CURTIS THOMPSON BOMBS HIS WAY TO OLYMPIC TRIALS JAVELIN CHAMPIONSHIP, VIRTUALLY ASSURING HIMSELF A SPOT ON U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM!!!!!!!!!!

Florence native Curtis Thompson won the javelin Monday evening at the U.S. Olympic Trials and uncorked his biggest throw in five years and the second-best throw of his life, virtually guaranteeing himself a spot on the U.S. Olympic team headed to Tokyo next month.

He’s the first Olympic Trials champion from Burlington County since Carl Lewis of Willingboro won the 100 and long jump in Indianapolis in 1988.

Thompson does not have the Olympic standard of 278-10 (85 meters) – only three Americans have ever thrown that far, none since 2007. 

But as the winner of the Trials, if he’s ranked among the top-32 in the world as of June 29, he’ll make the U.S. team.

He’s currently got the No. 18 throw in the world, although the IAAF’s ranking systems take some other things into account, and his actual updated ranking isn’t available yet. He’s currently listed right at No. 32, but it appears that doesn’t include his performance at the Trials. You can find that ranking system on the IAAF site here.

Thompson also has 10 more days to improve on his 271-7 that he hit on his final throw Monday evening in Eugene.

Thompson had the greatest series of his life Tuesday, averaging 260-3 on six legal throws. Nobody else in the competition had one throw of 260-3. So Thompson’s six-throw average would have won the Olympic Trials!

Thompson won the event by nearly 12 feet. Michael Shuey placed second at 260-0, and when his sixth and final attempt landed at 258-2, it clinched the championship for Thompson. 

This is Thompson’s second national title and first Olympic Trials title. He led the 2016 meet – and broke the Olympic Trials record with a 271-11 on his first throw – before Cyrus Hostetler threw 273-1 on his fifth throw to break Thompson’s meet record and snag the one available Olympic berth.

Thompson didn’t let that happen this year.

He bombed a 263-7 on his first throw of the competition and nobody came within three feet of it the rest of the meet.

Thompson, with the victory locked up, Thompson finished the competition by hitting the second-biggest throw of his life and the No. 3 throw in meet history.

Importantly, that 271-7 moved him up from No. 28 in the world to No. 18, dramatically improving his chances of being in the top 32 in 10 days.

Thompson now owns two of the top three throws in U.S. Olympic Trials history.

This is the second national title for Thompson, who threw 249-3 to win the 2018 championship in Des Moines, Iowa.  

Thompson is the first South Jersey Olympic Trials champ on the men’s side since Edgewood graduate Dennis Mitchell won the 100 in 1996 and the first New Jersey winner since Bobby Smith of Hopatcong won the javelin in 2008 (but did not go to the Olympics because he never achieved the A standard necessary that year).

 After his 263-7, Thompson threw 243-8 on his second attempt and then finished the qualifying round with a 260-4, which was the second-best throw of the first set of throws. 

He opened the finals with a 262-9 and a 259-8 before his closing bomb of 271-7, just four inches off his PR from the 2016 Trials.

Thompson’s margin of victory – 11 feet, 7 inches – is the largest since 1984, when Duncan Atwood won by 27 feet, 10 inches over Tom Petranoff.

Cherry Hill East’s Dillon Page caps undefeated year with M-of-C high jump triumph!!!

A few months ago, Dillon Page had a high jump PR of 6-2. Now he’s a Meet of Champions winner.

Page became the first Cherry Hill East boy to ever win a Meet of Champions title when he was the only competitor to clear 6-6 Saturday at South Plainfield in the 52nd annual M-of-C.

Page cleared 5-10 and 6-0 on his first attempt, 6-2 on his second and 6-4 on his third and was in fifth place before he sailed over the bar at 6-6 on his second attempt. With his 10th, 11th and 12th jumps of the day, he missed three tries at a personal-best 6-8.

The only previous Meet of Champions winners in Cherry Hill East history are three girls – Erin Halpin in the high jump in 1987, Liz Griesback in the javelin in 1989 and Teneacia Smith in the long jump in 1991 and 1992.

He’s not the first Meet of Champions winner from Cherry Hill, though. Terrance Ferguson of Cherry Hill West won the event at 6-8 in 1986 and 6-10 in 1987.

