Going into the state Group 4 girls meet, you felt like it was a shame that either Rancocas Valley or Millville had to lose.
Two incredible programs, two tremendous coaching staffs, two fantastic track traditions.
Turned out neither did lose.
After an incredible two days going head to head, Millville and Rancocas Valley, the two best public school teams in the state, finished in a first-place tie with 54 points.
Both are state champions. Just how it should be.
Randolph finished with 41 points in what was really a two-way battle for state Group 4 supremacy.
It’s the first Group 4 tie since Washington Township and Trenton shared the 2000 title.
It’s only the seventh tie in any group in state girls track history going back to 1973 and the first ever featuring two South Jersey teams.
Congrats to both teams and both programs. The performances were off the charts. And the respect both programs have for each other is off the charts as well, which makes this deadlock even more special. These are two truly remarkable groups of runners, hurdlers, jumpers and throwers and both deserve to be called state champions.
Key battleground events were the 400 and long jump, the only individual events both schools scored in. They also both scored in the 400- and 1,600-meter relays.
The only events neither scored in — and this speaks volumes for the depth and talent of both programs — were the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 plus the 3,200-meter relay.
Let’s take a detailed look at how Millville and R.V. battled each other for two days over 18 events at Franklin Township High.
100-METER DASH: Millville senior Malea Broome ran 12.29 for sixth place.
Millville 1 point, Rancocas Valley 0 points
200-METER DASH: R.V. sophomore Sheriyah Nutt was only the sixth seed but placed third in 24.87, a big personal-best. Her previous PR was a 25.29 last week at sectionals. Her time is third-fastest by any South Jersey sophomore this spring, behonly only Lauren Princz of Egg Harbor (24.53) and Eastern’s Jailya Ash (24.80). Another RV sprinter, senior Darynn Minus-Vincent, missed medaling by only 5-100ths of a second.
Rancocas Valley 6 points, Millville 0 points
400-METER DASH: Millville freshman Bryanna Craig and R.V.’s Nutt went head-to-head, with both running PRs. Craig was third in 56.30 and Nutt fourth in 56.30. Craig’s previous PR was a 56.52 at the Rowan Open. That 56.30 is fastest this year among all New Jersey freshmen and actually ties the Millville school record of 56.30 set in 2008 by Britney Kott at the Cape Atlantic meet in Atlantic City. Nutt’s previous 400 PR was 57.78, also at the Rowan Open. Nutt’s time is No. 2 among South Jersey sophomores behind Pennsauken’s Jade Pope (56.08 at BCSL meet).
Millville 6 points, Rancocas Valley 4 points
100-METER HURDLES: Broome ran 14.46 for fourth place.
Millville 4 points, Rancocas Valley 0 points
400-METER HURDLES: R.V. senior Brianna Snowden placed second with a huge PR of 1:01.23, No. 17 in South Jersey history and No. 5 in Burlington County history. And fastest by a Burlington County girl in 18 years, since Danielle Myricks ran a hand-timed 1:00.1 for Willingboro in 2001.
Rancocas Valley 8 points, Millville 0 points
400-METER RELAY: Millville and R.V. went 1-3, both under 48! Wow!!! For Millville, senior Brionah Patterson, Broome, junior Ciera Bowman and junior Zaniah Bowman ran 47.53, just missing the meet record of 47.45 set last year by Egg Harbor. That’s a Cumberland County record and No. 12 in South Jersey history. For R.V., Minus-Vincent and Snowden, Nutt and junior Breacain McClenahan ran 47.97, just off their 47.91 from the Penn Relays.
Millville 10 points, Rancocas Valley 6 points
1,600-METER RELAY: Rancocas Valley ran the No. 2 time in New Jersey this year and the fastest of any school in the six state championship 4-by-4s on Saturday. The team of sophomore Alyssa Leak, Snowden, freshman Anabella Chin and Nutt won the race in 3:48.87, which is a school record, No. 17 in South Jersey history and No. 7 in Burlington County history. Millville of course wasn’t far back, taking fourth in 3:52.56. The team of Patterson, Craig, senior Raelynne Miller and senior Malea Broome ran the fastest time by a Cumberland County school since Millville set the county record of 3:50.10 to win states in 2008.
Rancocas Valley 10 points, Millville 4 points
HIGH JUMP: Craig cleared 5-6, an inch over her previous PR, to win on fewer misses over Mahogany Jenkins of Watchung Hills.
Millville 10 points, Rancocas Valley 0 points
LONG JUMP: Huge event for both schools. Rancocas Valley junior Kristina Tossas, only the No. 11 seed, was an upset winner with a massive PR of 18-7 1/2, nearly a foot over her previous PR of 17-8 3/4 from sectionals. That actually moved her past Tonya Lee (18-4 3/4) and into the No. 2 spot in school history, behind only Meet of Champions winner Demya Walker (18-10 1/4 in 1994) and is No. 6 in Burlington County history. (Walker, by the way, was an All-America basketball player at Virginia and played six years in the WNBA. The Meet of Champions was the last track meet of her life). Millville freshman Leah Ellis, who was only the No. 23 seed after a 16-10 1/4 at sectionals, took third in that hot long jump competition at 17-11 1/2, an outdoor PR by more than four inches. And R.V. freshman Anaya Young, who was the No. 17 seed, jumped a PR 17-8 for fifth. What an event for both schools!
Rancocas Valley 12 points, Millville 6 points
TRIPLE JUMP: Tossas added a fifth place with a 36-11, another personal best. She was only the No. 10 seed in the triple, so she scored 12 points despite being seeded No. 10 and 11 in her two events.
Rancocas Valley 2 points, Millville 0 points
SHOT PUT: Junior Tereana Parker threw 39-3 for fourth place, less than a foot off her PR from the Cumberland County meet, and junior Fatimah Owens added a point with a sixth-place finish at 38-8.
Millville 5 points, Rancocas Valley 0 points
DISCUS: Rancocas Valley freshman Ravin Hood PR’d at 117-4 for third place behind two seniors. Hood is the top freshman in the state, and her throw is best by a South Jersey freshman since Jessica Woodard of Cherokee, who went on to become a multiple collegiate All-America, threw 125-4 back in 2010.
Rancocas Valley 6 points, Millville 0 points
JAVELIN: Millville junior Kira Parsons came up huge with a 134-0 throw for second place. That’s No. 4 in Cumberland County history.
Millville 8, Ranocas Valley 0