Ryan Smith takes 9th in state Group 4 race, becomes R.V.’s first Meet of Champions qualifier in 28 years!!!!!!!!

Senior Ryan Smith recorded the best finish by a Rancocas Valley runner at states in 29 years and will become R.V.’s first runner at the Meet of Champions in 28 years.

Smith ran 16:25 – fastest in school history at historic Holmdel County Park – and placed 5th in a very fast, very deep state Group 4 race Saturday. Racing in the worst of the unseasonably warm mid-day heat, Smith posted the 5th-fastest time among South Jersey runners in the six championship races and the 24th-fastest time ov erall of more than 800 runners.

The only faster South Jersey runners were Group 2 winner George Andrus of Haddonfield [15:41], senior Patrick Ditmars [15:59] and junior Nick Kuenkel [16:08] from Cherokee in Group 4 and junior Peyton Shute of Woodbury [16:24] in Group 3.

Smith broke his own R.V. Holmdel record of 16:31 that he ran last month at Shore Coaches.

Smith’s 9th-place finish was the best by an R.V. runner at states since Jon Harris ran 9th in the 1993 Group 3 meet in 16:50. R.V. qualified as a team that year and placed 5th overall. The last R.V. runner to place higher than 9th was Mike Clayton, who was 5th in Group 3 in 1985 in 17:19.

On Saturday, Smith will race in the 50th annual Meet of Champions on the same Holmdel course. He’ll be R.V.’s first runner at the M-of-C since Mike Walker – now the College of New Jersey track distance coach and XC assistant coach – placed 40th in the 1994 meet at Holmdel in 17:15.

The best finish ever by a Rancocas Valley boy at the MoC was Jon Harris’s 33rd in 17:11 in the 1992 meet.


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