Page is the first South Jersey M-of-C winner in the high jump since 2015, when Devin Bradham of Williamstown and Marquese Bell of Bridgeton shared the title (why didn’t they have a jump off?).

The last winner from Camden County was Jarrett Carr of Pennsauken in 1994.

Page cleared 6-2 three times during the 2020 indoor season, placing second at the state Group 4 meet and ninth at the Meet of Champions. His big breakthrough came this past March, when he hit both 6-4 and 6-6 for the first time in a dual meet against Washington Township at the Bubble in Toms River.

He didn’t lose a high jump competition the entire outdoor season, clearing a PR of 6-6 1/4 at Group 4 sectionals at Washington Township.

Audubon senior Adam Tomeo, who cleared 6-7 indoors in 2020 and 6-6 earlier this year, wound up sixth at the M-of-C at 6-4.

Highland senior Floyd Whitaker, who won the triple jump, made it three South Jersey jumpers in the top seven with a 6-4 clearance for seventh place.

Holy Spirit’s Julia Bannan caps magical senior year with Meet of Champions discus championship!!!!!

Julia Bannan became the first Holy Spirit girl in 28 years to win a Meet of Champions title Saturday with a lifetime-best throw in the discus.

Bannan threw 129-0 at South Plainfield and won by nine inches over Olivia Prescott of West Orange, who had four throws within 2 1/2 feet of Bannan and finished with a best throw of 128-3.

The last Holy Spirit M-of-C winner was Kim Stoll, who won the high jump at 5-8 in 1993. She went on to become a four-year starter for the St. Joe’s basketball team.

Bannan also became the first South Jersey thrower to win the M-of-C discus since Jessica Woodard of Cherokee won her third straight in 2013. The last Atlantic County discus winner was Atlantic City’s Kim Warren in 2006.

Bannan won her second “straight” state Parochial B title with a PR of 126-8 before hitting 129-0 at the Meet of Champions. 

On Saturday, Prescott hit 128-0 on her second throw to take the lead before Bannan moved into the lead with her 129-0. Prescott had three more big throws – 126-9, 126-9 again and 128-0 – but Bannan’s 129-0 held up for the win.

Bannan was one of three Atlantic County girls to win a Meet of Champions title Saturday at South Plainfield. Lauren Princz of Egg Harbor won the 200 and Mariah Stephens of EHT won the triple jump at 37-10 1/4.

Atlantic County girls have won six Meet of Champions titles in the last three meets after winning 10 in the meet’s first 45 years.

Here’s a look at all the Atlantic County girls who’ve won Meet of Champions titles since the girls meet began in 1974:

1996
Nichole Hill [Oakcrest], 200-Meter Dash [24.71]

1998
Sherese Price [Pleasantville], 100-Meter Hurdles [13.85]

1999
Katrina Sye [Buena], 800-meter Run [2:11.82]
Frances Bundy [Pleasantville], Long Jump [18-3 1/4]

2001
Shameka Marshall [Oakcrest], Long Jump [18-10 3/4]
Shameka Marshall [Oakcrest], Triple Jump [38-10 3/4]
Chelsea Salisbury [Buena], Javelin [139-6]

2006
Kim Warren, [Atlantic City], Discus [138-10]
Mia Ali [Pleasantville], 100-Meter Hurdles [13.78]

2012
Helena Leyrer, [Buena], 400-Meter Hurdles [1:00.26]

2018
Lauren Princz, [Egg Harbor Twp.], 200-Meter Dash [23.90]
Brielle Smith [Oakcrest], Javelin [163-8]

2019
Claudine Smith [Atlantic City], Triple Jump [42-0]
Brielle Smith [Oakcrest], Javelin [157-0]

2021
Julia Bannan [Holy Spirit], Discus [129-0]
Lauren Princz [Egg Harbor Twp.], 200-Meter Dash [24.22]

ANOTHER MEET OF CHAMPIONS TRIPLE JUMP TITLE FOR FLOYD WHITAKER!!!!!

Winning back-to-back Meet of Champions titles is a monster accomplishment in any year. But doing it when those titles were separated by a year without a meet is even crazier.

