Austin Gabay isn’t just a distance runner. Gabby, the Cinnaminson junior, ran a rare 800 Saturday and turned in a huge PR at the Burlington County Scholastic League Patriot Division meet at Willingboro.
Gabay ran an unpressed 1:56.64, in only his third lifetime serious attempt at the distance. Gabay won the event in 1:58.32 last year, which was his PR.
The Cinnaminson junior was out in 58.66 and already had a 20-meter lead when he came through the 400. He closed in 58.7.99.
Gabay is only the fifth runner in New Jersey this year to run both sub-1:57 and sub-9:17. The only other South Jersey runner to pull that off is senior Connor Melko of Eustace, who has run 1:56.47 and 9:06.52.
Gabay broke the Patriot Division meet record of 1:57.30, set in 2007 by Mike Sheehan of Holy Cross. His time was fastest by any half-miler in any division at the BCSL meet in 15 years, since Ian Waterhouse of Rancocas Valley ran 1:55.59 to win the Liberty Division race in 2004.
His time also appears to be the eighth-fastest winning time in meet history, with the seven-fastest coming in the Liberty Division. Some results from the early 1970s are unavailable.
1:53.4h … Clayton Baloche [Lenape], 1992
1:55.59 … Ian Waterhouse [Rancocas Valley], 2004
1:55.7h … Wayne Riley [Willingboro], 1997
1:56.3h … Aaron Boucher [Cherokee]. 1998
1:56.3h … Chris Tarello [Shawnee], 1991
1:56.4h … Tavo Rivera [Pemberton], 1976
1:56.4h … Jaja Fisher [Cherokee], 1993
1:56.64 … Austin Gabay [Cinnaminson], 2019
1:56.5h … Cliff Moore [Willingboro], 1978
1:56.60 … Aaron Boucher [Cherokee], 1999
Looks like Gabay is now the fifth-fastest Cinnaminson half-miler in school history, behind 1992 state Group 2 champ John Keevey (1:55.87), 2007 Meet of Champions third-place finisher Matt Poskus (1:52.37), current Rider star Tom Long (1:55.49 in 2015) and Brian Tetrault (1:56.61 in 2007), who ran the leadoff leg on Villanova’s Championship of America-winning DMR team in 2011.