NINE South Jersey athletes set to compete at USATF National Championships!!!!!

Nine South Jersey athletes from nine different high schools in four counties are scheduled to compete this week at USATF Nationals in Iowa.

The featured event for South Jersey is the javelin, with three entered in the men’s competition, including former national champion Curtis Thompson.

We’ve got Marielle Hall and Erika Kemp in the distance races, Nia Ali in the high hurdles,  Jessica Woodard and Josh Olayinka Awotunde throwing the shot and two-time national champion English Gardner in the 100 and possibly the 200.

Let’s take a look at who’s doing what this weekend:

Nia Ali, Pleasantville
100HH first round: 12:30 p.m., Friday
100HH second round: 3:04 p.m., Saturday
100HH final: 4:52 p.m., Saturday
100HH PR: 12.48

Marielle Hall, Haddonfield
10,000 final: 8:50 p.m., Thursday
5,000 final: 6:42 p.m., Sunday
5,000 PR: 15:02.27
10,000 PR: 31:37.45

Erika Kemp, Rancocas Valley
5,000 final: 6:42 p.m., Sunday
5,000 PR: 15:28.69

Curtis Thompson, Florence
Javelin final: 2:20 p.m., Saturday
Javelin PR: 271-11

Chris Mirabelli, Holy Cross
Javelin final: 2:20 p.m., Saturday
Javelin PR: 251-6

Cade Antonucci, Holy Spirit
Javelin final: 2:20 p.m., Saturday
Javelin PR: 237-5

Jessica Woodard, Cherokee
Shot put final: 6:20 p.m., Sunday
Shot put PR: 61-3 1/4

Olayinka Awotunde, Delsea
Shot put final: 6:10 p.m., Friday
Shot put PR: 69-3 3/4

English Gardner, Eastern
100 first round:
4:40 p.m., Thursday
100 second round: 5:48 p.m., Friday
100 final: 7:44 p.m., Friday
200 first round: 1:33 p.m., Saturday
200 second round: 5:14 p.m., Sunday
200 final: 7:43 p.m., Sunday
100 PR: 10.74
200 PR: 22.62

The full order of events is here.
Full list of entries is here.
Qualifying standards are here.
All-time winners going back to 1876 are here.

Is English Gardner planning to race the 200 at USATF Nationals for the first time? It looks that way!!!

Looks like English Gardner will be running the 200-meter dash as well as the 100 this weekend at nationals.

Gardner, the Olympic gold medalist from Eastern, is entered in both sprints at the USATF National Championships in Des Moines.

Gardner has occasionally run the 200 — not very often — but she hasn’t contested it at any sort of championship meet since she ran at NCAAs for Oregon in the spring of 2013 (she was seventh), and she’s never run it at USATF nationals.

Gardner ranks seventh in world history in the 100-meter dash with her 10.74 to win the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, and that’s always been her best event.

Gardner suffered a severe knee injury playing powderpuff football her junior year at Eastern – she tore her ACL, MCL and suffered meniscus damage – and then suffered another serious injury to the same knee – another ACL with meniscus damage – while running a 400-meter relay in Monaco in the summer of 2017. Both injuries obviously required reconstructive surgery.

Because the 200 puts so much more strain on the knees than the 100 because of the turn, she’s always focused on the 100.

Her 200 PR is a relatively modest 22.62, which she ran while still in college at the Pac 12 Championships in 2013 in Los Angeles. That ranks No. 103 in U.S. history.

According to her IAAF profile, she has only raced six competitive 200s in the last six years and just one over the last two years. That was a 23.29 at the Seiko Golden Grand Prix in Osaka, Japan, in May.

The qualifying standard in the 200 for USATF Nationals is 23.20, but according to the USATF web site she has been accepted into the meet in the 200 and has declared for the 200. Athletes who are close to a qualifying standard are added to fill out the field when not enough have met the standard.

Gardner has yet to run a super-fast 100 this year. She ran 11.24 at the Prefontaine Classic last month in Palo Alto after an 11.42 at the Golden Gala meet in Rome.

Gardner hasn’t broken 11 seconds since the Olympics, when she ran 10.94 for seventh place in the 100 final. She broke 11 eight times that year, including the 10.74, which she ran in both the semis and finals at the Trials.

But she did run as fast as 11.02 last summer in Italy, a time that earned her a No. 20 world ranking and a No. 7 U.S. ranking.

