Eastern senior Jewel Ash started out the state Group 4 meet in style with her second straight win in the 400-meter dash.
Ash ran 57.89, her second straight meet under 58 seconds, and outran Hunterdon Central’s Katherine Loew, who placed second in 58.29 Millville soph Bryanna Craig, the national pentathlon champ last spring, was third in 58.71.
Ash won the state Group 4 title last year in 58.46 and ran a PR 57.69 to win the sectional race last weekend. So she ran only 2-10ths of a second off that on Saturday morning back at the Bennett Center in Toms River.
Ash and her younger sister Jailya, a junior, are the top two seeds in the 55-meter hurdles, Jewel with an 8.15 and Jailya at 8.20.
Jewel and Jailya are both also among the top seeds in the 55-meter dash, Jewel with 7.26 and Jailya at 7.31.
Rancocas Valley’s Aliyah Taylor won the state Group 4 title in 2018 and 2019 so it’s four straight years for South Jersey quarter-milers. Before that no S.J. girl had won the NJ-4 400 title since Nijgia Snapp of Oakcrest ran 55.33 in 2009.