Lenape’s Justin Penny runs N.J. #2 800 at S.J. Elite, leads 8 runners under 1:58!!!!!!!!!!

Lenape senior Justin Penny led a ridiculously fast and deep 800 Thursday night at the South Jersey Elite meet at Delsea.

The deepest 800 ever run in South Jersey produced 8 of the top 15 times in New Jersey this year, with Penny running a New Jersey-No. 2 1:54.60 and leading six half-milers under 1:57 and 15 under two minutes. Which is insane.

The top 12 runners all PR’d – by an average of 2.46 seconds per runner.

Penny obliterated his PR of 1:58.46, which he ran indoors at the Bubble at the state Group 4 meet in February. It was his fastest outdoor 800 by more than four seconds. He ran 1:59.0 in a dual meet.

His time is No. 3 in Lenape history, behind Clayton Baloche [1:53.54 in 1992] and Ryan Garvin [1:53.84 in 2009].

Penny edged Camden Catholic senior Billy Clewell, who was second in 1:54.88, No. 3 in the state this year. Clewell’s previous PR was 1:56.87 at the indoor Meet of Champions in March, also at the Bubble. Clewell’s outdoor PR was 1:58.56 at last year’s Meet of Champions in South Plainfield. Clewell missed the school record of 1:54.87 – set by Colin Pierlott at the 2013 state Parochial A meet at South Plainfield – by 1-100th of a second.

Cherokee junior Patrick Ditmars placed 3rd, leading four Cherokee runners under two minutes. Ditmars was 3rd [1:55.01], senior Conor Jacob 4th [1:56.26], sophomore Robert Poplau 8th and [1:57.54] and junior Thomas Bromley 10th [1:59.23].

Those four combined to run the equivalent of a 7:48.04 for the 3,200-meter relay.

Ditmars’ time is No. 4 in New Jersey this year and Jacob is No. 8. Ditmars is also now No. 1 among New Jersey juniors, and Poplau is No. 2 among sophs.

In all, five Cherokee runners PR’d. Ditmars’ previous best was a 1:59.40 last May in a dual meet, Jacob ran 1:57.06 last June at Group 4 sectionals at Washington Township, Poplau eclipsed a 2:00.8 in a dual meet last month, and Bromley was 10th, lowering his PR from 2:00.22 from a meet in Westfield last month. And senior Lucas Hatch ran Cherokee senior Lucas Hatch 1:59.86, giving the Chiefs six runners this year under two-flat – including five underclassmen.

Ocean City senior Owen Ritti placed 5th in 1:56.33, No. 9 in New Jersey this year. Ritti’s previous lifetime best was a 1:57.01 in June at the state Group 3 meet at Pennsauken. His time is fastest by an Ocean City half-miler since Brett Johnson ran 1:53.49 at the 2008 state Group 3 meet at South Plainfield.

First-year junior Matthew Iuvara was next across the line, taking 6th in 1:56.94, snapping his PR of 1:59.20 from the indoor state Group 2 meet at the Bubble, where he placed second.

The first sophomore finisher was Timber Creek’s Robert Wakefield, who ran the fastest 800 this year in New Jersey by a sophomore, placing 7th in 1:57.60. His previous PR was 2:01.06 in February at the Armory.

Another sophomore, Pennsauken’s Ladanian McGrath, placed 8th in 1:58.93, lowering his PR from 2:01.40 from a dual meet last month.

Also under two minutes were Highland junior Cole Knoedler [11th in 1:59.42], Clearview junior Cavan Agatone [1:59.43], Lower Cape May senior Zeb Hinker [13th in 1:59.71] Cinnaminson junior Derek Coceano [15th in 1:59.93].

Previous PRs were 2:01.67 for Knoedler, 2:01.63 for Agatone, 2:01.86 for Hatch and 2:01.86 also for Coceano.


Thjis meet was so good we’ll have posts on every winner over the next week. Check back here a few times a day for the latest updates!


One thought on “Lenape’s Justin Penny runs N.J. #2 800 at S.J. Elite, leads 8 runners under 1:58!!!!!!!!!!

  1. Pete May 6, 2022 / 6:15 pm

    Camden Catholic , probable school record Ed Kelly 1989 MOC winner 1:54.21


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