The day Michelle Rowen shattered two S.J. records and nobody noticed! And the all-time S.J. girls 800 top-50 list!!!!!

One of the greatest performances in New Jersey track history came in relative obscurity. Not at states or the Meet of Champions. Not at the Penn Relays or Golden West. 

It came on May 9, 1982, at the Gloucester County  Championships at Deptford High School.

That’s where Washington Township’s Michelle Rowen destroyed South Jersey records in both the 1,600 and 3,200. She ran 4:52.0 in the 1,600, breaking the record of 5:01.9 set in 1979 by Cathy Sjolie of Kennedy. And she ran 2:10.1 in the 800, snapping the mark of 2:12.8 set by Eva Marie Berardi, also in 1979, at the Meet of Champions. 

At the time those marks were both No. 4 in state history. Rowen would go on to set a state record of 4:41.5 later that spring that stood for almost 20 years, but that 2:10.1 remained her PR – she ran the 800 rarely – and was the South Jersey record for 17 years, until Katrina Sye of Buena ran 2:09.2 on her home track at the 1999 Group 2 sectionals.

What’s amazing about Rowen’s double that day at Deptford is that she ran unchallenged. Patty Addis of Williamstown was second in both races in 2:18.8 and 5:17.8.

The other crazy thing is that one of the greatest doubles in state track history warranted only these two paragraphs in the local paper the next day: 

Courier_Post_Sun__May_9__1982_

Imagine shattering two South Jersey records and being reduced to “in another highlight?”

Here’s the all-time South Jersey girls outdoor 800 list, including a few converted 880 marks. Cool to see a list topped by two Olympians!

All-Time S.J. Girls Outdoor 800 Top-50 List

2:07.33 … Marielle Hall [Haddonfield], 2009
2:08.87 … Erin Donohue [Haddonfield], 2001
2:09.2h … Katrina Sye [Buena], 1999
2:09.50 … Renee Tomlin [Ocean City], 2005
2:09.84 … Rachel Stremme [Ocean City], 2014
2:10.1h … Michelle Rowen [Washington Twp.], 1982
2:10.55 … Shelby Whetstone [Lenape], 2019
2:10.57 … Nijgia Snapp [Oakcrest], 2009
2:10.79 … Krista Ferrara [Vineland], 1991
2:10.9h … Ruth Lockbaum [Glassboro], 1985
2:11.07 … Miya Johnson [Lenape], 2007
2:11.45 … Sydney Coppolino [Sterling], 2017
2:11.56 … Mary Bohi [Seneca], 2009
2:11.80 … Briana Gess [Haddonfield], 2016
2:11.88 … Kayla Martin [Seneca], 2015
2:11.94 … Bridget Flynn [Ocean City], 2014
2:12.04 … Kami Joi Hickson [Washington Twp.], 2017
2:12.0h … Monica Olkowski [Cherokee], 1990
2:12.28 … Rachel Vick [Kingsway], 2017
2:12.61 … Felicia O’Donnell [Delsea], 2009
2:12.63 … Liz Locke [Kingsway], 2010
2:12.77 … Lauren McHale [Ocean City], 1998
2:12.78 … Megan Quimby [Lenape], 2015
2:12.83 … Brooke Kott [Millville], 2008
2:12.85 … Greta Feldman [Haddonfield], 2008
2:12.93 … Carly Pettipaw [Lenape], 2015
2:12.8h … Eva Marie Berardi [Williamstown], 1979
2:13.00 … Rachel Vick (Kingsway), 2017
2:13.18 … Melody Sye [Ocean City], 1997
2:13.38 … Julia Despirito[Shawnee], 2014
2:13.74 … Briana Roberts [Pennsauken], 2016
2:13.76 … Shona Potruski [Pitman], 2010
2:13.34 … Holly Cosnett [Haddonfield], 2000
2:13.81 … Tara Wuko [Wildwood Catholic], 2009
2:13.8h … Kathy Tisdale [Williamstown], 1981
2:14.08 …Lindsay Thomas [Wilson], 2003
2:14.0h … Sue Handlan [Haddonfield], 1976
2:14.0h … Kathy Ezell [Sterling], 1982
2:14.27 … Claudine Evangelista [Triton], 1999
2:14.42 … Kaitlyn Bonnet [Haddonfield], 2014
2:14.3h … Becky Wells [Moorestown], 1987
2:14.46 … Okechi Ogbuokiri [Willingboro], 2003
2:14.66 … Britney Kott [Millville], 2008
2:14.70 … Kelly Victory [Lenape], 2000
2:14.6h … Chris Danks [Shawnee], 1987
2:14.76 … Kari Vigerstol [Holy Cross], 1994
2:14.78 … Samantha Budd [West Deptford], 2012
2:14.87 … Lindsay Colflesh [Haddonfield], 2019
2:14.91 … Renee Passalacqua [Rancocas Valley], 2003
2:14.8h … Michelle DiMuro [Shawnee], 1984

2 thoughts on “The day Michelle Rowen shattered two S.J. records and nobody noticed! And the all-time S.J. girls 800 top-50 list!!!!!

  1. Dave Stewart May 3, 2020 / 3:50 pm

    Great list. I, of course am particularly impressed with the Haddonfield performers-however you have Erin Donohue listed at both 2:08.87 and 2:13.41, while I think on these lists you’ve just been including an athlete’s top performance, in order to list all 50 top performers. May not make a difference in this case since you’ve got 51 on the list in order to accommodate comparable hand times.

    Like

    • sjtcaweb May 3, 2020 / 4:54 pm

      That’s a good catch! I took Erin’s slower time out and moved everyone else up one!

      The mile list tomorrow has three Haddonfield’s in the top four! (but only two others, surprisingly!)

      Like

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