Highland graduate Ben Woodward, a senior at Rider, PR’d at 3,000 meters Friday at Ocean Breeze.
Woodard ran 8:30.94, finishing third and less than two seconds behind winner Mohlouwa Kool Molutsi of Monroe College at the Wagner Invitational at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Center on Staten Island.
Molutsi won the race in 8:29.07, with Bentivegna second in 8:30.59 and Woodward third. Those three ran the entire race together, and Woodard split 1:42.9 for the first 600, then 2:19.7, 2:17.0 and 2:11.3 for his last three 800s.
Woodard came up just over a second shy of the all-time Rider top-10, a list that already has three South Jersey runners on it. Lance Hess of Bridgeton is No. 4 at 8:25.0 from 1991, Anthony Dentino from Washington Township is No. 7 with an 8:27.47 from 2013 and Dave DeJong from Shawnee is No. 8 with his 8:28.42 from 2002.
Woodard’s previous PR for 3,000 meters was 8:34.64 outdoors from a Rider-Monmouth dual meet in Lawrenceville this past May. His previous indoor 3,000 PR was 8:40.45 from the NYC Gotham Cup two years ago this month, also at Ocean Breeze.
At Highland, Woodward was the 2017 South Jersey Group 3 cross country champion and ran 4:15.62 for 1,600 meters at the 2018 Group 3 outdoor states at Central Regional in Bayville.