Pennsauken sophomore Bryce Tucker is usually so busy with the intermediate hurdles, 800 or 110 highs in addition to a relay or two that he rarely has a chance to run the open 400.
On Friday at the Cherokee Last-Chance Meet, he ran what appears to be his first-ever outdoor 400 and broke 50 seconds as part of a double win.
Tucker led three quarter-milers – all underclassmen – under 50 seconds, winning the race in 49.54. East Brunswick junior Jayden Phillip was second in 49.77 and Holy Spirit junior Elijah Steward took third with a big lifetime-best 49.97.
Tucker’s previous 400 PR was a 51.21 in a quad meet this past March at the Bubble.
Tucker also won the 400 intermediates in 54.47. He’s already No. 1 in New Jersey at 54.28 (and No. 10 in the 800 at 1:55.00 and No. 7 in South Jersey in the 110 highs in 15.15).
His 400 time from Friday is No. 4 in South Jersey this year and gives Pennsauken three sophomores under 50 seconds. Ejani Shakir has run 48.89 and Premier Wynn 49.45. Shakir, Wynn and Tucker are ranked No. 1, 3 and 4 in New Jersey among sophomores.
Steward’s previous PR was 51.73 from freshman year Parochial B states, where he placed third. He lost his sophomore season, hasn’t competed indoors and hadn’t run an open 400 this year. He won the long jump on Thursday at the Atlantic County Championships with a personal-best 21-10 3/4, No. 6 in South Jersey this year (and No. 2 among juniors).
In the 400IH, Tucker edged Deptford senior Juilian Rodriguez, who was second in a PR 55.15, more than half a second faster than his previous PR of 55.72 from last weekend’s Tri-County Conference Championships at Kingsway.
Rodriguez’s time is No. 3 in South Jersey this year and No. 6 in New Jersey. His time is fastest by a Deptford intermediate hurdler since Shaquile Dixon ran 54.03 at the 2015 state Group 3 meet at South Plainfield.