Last time Gardner raced at nationals was 2017, when she was sixth in the 100. In addition to 2016, when nationals were the Trials, she won nationals in 2013 with a 10.85. She was also seventh in 2011 and 2012, fourth in 2014 and second in 2015.

The 100 looks wide open this year and a healthy Gardner would seem to have a very good chance to make the U.S. team going to worlds. Only one U.S. woman – Sha’Carri Richardson – has run faster than 10.95 this year.

This weekend in Boise, the 200 doesn’t start until the 100 is finished.

Gardner is scheduled to race in the 100 trials on Thursday afternoon, with the semis and finals on Friday.

The 200 trails are Saturday afternoon, with the semis and final on Sunday.

Nationals this year serves as a qualifying meet for the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, from Sept. 27-Oct. 6. Gardner has already met the 100 world standard of 11.24. The 200 standard is 23.02.

Gardner, now coached by her dad, is working as an assistant coach at Princeton. She’s one of three Princeton assistants with South Jersey ties, along with pole vault coach Mike Maira (Seneca), hurdles coach Robert Abdullah (Glassboro State).

Shawnee and Cornell grad Kristen Niedrach runs fast 800 PR in Oregon!!!!!

What a race by former Shawnee middle-distance runner Kristen Niedrach Friday evening in Oregon!

Niedrach ran a personal-best 2:08.88 at the Stumptown Twilight Invitational at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore. Her previous PR was 2:08.93 in Grootebroek, Netherlands, on July 14, 2018

Not bad for a 2:21 high school runner!

Niedrach graduated in 2012 from Shawnee, where she had PRs of 2:21.55 from sectionals as a sophomore and 5:01.86 for 1,600 meters, which she ran indoors her senior year winning the state Group 3 title.

She went to Cornell, where she gradually lowered her 1,500 time — from 4:31.10 as a freshman to 4:29.39 as a sophomore, 4:26.85 as a junior and then 4:22.45 as a senior in a meet at Bucknell. That’s the equivalent of a 4:41.74 for 1,600 meters or a 4:43.37 for a full mile.

Niedrach’s progress was similar in the 800, where she ran 2:12.72 as a sophomore, 2:10.28 as a junior and then had that breakthrough race in the Netherlands last summer.

Willingboro native Steve Muse records two top-3 finishes at U.S. Masters Championships!!!!!

Willingboro native Steve Muse recorded two top-three finishes in the USATF National Masters Championships this weekend.

Competing in the 50-59 age group, Muse, a 1984 graduate of Kennedy High in Willingboro, placed second in the shot put with a throw of 52-2 and took third in the discus with a throw of 155-5.

Muse is 53.

In the shot, Muse had four throws over 50 feet. He opened with a 50-6 and also had throws of 52-0, 51-1 and 50-4 1/4 before hitting the 52-2 on his final attempt. He finished second behind only Jason Wyatt, who threw 53-2 1/2 on his first attempt.

Wyatt was a six-time NAIA national champion in the shot put in the early 1990s competing for Asuza Pacific College in Southern California.

In the discus, Muse popped four throws over 150 feet, including a 150-0 on his first throw, a 151-3 on his second and 153-0 on his sixth and final attempt. The 155-5 came on his fourth attempt. He finished third behind David Bultman (165-7) and Todd Davis (155-10). Bultman placed fourth at World Juniors in 1988 as a freshman at UCLA. Davis never competed in track until his late 20s but has won multiple national age-group titles.

In the spring of 1984, Muse was BCSL Liberty Division (53-9), County Open (52-0) and South Jersey Group 3 shot put champ (53-10) and won the discus at the Liberty Division meet (157-1) and County Open (165-5).

He still ranks No. 4 in Burlington county history in the discus with his 171-10, trailing only Kamron Kobolak (185-6), Dennis Norman (174-4) and Alex Lewis (174-3).

Muse went on to compete for Boise State, where he was a three-time All-America — second in the NCAA discus in 1987, fifth in the shot indoors in 1998 and sixth in the shot outdoors in 1987.

Muse threw 61-11 3/4 indoors in 1988. That still ranks No. 3 in Boise State history. He’s also No. 3 in Boise history outdoors in the shot with a 61-11 1/4.

He was a four-time Big Sky champ for Boise State, winning the discus in 1985, 1987 and 1989 and the shot indoors in 1988.

He still ranks No. 2 in Boise State history in the discus at 198-2, although he went on to throw 201-7 in 1993 while he competed for the U.S. national team in a dual meet against Great Britain in Edinburgh. He competed in the discus in the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials in Atlanta.

