,200 or two-mile of Melko’s track career.

Cherokee junior Ethan Wechsler, 7th, 9:10.90
Wechsler dropped his PR from 9:16.66 from the Cherokee Night of Racing two weeks ago. He gives Cherokee three runners at 9:10 or faster. His time is sixth-fastest in Burlington County history and fastest since Shawn Wilson, also of Cherokee, ran 9:04.05 in 2013.

Cinnaminson junior Austin Gabay, 12th, 9:15.13
Gabay is a 4:17 miler and ran 16:10 at Holmdel but had never run a big-time 3,200. His fastest in a major race was a 9:42.62 at states last year, so this was a  nearly 30-second PR. Gabay’s time is No. 12 in Burlington County history and fourth-fastest in Cinnaminson history.

Kingsway junior Stone Caraccio, 14th, 9:16.39
Caraccio lowered his PR from 9:28.50 from a Holmdel Night of 3200s last May. His time is fastest by a Gloucester County two-miler since 2011, when Paul Szulewski of Williamstown (9:11.88) and Anthony Dentino of Washington Township (9:41.31) both ran faster in the Meet of Champions.

8:55.61y ….. Murad Campbell (Overbrook), 1999
8:58.81i ….. Jon Vitez (Haddonfield), 2010
8:59.55y ….. Mike Butynes (Sterling), 1972
8:59.75y ….. Jason DeJoseph (Paul VI), 1987
9:00.25y ….. Jim Smith (Haddonfield), 1980
9:00.30 ……. Jimmy Daniels (Sterling), 2013
9:01.84y ….. Mike Mantini (Gateway), 1979
9:02.03y ….. Marc Pelerin (Cherokee), 2002
9:02.92 ……. Luke Petela (Haddon Twp.), 2015
9:03.03y ….. Jerry Andrews (Highland), 1979
9:03.63y ….. Ed Blakeley (Haddon Twp.), 1975
9:03.9h ……. Mike Elder (Haddon Twp.), 1979
9:04.05 ……. Shawn Wilson (Cherokee), 2013
9:04.94 ……. Louis Corgiano (Hammonton), 2014
9:05.98 ……. Steve Maine (Highland), 2014
9:06.11y ….. Greg Stremmel (Gateway), 1974
9:06.52 ……. Connor Melko (Bishop Eustace), 2019
9:06.70 ……. Joshua Clark (Highland), 2016
9:07.03 ……. Greg Hughes (Mainland), 2004
9:07.11 ……. Ron Faith (Paul VI), 1985
9:07.2y ……. Kevin Pumphrey (Highland),  1986
9:07.42 ……. Aaron Groff (Cherry Hill East), 2016
9:07.7y ……. Marty Ludwikowski (Cherry Hill West), 1975

Interesting that six of the top seven on the Burlco list and eight of the top 12 are from either Cinnaminson or Cherokee.

9:02.03y ….. Marc Pelerin (Cherokee), 2002
9:04.05 ……. Shawn Wilson (Cherokee), 2013
9:08.22 … Jon Anderson (Cinnaminson), 2004
9:09.27 … *David Forward (Shawnee), 2009
9:09.80 … Todd Campbell (Cinnaminson), 2009
9:10.90 … *Ethan Wechsler (Cherokee), 2019
9:11.32 … Michael Ungvarsky (Cinnaminson), 2017
9:11.8y … Henry Englehardt (Willingboro), 1976
9:12.1y … Mark Strucko (Rancocas Valley), 1978
9:12.60 … Michael Bowden (Northern Burlington), 2009
9:15.08 … Nick Falk (Cherokee), 2017
9:15.13 … *Austin Gabay (Cinnaminson), 2019

The all-time Gloucester County list may be missing a name or two. Please let us know of any omissions or corrections in the comment section. Thanks!
9:01.9h … Mike Mantini (Gateway), 1979
9:06.2h … Greg Stremmel (Gateway), 1974
9:11.88 … Paul Szulewski (Williamstown), 2011
9:14.31 … Anthony Dentino (Washington Twp.), 2011
9:16.39 … Stone Caraccio (Kingsway), 2019

Haddonfield junior Martin Riddell didn’t race Friday night, but he has run 9:12.43 this year. So that makes five South Jersey two-milers — four of them juniors — already at sub-9:17 or faster.

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