But that’s what Highland senior Floyd Whitaker did Saturday.

Whitaker, who won the 2019 Meet of Champions triple jump at Northern Burlington, won it again Saturday at South Plainfield at the 52nd annual M-of-C. Only the pandemic and the cancelled 2020 meet prevented him from a likely three-peat.

Whitaker jumped 49-7 on his final attempt and won by nearly two feet over Sincere Robinson of Essex County Tech, second in 47-10.

Whitaker had the four-best jumps of the competition and averaged 48-3 3/4 on his six legal jumps. 

In addition to his 49-7, he had consecutive jumps of 48-7 1/2, 48-9 and 48-8 3/4 on his second, third and fourth attempts.

Whitaker’s 49-7 is the No. 6 jump in meet history and No. 8 in the U.S. this year, according to the MileSplit database.

Whitaker is entered in both the long jump and triple jump at the National Scholastic Championships, scheduled for June 30-July 3 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Whitaker also jumped 6-4 for seventh in the high jump Saturday.

All-Time Meet of Champions Performance List
50-2 1/2 … Floyd Whitaker, Highland Regional, 2019
49-11 3/4 … Myles Hartsfield, Sayreville, 2014
49-11 1/2 … Devin Jones, Boonton, 2010
49-11 1/4 … Eric Bethea, Piscataway, 2015
49-7 1/4 … Dodley Thermitus, Elizabeth, 2016
49-7 ……… Whitaker, 2021 
49-4 3/4 … Tiquan Underwood, Notre Dame, 2005
49-4 ¼ … Chris Phipps, Lodi, 2008
48-10 … Devon Bond, Trenton, 2007
48-10 … Dominique Irons, Haddon Heights, 2013
48-10 … Adam Bergo, Westfield, 2008
48-9 1/2 … Khaliel Burnett, Delsea, 2017
48-9.25 … Richmond Shasha, Hamilton West, 2019

Whitaker is the 22nd South Jersey boy in the meet’s 52-year history to win the same event twice. Here’s a look at that star-studded list!

Isaac Samuels [Kennedy], Long Jump
1982 … 24-2
1983 … 24-8

Mark Murphy [Haddonfield]. Pole Vault
1984 … 14-6
1985 … 15-0

Kenny Reynolds [Willingboro], 100-Meter Dash
1985 … 10.8
1986 … 10.77

Russell Willit [Penns Grove], Discus
1985 … 175-10
1986 … 185-9

Terry Ferguson [Cherry Hill West], High Jump
1986 … 6-8
1987 … 6-10

Gerard Reynolds [Willingboro], 110-Meter Hurdles
1989 … 14.00
1990 … 13.59

Gerard Reynolds [Willingboro], Long Jump
1989 … 24-0
1990 … 23-5 1/2

Lamont Smith [Willingboro], 400-Meter Dash
1990 … 47.78
1991 … 46.62

Dwayne Robinson [Bridgeton], High Jump
1991 … 6-8
1992 … 6-10

Ray Wilks [Bridgeton], Shot Put
1994 … 60-7
1995 … 64-5

Ron Dayne [Overbrook], Discus
1995 …201-0
1996 … 215-1

William Spearman [Wilson], Long Jump
1995: 23-4 1/4
1996: 25-0

Murad Campbell [Overbrook], 3,200-Meter Run
1997 … 9:15.66
1998 … 9:07.10
1999 … 8:58.71

Robert Jordan [Millville], High Jump
1998 … 7-0
1999 … 7-2

Anthony Miles [Winslow] Long Jump
2002 … 24-11 1/4
2003 … 24-3 1/4

Mike Morrison [Willingboro], High Jump
2002 … 7-0
2003 … 7-0

Anthony Averett [Woodbury], Long Jump
2011 … 23-0 3/4
2012 … 22-10 3/4

Dominique Irons [Haddon Heights], Triple Jump
2011 … 48-10
2013 … 48-10

Cade Antonucci [Holy Spirit], Javelin
2016 … 205-8
2017 … 220-11

Jonathan Taylor [Salem], 100-Meter Dash
2016 … 10.76
2017 … 10.64

Khaliel Burnett [Delsea], Triple Jump
2017 … 48-9 1/2
2018 … 48- 2 1/4

Floyd Whitaker [Highland], Triple Jump
2019 … 50-2 1/2
2021 … 49-7

English Gardner falls just short in bid to make U.S. Olympic team in the 100

English Gardner fell just short in her bid to make the U.S. Olympic team in the 100-meter dash.

