Kyle Rakitis did it again!
The Kingsway junior edged Southern Regional’s Jackson Braddock by 5-100ths of a second Saturday at sectionals, Rakitis winning in 1:53.13 over Braddock’s 1:53.18.
Both raced under the South Jersey Group 4 record of 1:53.51 set by Washington Township’s Xavier Fraction in 2009 at Egg Harbor.
Both also ran the fastest time in any group at South Jersey sectionals since Pleasantville’s Jacob Clark ran 1:53.12 to win Group 2 in 2012 at Buena.
On Friday, Rakitis and Braddock both ran under the all-section record in the 1,600, Rakitis with 4:08.58 and Braddock at 4:08.65, although Braddock was disqualified on a horrible call for impeding Rakitis down the homestretch.
Earlier Saturday, Braddock again ran under a sectional record, winning the 3,200 in 8:55.46. Rakitis, with his eye on the 800 later in the day, was second in 9:26.61, setting up the third showdown of the weekend between New Jersey’s two fastest middle-distance runners.
Braddock wasn’t even planning to run the 800 but after the 1,600 DQ asked his coach to run to make up the team points he lost in the 1,600.
In the 800, Rakitis lowered his PR of 1:53.41, which he ran two weeks ago at Haddonfield Distance Night. Braddock’s previous 800 PR was 1:53.69 at the Ocean County Championships at Jackson Liberty last month.
Rakitis’s 800 time is fastest this spring by a South Jersey runner and No. 27 in South Jersey history. His 1,600 is No. 2 in South Jersey history.
He also moved up to No. 5 in Gloucester County history with the fastest time in seven years:
1:49.72 … Rich Caton [Woodbury], 1979
1:49.74 … Fred Sharpe [Paulsboro], 1997
1:51.02 … Derrell Manhertz [Kingsway], 2013
1:52.76 … Kevin Cianfarini [West Deptford], 2014
1:53.04 … Xavier Fraction [Washington Twp.], 2009
1:53.18 … Kyle Rakitis [Kingsway], 2021
1:53.44y … Tony Uzdavines [Williamstown], 1977
1:53.43 … Bill Dolan [Clearview], 2014
1:53.49 … Steve Butenewicz [Delsea Reg.], 2011
1:53.54y … Wayne Jenkins [Deptford], 1968
1:53.61 … Steve Morrone [Washington Twp.], 2010