Considering how remarkable South Jersey athletes performed at the Meet of Champions – from Anthony Vazquez winning the hurdles to Gabriel Moronta winning the 800 to Austin Gabay running 9:00.27 in the 3,200 – it’s easy to miss some remarkable performances.
There was certainly no shortage of them.
So here are five South Jersey performances you may have missed … but shouldn’t have … from Sunday’s 52nd annual Meet of Champions at Ocean Breeze!
Coming soon: 5 performances from South Jersey girls at the Meet of Champions you might have missed … but shouldn’t have!
Jayden Greene, Washington Township, 800-meter run: Greene ran 1:55.19 for ninth in the 800 and destroyed his 800 PR of 1:57.2, which he set on the same track last month. He also ran faster than his outdoor PR of 1:55.41, which he set last spring at states. That’s the fastest ninth-place time in Meet of Champions history. The previous record was 1:55.75 et by Marcus Hatchett of Piscataway in the hot 2013 race where Isaac Clark, Derrell Manhertz, Jacob Clark and Ishmael Muhammad gave South Jersey a 1-2-3-4 finish, all between 1:51.72 and 1:53.68. His time was just off the Washington Township school record of 1:54.82, set in 2009 by Xavier Fraction, and No. 6 in Gloucester County history. Also No. 17 in South Jersey indoor history.
Miekel House, Rancocas Valley, 55-meter dash: House, in his first year of indoor track, finished fourth in the 55 in 6.48, ninth-fastest by a South Jersey sprinter in M-of-C history and fastest since Kashif Miller of Haddon Heights ran 6.46 when he won the 2014 race. House was the top South Jersey finisher, and he finished the season with the fastest time by a South Jersey sprinter with his 6.45 at Easterns. His 4th-place finish is the best by a Burlington County sprinter in the Meet of Champions 55 since James Townsend of Holy Cross won the 2002 race in 6.57.
Owen Ritti, Ocean City, 1,600-meter run: Huge PR for Ritti, who placed sixth in the 1,600-meter division of the ill-fated 1,600 in 4:20.43 a month after his PR was 4:41. After a solid XC season – he was 4th at sectionals and ran 16:58 at Holmdel as a soph – he lowered his PR to 4:31.89 at Ocean Breeze , then 4:27.62 at sectionals and 4:24.30 at states before his breakthrough at the M-of-C. According to the MileSplit database Ritti’s time makes him the No. 8 sophomore in the U.S. and he’s the fastest in South Jersey indoors in at least a decade.
Isaiah Lewis, Winslow, 55-meter hurdles: Another massive PR. Lewis had run 7.51 in the 55-meter hurdles trials at Easterns, but he blew that away with a 7.39 for third on Sunday, finishing just 8-100ths of a second behind winner Anthony Vazquez of Egg Harbor Township. In a very fast race, Lewis ran the fastest 3rd-place time in M-of-C history, breaking the record of 7.41 set by Gordan Ferguson of Manchester Township in 2012. His time is No. 12 in South Jersey history (No. 16 if you include converted hand times from the 1970s) and fastest by a Camden County hurdler since Chais Hill of Highland ran 7.34 in 2015.
Pennsauken, 1,600-Meter Relay: Pennsauken ran 3:25.02 for sixth in the Meet of Champions, and they did it with three freshmen and a senior. Pennsauken was the only South Jersey school in the top 10 and their 3:25.02 is fastest this year by a South Jersey school and fastest by any South Jersey school since Haddonfield ran 3:23.54 in 2017. Senior DeVante Greene led off with a 50.7 split, freshman Kahlil Ali ran 51.6, freshman Ejani Shakir 50.6 and freshman Bryce Tucker, who set a state freshman 800 record earlier in the day [read about that race here], anchored in 52.1.