Gardner, an Eastern Regional graduate and 2016 Olympic gold medalist, ran her fastest time in five years with a 10.96 earlier Saturday at the U.S. Olympic Trials before placing sixth in the final in 11.16 into a 1.0 meters-per-second wind.

Gardner, who set her PR of 10.74 – No. 9 in world history – at the 2016 Trials on the same Hayward Field track in Eugene, Ore., finished just 13-100ths of a second out of third place.

It will be up to the U.S. coaching staff to decide whether to include Gardner in the relay pool. Based on her long, distinguished career, years of international experience and success and steady progression this spring and summer since a difficult battle with COVID, she certainly has the resume to be considered.

Rob Moseley of Go Ducks shared some comments from Gardner from after the 100 final:

RANCOCAS VALLEY WINS MEET OF CHAMPIONS 4-BY-1 WITH ALL-TIME BURLINGTON COUNTY #2 TIME

Rancocas Valley juniors Masai Byrd and Herbert Quarterman and seniors James McGhee and Isaiah Arzu finished the season in style with a win in the 400-meter relay at the Meet of Champions.

R.V. edged Montclair (42.24) and Mount Olive (42.29), with Deptford fourth in 42.42. The Red Devils were the top seed with a 42.08 at states.

This is the second time Rancocas Valley has won the M-of-C 400-meter relay since the event was added in 2010. The 2015 team of JeSean Foster, Shaun Bradley, Dyson Scott, Sterling Pierce ran 42.03, the school record until Saturday at South Plainfield.

R.V. ran three loaded 4-by-1’s this year and ran them all in 42.11 or faster. Those wound up being the three-fastest times by any New Jersey schools this year.

South Jersey has dominated the race, winning nine of the 11 times it’s been contested. List below.

R.V.’s time is No. 2 in Burlington County history and fastest by any Burlington County school in 39 years, since Willingboro ran 41.69 in the Championship of America race at the 1982 Penn Relays, where they placed second to Camperdown of Jamaica, which ran 41.49. Lance Reed, George McKey, Damon Chambers and Derek Streater.

Meet of Champions 400-Meter Relay
2010 … Delsea, 42.22
2011 … Oakcrest, 41.83
2012 … Oakcrest, 42.09
2013 … Timber Creek, 41.50
2014 … Timber Creek, 41.45
2015 … Rancocas Valley, 42.03
2016 … Pennsauken, 41.85
2017 … Franklin Twp., 41.49
2018 … Deptford, 41.47
2019 … Nottingham, 41.71
2020 … Not held
2021 … Rancocas Valley, 41.99

ENGLISH GARDNER RUNS FASTEST TIME IN 5 YEARS, REACHES 100 FINAL AT OLYMPIC TRIALS!!!!!

English Gardner ran 10.96 – her first time under 11 seconds in five years – and advanced to the finals of the 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Gardner, who advanced to the semifinals with an 11.17 in Friday’s qualifying rounds, placed third in the second of two semifinal races, advancing automatically to the final later Saturday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

The top three in each heat plus the next four-fastest will race in the final at 10:51 p.m. EST, with the top three finishers making the U.S. Olympic team.

Gardner’s 10.96 makes her the 5th-fastest qualifier for the final but only 13-100ths of a second out of the No. 2 spot.

Her time is No. 13 in the world this year.

The last time Gardner ran sub-11 was at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where she placed seventh in the finals in 10.94. She ran a lifetime-best 10.74 earlier that summer when she won the 100 at the Olympic Trials on the same Hayward Field track in 10.74, 9th-fastest in world history. She won a Gold Medal as part of the U.S. 400-meter relay team in Rio.

Florence’s Curtis Thompson easily advances to javelin finals at U.S. Olympic Trials!!!

Florence’s Curtis Thompson, the top-ranked U.S. javelin thrower, easily advanced to the finals Saturday in the qualifying round at the U.S Olympic Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

The top 12 throwers from Friday’s qualifying rounds advanced to the final on Monday. That is considered a separate competition and marks made on Saturday do not carry over to Monday.