UPDATED! It’s the new and improved South Jersey men’s and women’s Alumni Records!!!!!

Since we first posted the all-time South Jersey alumni records, we’ve gotten a tremendous response that’s helped us fill in some of the blanks.

Here’s a look at the marks we’ve added or updated since the initial posts (women here, men here)

—> Thanks to Bill Collins for letting us know that Holy Spirit graduate Sam Summerville ran slightly faster than Rob Novak for the 800. Summerville ran 1:46.48 back in June of 1978 for Manhattan at NCAAs, and that remains the Manhattan school record. Rob’s fastest 800 was 1:46.64.

—> We were searching for someone under 13:50 for 5,000 meters, and Bill Stewart suggested Karl Savage, and the Eastern graduate indeed ran 13:48.61 out in California in April of 2003.

—> Kevin O’Donnell of Camden Catholic bumped Eric Lorenz off the list in the 10,000 with his St. Joe’s school-record 29:16.01 at Bucknell in 2013, a second ahead of Eric’s 29:17.04 at the 1992 Penn Relays.

—> And Deirdre Woodard brought us up to date on the remarkable Johnnie Jackson, a Cherry Hill East graduate who we somehow have whiffed on up till now. Johnnie threw the hammer 235-4 and won NCAA titles in both the weight throw indoors and the hammer outdoors while he was at LSU.

—> As soon as I posted the list I remembered that Nadia Davy of Bridgeton had run some pretty hot 400s, and her PR was 50.66 in 2003 in Sacramento, so that bumps Michelle Brown’s 51.70 off the list.

—> The only other movement on the women’s list came when Marielle Hall ran 15:02.27 – No. 20 in U.S. history – in a meet over the weekend at Asuza, Calif.

I’m still not sure about the women’s marathon and triple jump marks or the men’s triple jump and decathlon. And we still don’t have a pole vaulter on the guy’s side! And there still could be faster guys in the 5,000 or 10,000.

All that said, here are the updated lists. Corrections and additions always welcome in the comments section!

100-METER DASH: 10.74, English Gardner [Eastern], July 3, 2016, Eugene
200-METER DASH: 22.62, English Gardner [Eastern], May 12, 2013, Los Angeles
400-METER DASH: 50.66, Nadia Davy [Bridgeton], June 14, 2003, Sacramento
800-METER RUN: 1:59.85, Michelle DiMuro [Shawnee], June 17, 1996, Atlanta
1500-METER RUN: 4:03.49, Erin Donohue [Haddonfield], Aug. 29, 2010, Rieti, Italy
MILE: 4:26.48, Erin Donohue [Haddonfield], Sept. 7, 2008, Rieti, Italy
5,000-METER RUN: 15:02.27, Marielle Hall [Haddonfield], June 28, 2015, Eugene
10,000-METER RUN: 31:37.45, Marielle Hall [Haddonfield], May 1, 2016, Palo Alto
MARATHON: 2:37.20, Laura Mason [Northern Burlington], Feb. 4, 1995, Las Vegas
100-METER HURDLES: 12.48, Nia Ali [Pleasantville], June 22, 2013, Des Moines
400-METER HURDLES: 55.78, Tonya Lee [Rancocas Valley], April 21, 1996, Walnut
HIGH JUMP: 6-3, Priscilla Frederick [Paul VI], July 22, 2015, Toronto, Jan. 26, 2019, Hustopeče, Czechoslovakia
LONG JUMP: 23-1, Carol Lewis [Willingboro], Aug. 21, 1985, Zürich
TRIPLE JUMP: 43-3 1/4, Cidaea’ Woods [Winslow Twp.], May 13, 2018, Knoxville
POLE VAULT: 14-0 3/4, Stephanie Maugham [Shawnee], April 6, 2002
SHOT PUT: 61-3 1/2, Jesica Woodard [Cherokee], Eugene, June 7, 2018
DISCUS: 190-9, Jessica Woodard [Cherokee], Austin, March 31, 2018
HAMMER THROW: 220-6, Jamine Moton [Delsea], May 29, 2002, Baton Rouge
JAVELIN: 169-9, Kelly Yanucil [Bordentown], Philadelphia, April 27, 2017
HEPTATHLON: 5,870, Nia Ali [Pleasantville], Asuza, Calif., April 14, 2016

