Kyle Rakitis, Josh Forrest monster 3,200s lead huge group of S.J. PRs at Cherokee

Kyle Rakitis ran a 4:28 mile Friday night, which isn’t bad. Especially when you consider that it was the second half of a 3,200.

Rakitis, a Kingsway junior, was the top South Jersey finisher at Cherokee’s Night of 3200s, moving into the all-time South Jersey top-50 with a 9:14.93.

His time is No. 43 in South Jersey history.

Collingswood senior Josh Forrest also made his way onto the all-time South Jersey top-50 in the No. 50 spot with a 9:16.52.

Racing in the 17th and final heat, Rakitis finished just behind Matt Bogdan of Colts Neck, who ran 9:13.74.

His previous PR was a 9:20.45 last month on the same track. His time is No. 5 in Gloucester County history and fastest in 10 years. He eclipsed the school record of 9:16.39 that his former teammate Stone Caraccio set at Holmdel High School’s Night of 3200s in May of 2019.

Here’s a look at the fastest times in Gloucester County history:

9:01.9y … Mike Mantini [Gateway], 1979
9:06.2y … Greg Stremmel [Gateway], 1974
9:11.88 … Paul Szulewski [Williamstown], 2011
9:14.31 … Anthony Dentino [Washington Twp.], 2011
9:14.93 … Kyle Rakitis [Kingsway], 2021
9:16.39 … Stone Caraccio [Kingsway], 2019
9:19.19 … Nick Costello [Delsea], 2012

The race went out so slow – the lead pack of nine runners all came through in the 4:45-4:46 range – it was hard to imagine the times would be so fast.

But Rakitis is a 1:55 half-miler and finished strong, negative-splitting 4:46.20 and 4:28.73 and closing in 59.4.

Chris DeSousa of Colts Neck [9:15.67], Collingswood’s Forrest [9:16.52] and Rodolfo Sanchez of St. Peter’s in Jersey City [9:17.58] all negative split and ran well under 9:20 and Woodbury senior Brady Shute and Haddonfield junior Tobias Janssen also ran sub-9:25, Shute with a 9:21.93 and Janssen at 9:23.20.

Everybody in the lead group negative split the race. Forrest ran 4:46.04 / 4:30.51 (closing in 2:06.43), Shute ran 4:46.03 / 4:35.91 (closing in 2:12.05) and Janssen 4:46.87 / 4:37.67 (closing in 2:12.28).

Forrest’s previous PR was 9:21.22 last month in Winston-Salem, N.C., and Shute’s was 9:39.55 indoors in the winter of 2020 in the Bubble. Janssen had never run a serious 3,200.

Cherry Hill East senior Aidan Groff and Triton’s Dennis Fortuna also ran sub-9:30 with negative splits, Groff with 4:46.51 / 4:41.61 for 9:28.12 and Triton’s Dennis Fortuna with 4:46.27 / 4:41.99 for 9:28.26. Groff’s previous PR was 9:40.36 at Cherokee last month and Fortuna had never broken 10 before.

The complete all-time South Jersey top-50 (not updated yet) can be found here.

Here’s a look at all the South Jersey runners under 10 minutes Friday at Cherokee:

Kyle Rakitis (Kingsway) 9:14.93
Josh Forrest (Collingswood) 9:16.52 17
Brady Shute (Woodbury) 9:21.93
Tobias Janssen(Haddonfield) 9:23.20
Aidan Groff (Cherry Hill East) 9:28.12
Dennis Fortuna (Triton) 9:28.26
Brett Shea (Cherokee) 9:30.42
John Hurly (Haddonfield) 9:32.85
Caleb Clevenger (Haddonfield) 9:34.07 16
Nick Kuenkel (Cherokee) 9:38.60 16
Gabe Rodriguez (Cherry Hill East) 9:40.88
Cole Kolodziej (Washington Twp.) 9:42.83
Julian Lawson (Washington Twp.) 9:44.96
Michael Henry (Timber Creek) 9:45.63
Sean Eisenhower (Haddonfield) 9:46.23 16
Giancarlo Vega (Timber Creek) 9:46.70
Justin Whitney (Cherry Hill East) 9:48.50
Patrick Ditmars (Cherokee) 9:50.40
Mason Brewster (Washington Twp.) 9:53.96
John Ruona (Shawnee) 9:54.17
Chris Colavita (Washington Twp.) 9:54.37
Dawson Baptiste (Delsea) 9:55.14
Cole Mylan (Timber Creek) 9:59.63



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