Thompson threw 250-1 on his first throw and after a foul threw 248-3 on his third attempt.

The cut-off for advancing to finals was 223-3. Only four throwers reached 240 feet.

Marc Anthony Minichello led all qualifiers with a 251-5 on his only attempt. Capers Williamson (249-2) and Michael Shuey (243-8) also hit 240 feet.

Thompson ranks No. 1 in the U.S. this year with a throw of 267-2, which he uncorked at the USATF Throws Festival in Tucson, Ariz., three weeks ago. That was his biggest throw in five years, since the 2016 Olympic Trials, also in Eugene, where he set a PR of 271-10. That throw is No. 16 in U.S. history.

Thompson was the 2016 NCAA champion for Mississippi State and 2018 U.S. national champion.

The 12 qualifiers will get six additional throws in the final, which begins at 7:15 p.m. EST on Monday.

FIONA BASEWITZ OF COLLINGSWOOD BECOMES SOUTH JERSEY’S 5TH 12-FOOT POLE VAULTER, TAKES 2ND AT M-OF-C!!!!!

Collingswood senior Fiona Basewitz became South Jersey’s fifth 12-foot pole vaulter Saturday and placed second at the Meet of Champions at South Plainfield.

Basewitz, who went into the Meet of Champions with an 11-4 PR, cleared 9-6, 10-0, 10-6, 11-0 and a PR of 11-6l, all on her first attempt. She got over the bar at 12-0 on her third attempt.

Randi Conroy, a senior at Northern Highlands in Allendale, Bergen County, cleared 12-0 – a PR for her also – on her first attempt, which gave her the victory.

But Basewitz now shares the No. 1 mark in New Jersey this year with Conroy and Montgomery sophomore Lauren Cashman. 

Her 12-0 extended her own Camden County record, which she took over with her 11-4 clearance last weekend at sectionals. It was previously held by Haddonfield’s Jennifer Scott at 11-3.

Seneca senior Julia Greeley also medaled, clearing 11-6 on her first attempt for fifth place overall.

Here’s a look at the all-time South Jersey top-10:

13- 3 … Danielle O’Reilly [Shawnee], 2004
12- 7 1/2 … Ashley Preston [Delsea], 2018
12- 0 … Jessica Kloss [Moorestown], 2005
12- 0 … Brittney Raffo [Seneca], 2017
12- 0 … Fiona Basewitz [Collingswood], 2021
11-10 … Kaitlin Dermen [Millville], 2014
11- 9 … Julia Greeley [Seneca], 2021
11- 6 … Lauren Tauscher [Moorestown], 2007
11- 6 … Abby Boggs [Rancocas Valley], 2021
11- 4 … Melissa Gale [Millville], 2006

HADDONFIELD GIRLS RUN AWAY WITH THEIR FIRST MEET OF CHAMPIONS 4-BY-8 CHAMPIONSHIP!!!!!

Haddonfield’s Lindsay Colflesh, Allison Colflesh, Payton Weiner and Olivia Stoner ran away with the 3,200-meter relay Saturday at the 52nd annual Meet of Champions.

Haddonfield, with three of their four runners doubling back, ran 9:10.24, winning by 60 meters over Westfield, which placed second in 9:21.35. Cherokee was third in 9:22.73.

Haddonfield is ranked No. 1 in New Jersey at 9:04.72 from a meet at Cherokee in May. That’s No. 2 nationally, a South Jersey record and No. 14 in state history.

It was Haddonfield’s first 4-by-8 win at the Meet of Champions since the event was added in 2010. Ridge had won the last five M-of-C 4-by-8 titles, from 2015 through 2019. The meet was not held last year.

The only previous South Jersey winner was Lenape, which ran 9:18.71 in 2011.

Allison Colflesh led off in 2:18,.35, followed by Weiner (2:19.91), Olivia Stoner (2:16.63) and Lindsay Colflesh {2:16.31).

The Lady Bulldogs will get a chance to race the best 4-by-8 teams in the country fresh at the Outdoor Nationals from June 30 through July 3 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.