The girls 400 at the Rowan Invitational Friday night was ridiculous.
Winslow Township senior Nylah Perry won the race in 56.38, leading three girls under 57 seconds, seven under 58 seconds, 15 under 59 seconds and a whopping EIGHTEEN girls under a minute.
Perry, Millville freshman Bryanna Craig and Paul VI junior Aliya Rae Garozzo ran the No. 2, 3 and 4 times in the state this year, with Craig second in 56.62 and Garozzo third in 56.88.
In the latest New Jersey MileSplit 400 rankings, 21 of the 24-fastest times in the state this year came from this race.
Let’s take a look at the 14 South Jersey girls who broke 59 seconds:
1st, *Nylah Perry, Winslow Township, 56.38
Perry ran within half a second of her PR of 55.97, which she ran as a freshman at the Meet of Champions while attending Cherry Hill East. Perry’s 56.38 is No. 1 by a South Jersey girl this year and No. 2 in New Jersey behind Kaira Brown of Kent Place School in Summit, the indoor Meet of Champions winner, who ran 55.38 in a meet in Potomac, Md., last month. Her time is fastest at Rowan since Faleesha Dowe of Penns Grove won the 2013 race in 56.25.
2nd, ***Bryanna Craig, Millville, 56.52
Craig’s previous PR was a 58.14 indoors at Ocean Breeze back in December. Craig, who excels in virtually every event, had never run a competitive 400 as a high schooler outdoors. Her time is No. 1 among New Jersey freshmen this year and third-fastest ever by a Cumberland County quarter-miler, behind Nadia Davy of Bridgeton, who ran 54.70 at the 1999 Meet of Champions, and Britney Mott of Millville, who ran 56.30 in 2009.
3rd, *Aliya Rae Garozzo, Paul VI, 56.88
Garozzo, third in the Meet of Champions last year in the Intermediates, can also run a pretty good flat 400. Her previous PR was 58.42 at states last year, and the 56.88 is a school record.
4th, Maya Drayton, Cherry Hill East, 57.42
Drayton, the first senior across the finish line, ran just under her PR of 57.81 from states last year. Her time is second-fastest by a Cherry Hill East sprinter, behind only Perry.
5th, *Janeya Hammond, Winslow Twp., 57.59
Hammond focuses on the intermediates as well and rarely runs the flat 400 outdoors. Her previous PR was a 58.60 from indoor sectionals.
6th, **Sheriyah Nutt, Rancocas Valley, 57.78
Nutt recorded a big PR, lowering her previous personal best of 58.94 from states last spring. Her time is second-fastest this year by a South Jersey sophomore, behind only Absegami’s Diamond McLaughlin, who ran 57.63 at the Lenape Invite last month.
8th, **Neveah Lorjuste, Triton, 58.13
Lorjuste hasn’t run many high school 400s, so the 58.13 was a big PR over a 1:01.85 that she ran at sectionals last spring. Looks like a Triton school record, but we’re not positive of that, so if you have the Triton school record and it’s faster than 58.13 please let us know!
9th, Brianna Snowden, Rancocas Valley, 58.24
The second Red Devil across the line, Snowden also recorded a big PR. Her previous best time was a 59.04 at Easterns indoors at the Armory in February. Her outdoor PR was 59.56 from sectionals last spring.
10th, **Diamond McLaughlin, Absegami, 58.28
McLaughlin came up a bit short of her 400 PR of 57.63 from Lenape, but she did PR in the 200 with a 26.23.
11th, **Maya Harper, Pleasantville, 58.43
Another quarter-miler with a PR on the fast Rowan track in Glassboro. Harper lowered her PR from 59.26, which she ran indoors at the Hispanic Games at the Armory. Her time is fastest by a Pleasantville girl since Lordess Shabazz ran 58.11 back in 2009.
12th, Autumn DeMary, Kingsway, 58.44
How much has DeMary improved? She placed 60th in this meet last year in 1:04.66. This year she placed 12th and ran more than six seconds faster! DeMary’s previous 400 PR was a 1:01.99 at a meet in the Jersey City Armory of all places in February of 2018. DeMary is now the fastest Kingsway girl since Thaila Cooper — who now runs for Maryland — ran 56.24 as a sophomore in 2013.
13th, *Amanda Demko, Shawnee, 58.66
Demko didn’t run track last spring, so you have to go back two years for her previous PR of 59.43 from the Olympic Conference Championships. Her time is fastest by a Shawnee girl since the amazing Annie Johnson ran 56.42 at states in the spring of 2011 — her first year of outdoor track after playing varsity softball for two years.
14th, *Blair Daniel, Paul VI, 58.82
This race is the king of PRs. Daniel came in with a PR of 1:02.14 from indoor states at the Bennett Center. That came down 3 1/2 seconds.
15th, **Anne Rutledge, Egg Harbor Twp., 58.85
Another fast sophomore with a huge breakthrough. Rutledge had a previous PR of 1:00.03 from sectionals last spring.