Shawnee graduate Grace Kearns continued her remarkable breakthrough sophomore season at Monmouth by running the 4th-fastest 800 time in school history Saturday at the IC4A Championships in Boston.
Kearns, a Monmouth sophomore, lowered her PR more than four seconds – from 2:14.56 to 2:10.39 – in the 800 qualifying rounds at Boston University.
She missed reaching the final by 52-100ths of a second.
Kearns had just PR’d with that 2:14.56 at the Metro Atlantic Championships at the Armory last month after a PR 2:16.56 in Boston earlier in February.
Coming into the indoor season, Kearns had a PR of 2:18.74 from her last season of indoor competition in February of 2020 at the MAC Championships at the Armory.
So that means she’s lowered her PR from 2:18.30 to 2:10.39 – nearly eight seconds – since Feb. 5.
Monmouth has been an 800 factory in recent years, producing NCAA All-America Allie Wilson, who ran 1:59.02 at the Olympic Trials last year, among others.
Kearns’ time makes her Monmouth’s fastest half-miler ever from South Jersey. Amanda Eller, a Millville graduate, ran 2:10.79 at Boston University in 2013.
Kearns also ran a 2:11.23 split on the third leg of Monmouth’s school-record 3,200-meter relay team, which won the IC4A title in 8:43.56. Sydney Todd (Monmouth Regional), Katie Locker (Elizabethtown, Pa.) and Ashley Navarro (Steinert) also ran on the 4-by-8, which finished 35 meters ahead of Rutgers, who was second in 8:49.80.
Monmouth’s previous school record was 8:44.08 set by the team of Jenna Cupp (Newark Valley, N.Y.), Kendal Hand (Howell), Lindsey Belleran (Red Bank Catholic) and Tionna Garner (Trenton Catholic) at the 2016 ECAC Championships.
At Shawnee, Kearns ran 2:21.33 indoors at 2018 Easterns – also at the Armory – and 2:19.97 outdoors at Group 4 sectionals in the spring of 2018 at Washington Township.
Kearns is the second former Shawnee runner to run a fast 800 this winter. Kristin Neidrach ran an indoor PR of 2:11.44 in Apeldoom, Netherlands, last month. She has an outdoor PR of 2:07.18 from Kortrijk, Belgium, from this past July. Niedrach, who graduated in 2012, had a high school PR of 2:21.55. She ran 2:10.28 at the 2016 IC4A in her final meet for Cornell.
The fastest former Shawnee half-miler is Michelle DiMuro, who ran 1:59.85 at the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials in Atlanta.