Cherokee’s Lucciano Pizarro, Cinnaminson’s Austin Gabay THISCLOSE to advancing at NCAAs!!!!!!

It was a frustrating Day of the NCAA Championships for Cherokee’s Lucciano Pizarro and Cinnaminson’s Austin Gabay, who both missed advancing by the smallest of margins.

But both concluded breakthrough sophomore seasons, Pizarro for Penn State and Gabay for Duke.

Pizarro was sitting in the 12th and final qualifying spot to advance to the shot put semifinals at the NCAA Championships in Austin next month with only one thrower remaining who could knock him out of the last spot – Isaiah Rogers of Kenesaw (Ga.) State. Pizarro had thrown 61-2, 61-4 ¼ and 61-3 in a very consistent series, but Rogers bumped him with a 61-6 ¼ on his 3rd and final attempt to earn the last qualifying spot.

Pizarro ranks 19th among U.S. men with his 65-0 ¾ at the Big Ten Championships earlier this month in Bloomington, Ind., and No. 4 in Penn State history.

Gabay, who qualified for NCAAs with a 3:42.94 in Winston-Salem, N.C., last month, had the misfortune of competing in the 4th and final heat of the 1,500 trials, which produced seven of the eight-fastest times of all four races. So even though he had the 16th-fastest time and 24 runners advance to Friday’s quarterfinals, he didn’t advance because he had the 5th-fastest time outside the five auto qualifiers per heat, and only those 20 auto-qualifiers and the next four-fastest advance.

If he ran 3:46.07 in the 1st or 3rd qualifying heat, he would have advanced. Gabay actually ran faster than nine auto-qualifiers. He missed snagging the final small-Q qualifier by 11-100ths of a second.

In the long jump, none of the three South Jersey qualifiers advanced. Princeton freshman Greg Foster from Lumberton only managed one legal attempted and jumped 23-6 ¾, Rutgers junior Jabari Higgs-Salaam of Haddon Heights jumped 23-4 ¼ and Rider junior Zach Manorowitz of Pennsville didn’t get a legal mark.

Foster jumped 26-1 ¾ this year, Manorowitz went 25-0 ¾ and Higgs-Salaam hit 24-11 ¾ and has a wind-legal PR of 24-0 ¾.

Foster will be back in action Friday in the triple jump at 6 p.m.

South Jersey’s one qualifier from Wednesday’s first round is St. Augustine’s Sincere Rhea, who advanced in the 110-meter hurdles. Details here.

The women’s East and West prelims begin on Thursday. Click here for details on all of South Jersey’s NCAA Division 1 qualifiers.


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