CHEROKEE’S NICOLE CLIFFORD WINS CRAZY 1,600 BATTLE AT STATES, RUNS ALL-TIME #5 SOUTH JERSEY TIME!!!!!!

Cherokee senior Nicole Clifford won the state Group 4 title at 1,600 meters in spectacular fashion Saturday.

Clifford ran the No. 5 time in South Jersey history and No. 20 time in state history, and she did it on a slow, flat track at the Bubble.

In a stirring battle of the top two seeds, Clifford held off Freehold Township’s Emma Zawatski, Clifford running 4:53.85 and Zawatski 4:54.07.

Clifford led the final three laps with Zawatski a step behind, and Clifford needed a 34.7 final lap to hold off the Freehold sophomore, who tried to pass Clifford on the outside on the final straight but couldn’t catch her.

The Oklahoma-bound Clifford negatived the race, splitting 37.8, 36.2, 36.5 and 37.7 for a 2:28.2 first 800, then closing in 37.8, 36.7, 36.4 and 34.7 for a second 800 of 2:25.6.

Clifford broke the Burlington County record of 4:57.12, set at the 2016 Meet of Champions by Lenape’s Megan Quimby. She was just shy of the overall Burlington County record of 4:52.95 set at the 2009 outdoor Meet of Champions at South Plainfield by Lenape’s Caitlin Orr.

Clifford’s previous PR was her 4:58.69 from sectionals last weekend. Zawatski came in with a PR of 5:00.22 from Central Jersey Group 4 sectionals.

On the MileSplit U.S. list, Clifford is now at No. 16 and Zawatski at No. 18. They’ll be the top two seeds in the Meet of Champions back (unfortunately) at the Bubble next weekend.

All-Time South Jersey Indoor 1,600 List
4:41.52y … Michelle Rowen [Wash. Twp.], 1983
4:49.46y … Erin Donohue [Haddonfield], 2001
4:51.60 … Briana Gess [Haddonfield], 2016
4:53.36 … Lindsey Kane [Washington Twp.], 2014
4:53.85 … Nicole Clifford [Cherokee], 2022
4:54.58 … Celine Mazzi [Delsea], 2014
4:55.04y … Marielle Hall [Haddonfield], 2010
4:56.1h,y … Ruth Lockbaum [Glassboro], 1985
4:57.12 … Megan Quimby [Lenape], 2015
4:57.72 … Caitlin Orr [Lenape], 2010
4:58.48 … Natalia Ocasio [Lenape], 2010
4:59.29 … Julia Despirito [Shawnee], 2014
4:59.39 … Megan Lacy [Cherokee], 2012

All-Time New Jersey indoor sub-4:55 List
4:41.52y … Michelle Rowen [Wash. Twp.], 1983
4:46.13 … Danielle Tauro [Southern Reg.], 2007
4:47.4h … Meg Waldron [Bernards], 1983
4:48.23 … Jillian Smith [Southern Reg.], 2009
4:49.46y … Erin Donohue [Haddonfield], 2001
4:49.52 … Lilly Shapiro [Colts Neck], 2021
4:50.85 … Christina Rancan [West Windsor-Plainsboro South], 2016
4:51.0h … Doreen Ennis [Nutley], 1974
4:51.18 … Ciara Roche [Freehold Twp.], 2016
4:51.60 … Briana Gess [Haddonfield], 2016
4:52.42 … Katy Trotter [Red Bank Reg.], 2003
4:52.98 … Joelle Amaral [Randolph], 2011
4:53.02 … Abby Loveys [Randolph], 2019
4:53.17 … Kylene Cochrane [West Morris Central], 2014
4:53.18 … Kim Standridge [Randolph], 2007
4:53.36 … Lindsey Kane [Washington Twp.], 2014
4:53.54 … Amanda Trotter [Red Bank Reg.], 2003
4:53.58 … Melanie Thompson [Voorhees], 2008
4:53.70 … Ashley Higginson [Colts Neck], 2007
4:53.85 … Nicole Clifford [Cherokee], 2022
4:54.02 … Casey Nelson [Hunterdon Central], 2002
4:54.15 … Marin Warner [Holmdel], 2014
4:54.41 … Molly McNamara [Red Bank Catholic], 2011
4:54.58 … Celine Mazzi [Delsea], 2014
4:54.63 … Julia Guerra [Indian Hills], 2014
4:54.79 … Camryn Wennersten [Ridgewood], 2021

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