100-METER DASH: 9.86, Carl Lewis [Willingboro], Aug. 25, 1991, Tokyo
200-METER DASH:  19.75, Carl Lewis [Willingboro], June 19, 1983, Indianapolis
400-METER DASH:  44.30, Lamont Smith [Willingboro], June 19, 1996, Atlanta
800-METER RUN: 1:46.48, Sam Summerville [Holy Spirit], June 2 or June 3, 1978, Eugene
1500-METER RUN: 3:36.98, Ford Palmer [Absegami], July 18, 2015, Heusden-Zolder, Belgium
MILE: 3:54.92, Ford Palmer [Absegami], Feb. 26, 2018, Boston
5,000-METER RUN: 13:48.61, Karl Savage [Eastern], April 17, 2003, Walnut, Calif.
10,000-METER RUN: 29:16.01, Kevin O’Donnell [Camden Catholic], April 13, 2013, Lewisburg, Pa.
MARATHON: 2:16.46, Paul Friedman [Moorestown], April 21, 1980, Boston
110-METER HURDLES: 12.94, Jack Pierce [Woodbury], June 22, 1996, Atlanta,
400-METER HURDLES: 48.37, Reuben McCoy [Winslow Twp.], June 28, 2008, Eugene
HIGH JUMP: 7-5 3/4, Darren Burton [Delran], Ylivieska, Finland, July 23, 1989
LONG JUMP: 29-1, Carl Lewis [Willingboro], Tokyo, Aug. 30, 1991
TRIPLE JUMP: 53-6 1/2, Greg Foster [Shawnee], Flagstaff, May 14, 1988
SHOT PUT: 69-3 3/4, Josh Olayinka Awotunde [Delsea], Los Angeles, April 13, 2019
DISCUS: 204-0, Mike Mielke [Holy Spirit], Tucson, May 4, 1996
JAVELIN: 271-11, Curtis Thompson [Florence], Eugene, July 4, 2016
HAMMER: 235-4, Johnnie Jackson [Cherry Hill East], Eugene, Ore., June 7, 2017
DECATHLON: 7164, Charlie Pratt [Palmyra], Kingsburg, Calif., July 24-25, 1957

Cade Antonucci represents U.S. in NACAC U-23 Championships in Mexico!!!!!

It’s been quite a summer so far for Holy Spirit graduate Cade Antonucci, who got to represent the U.S. at the NACAC Under-23 Championships in Mexico this past week.

Antonucci, a Mays Landing native who recently completed his sophomore year at Auburn, placed fourth among athletes from across North America, Central America and the Caribbean that comprise the NACAC.

Antonucci threw 224-3 on his final attempt. The meet was held at the Pista de Ateltismo in Querétaro, Mexico, about 150 miles northeast of Mexico City.

Anderson Peters, the Grenadan national record holder, won the event with a throw of 268-8. Peters was teammates this past year with Curtis Thompson of Florence at Mississippi State. Peters and Thompson went 1-2 at NCAAs.

Antonucci, the 2017 Meet of Champions winner and New Balance runner-up for Holy Spirit, threw 237-5 for Auburn this year and ranked seventh in Division 1 among freshmen and sophomores.

According to the IAAF 2019 U.S. javelin performance list, Antonucci is ranked No. 18 among U.S. men. He’s one of four South Jersey natives in the top 20, along with Thompson (No. 3 at 258-7) and Chris Mirabelli of Holy Cross (No. 19 at 236-6) and Nick Mirabelli of Rancocas Valley (20 at 234-10).


Nia Ali preps for U.S. Championships with world #6 high hurdles time in hurdles in Hungary!!!!!

Pleasantville’s Nia Ali ran her fastest hurdles time in more than two years Tuesday night, placing second in the 100-meter highs in a meet in Hungary.

Ali ran 12.63 in the meet at Székesfehérvár, placing a close second to world record holder Kendra Harrison, who won the race in 12.60.

It was Ali’s fastest race since she ran 12.61 at the Lausanne Athletissima in Sweden on July 6, 2017.

Ali was the silver medalist in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She ran her PR of 12.48 at the USATF National Championships in Des Moines in 2013.

Ali’s previous best this year was a 12.75 in Hengelo, Netherlands, last month. She didn’t race outdoors last year.

Her 12.63 is No. 6 in the world this year, according to the IAAF performance lists and No. 5 among U.S. women.

Ali ranks No. 35 in world history and No. 15 in U.S. history with her 12.48.

Székesfehérvár, also known as Fehérvár, is the regional capital of Central Transdanubia in Central Hungary. It’s about 50 miles southwest of Budapest and about 4,400 miles from Pleasantville.