Rancocas Valley sophomore Cecilia King won the high hurdles at the South Jersey Open last weekend at Delsea and at the Burlington County Open on Saturday.
That’s impressive enough. What makes it even more impressive is that they were the first two hurdles races of King’s life.
King ran everything from the 100 to the 800 as a freshman last year – she medaled in the 800 at the BCSL Liberty Division meet – and then this past indoor season she focused on the 55 and was quick enough to run 7.49 at Easterns, which made her the 12th-fastest sophomore in the state.
But King didn’t find her calling until this spring, when the R.V. coaches tried her in the hurdles, and she responded in a big way.
King has won the 100 highs at each of her first two meets, running 15.35 at Delsea last weekend and 15.37 at the County Open Saturday.
She’s only the third R.V. girl to win the 100-meter hurdles at a County Open. Legendary Tonya Lee won in 1986 and 1987, and Anabella Chin won it in 2021 and 2022.
King is the fourth sophomore to win the highs at the Open – Olympian Carol Lewis won four straight years from 1978 through 1981 – the first four years the girls meet was held – and Burlington Township’s Meagan Robinson won as a sophomore in 2009 as did Cinnaminson’s Meredith Updike in 2017.
On Saturday, King out-raced Burlington City’s Ny’era Hand-Brooks, the indoor Group 1 hurdles (and 55) state champion in the final. Hand-Brooks placed 2nd in 15.85.
King also won the 400-meter intermediates Saturday at Northern Burlington with a 1:07.00 in her second lifetime 400IH race.
That made her the first sophomore to double the two hurdles races since Lee in 1986.
The only other girls in meet history to double the two hurdles races are Willingboro’s Bobbie Tabb in 1982, Lee in 1986 and 1987, Shawnee’s Mandie Dulin in 1996, Tiffany Alford of Pemberton in 2002, Updike in 2017 and Chin last year.
King’s 15.35 from last weekend is No. 2 in South Jersey this spring behind Janelle Marshall of Winslow, who won the Camden County meet in 14.78 Saturday at Haddon Township. King is No. 5 sophomore in the state and the top soph in Group 4.
Rancocas Valley scored 131 points to win its 5th straight county title, equalling the longest winning streak in meet history. Lenape won five straight from 2007 through 2011. The meet wasn’t held in 2018 or 2020, so the last time R.V. didn’t win was 2016, when Lenape won.