Rowan’s Jacob Riley got his outdoor season off to a hot start over the weekend in Lexington, Va.
Riley turned in a couple PRs at the Washington & Lee Carnival – 1:54.89 for 2nd place in the 800 and 4:01.08 for 5th place in the 1,500.
Riley’s previous 800 PR was a 1:58.15 last spring in a meet at West Chester, and his 1,500 PR was 4:12.18 also last April in a home meet in Glassboro.
You don’t get many 3 ½-second PRs in the 800.
To get a sense how much Riley has improved since high school, his PRs at North Warren High in Blairstown were 1:57.80 at the 2019 state Group 1 meet at Franklin and 4:39.64 at 2018 indoor sectionals at the Bubble. Riley did run 4:17.05 indoors this year at the AARTFC Championships in Rochester.
His 1:54.89 is fastest by a Rowan half-miler since All-America Nick Neville ran 1:51.10 at the 2018 NCAA Division 3 Championships in La Crosse, Wisc.
Riley was one of three Rowan milers who ran 4:01 and change in Lexington. Cherokee graduate Justin Kelly, a Rowan freshman, ran 4:01.23 in his first outdoor college race, and senior Jeffrey Stewart of Jackson Memorial ran 4:01.40.
Kelly didn’t run any 1,500s or miles indoors. His mile PR is 4:17.38 from the 2018 Meet of Champions at Northern Burlington. He also ran 1:59.97 in Lexington. Stewart’s 4:01.40 breaks a PR of 4:04.85 from last spring in a meet at Rowan.
Another Rowan freshman, Zachary Voll from Lakeland Regional in Wanaque, ran 1:58.54 after going 1:58.17 indoors, and soph Peter Argerakis from Sachem East in Brookhaven, N.Y., also broke two minutes for the first time ever in Lexington with a 1:59.96
With Jake Kolodziej, who ran 1:52.66 indoors, Riley, Kelly, Voll and Argerakis, this Rowan team has the potential to put together a decent 4-by-8 this spring.
They haven’t raced yet outdoors, but Rowan also lists Jackson’s Joe DeVito on its roster. DeVito ran 1:53.25 at the 2019 Group 3 state meet, where he placed second to Sean Dolan of Hopewell Valley (who ran 3:56.39 for Villanova in February). And soph Charlie Serrano from Matawan ran 1:56.57 at the Monmouth County Championships as a senior at Matawan. Another current Prof, Cole Kolodziej, ran 1:59.52 as a senior at Washington Township.
Add the four best 800 PRs – 1:52.66, 1:54.89, 1:56.57 and 1:58.54 – and you can see why Rowan has sub-7:40 potential by the end of the year.
(Lenape grad Kevin Lauer ran 4:14.81 at the indoor NJAC meet so he’s good for something a 1:57-low at worst! Lauer hasn’t run an 800 since a 1:59.39 in 2019.)