Cherokee grad Mike Zurzolo runs TCNJ’s fastest 3,000 in 13 years at Boston University!!!!!

Mike Zurzolo, a College of New Jersey senior from Cherokee, had a huge 3,000 race in Boston Saturday, placing second out of 100 runners at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational at Boston University.

Zurzolo ran a massive PR of 8:31.87, finishing behind only Neil Braganza of Yale, who won the race in 8:30.99.

That’s the fastest time by a TCNJ runner in 13 years.

Zurzolo was out in 2:18.7, 2:17.7 and 2:18.4 before running the final 600 in 1:37, which is 2:09 pace. He closed in 62.4 and 29.5.

His previous PR for 3,000 was 8:44.66 last month in a meet at the Armory. 

Zurzolo’s time is No. 19 in NCAA Division 3 and fastest by any NJAC runner this year by nearly 10 seconds.

At Cherokee, Zurzolo had an indoor 1,600 PR of 4:35.90, so he came through the 1,600 only about half a second slower Saturday in a 3,000 than his high school PR for a race nearly half as long.

Zurzolo’s 3,200 PR at Cherokee was 9:30.60. An 8:31.87 converts to approximately a 9:09.6 for 3,200 meters or about 9:12.8 for a full two miles.

His time is fastest by any TCNJ runner indoors or out since Brian Kopnicki ran 8:22.73 at the 2007 New Balance NYC Gotham Cup at the Armory on Jan. 12, 2007.

2020 indoor

2019 outdoor – 5th 20.97

2019 indoor – 3rd 20.63

2018 outdoor – 20.14 7th

2018 indoor – DNC

2017 outdoor – 14th 19.02

Delsea grad Josh Awotunde places 5th in shot put at USATF Nationals!!!!!

Delsea graduate Josh Awotunde finished fifth in the shot put Saturday at the USATF Championships in Albuquerque, his fourth straight top-8 finish at nationals.

Awotunde threw 66-1 1/2 on his third throw and had four throws of 64-11 1/2 or better in a very consistent series.

Awotunde placed 7th and 5th at outdoor nationals the last two years and was third at indoor nationals last winter.

He was sitting in 8th going into his third and final throw of the first round when he popped a 66-1 1/2, not far from his season best of 67-1. He would have made the finals either way, but that throw moved him up from 8th into 4th.

Awotunde opened with throws of 62-10 1/2 and 63-11. In the finals, he threw 64-11 1/2, 65-10 1/4 and 65-7 but was bumped into 5th when Roger Steen threw 66-1 3/4 on his fifth throw. 

Awotunde, a Delsea graduate and five-time All-America at South Carolina, has PRs of 69-11 3/4 indoors and 68-1 3/4 outdoors, both from the 2018 SEC Championships.

Ryan Crouser won with a meet-record throw of 74-1 3/4, best in the world this year. He had the top four throws of the competition.

Awotunde, NCAA runner-up as a South Carolina senior in 2018, ranked 22nd in the world last spring at 69-3 3/4. He ranks 25th in the world this year with his 67-1. He’s No. 40 in U.S. history outdoors and No. 24 indoors. 

At Delsea, Awotunde was Meet of Champions winner in the shot put and runner-up in the discus. He threw 61-6 with the 12-pound ball in high school and 192-5 in the discus.

Jessica Woodard takes 6th in shot put at USATF National Championships!!!

Jessica Woodard placed 6th in the shot put Friday night at the USATF Championships in Albuquerque.

Woodard, a Cherokee graduate and six-time All-America at Oklahoma, overcame fouls on three straight throws to take 6th with a throw of 57-11.

Woodard opened with a 57-7 before fouling on her last two attempts of the trials. But that was good enough to get her into the finals in seventh place. 

She fouled on her first throw of the finals before hitting 57-11 on her fifth throw to move up to 6th. She finished with a 56-10 1/4.

Woodard had set an indoor PR of 59-0 1/4 last weekend in Norman, Okla. She’s thrown as far as 61-3 1/2 outdoors.

In her three indoor meets this winter, she’s fouled on 10 of her 18 throws. 

Woodard ranks No. 17 in the world this year and No. 9 among U.S. women.

Woodard’s sixth-place finish matches her finish at outdoor nationals last summer in Des Moines, Iowa. She was seventh at indoor nationals last year and ninth at outdoor nationals in 2018. She also placed 11th at 2018 nationals in the discus. In 2017 she was 8th at outdoor nationals and 13th in the discus at outdoor nationals. In 2016, she was 11th in the shot at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Washington Twp. grad Jake Kolodziej of Rowan wins Fasttrack 800 at Ocean Breeze with indoor PR!!!!!

Rowan freshman Jake Kolodziej from Washington Township destroyed his indoor 800 PR Friday at the at the Fastrack National Invite at Ocean Breeze.

Kolodziej finished first of 52 half-milers with a time of 1:56.86, breaking his indoor PR of 1:59.26 set last weekend on the same track. His overall PR of 1:57.10 was set as a Washington Township senior, when he ran 1:57.10 in a meet at West Chester (Pa.) Henderson.

His time is No. 3 in the NJAC this year behind teammate Nick Neville [1:56.05] and Ramapo freshman Charles DaSilva [1:56.61]. It’s No. 6 in the Division 3 Atlantic Region.

Kolodziej looks like the No. 4 freshman in NCAA Division 3, behind Carter Oberfoell of Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa [1:54.45], Murray Bingham of Southern Virginia of Buena Vista, Va. [1:56.17] and DaSilva.

Kolodziej attended Rowan College of Gloucester County in Deptford last year and placed 6th at NJCAA Division 3 nationals in Utica, N.Y., in 2:01.56.

Rowan freshman Joe DeVito from Jackson Liberty was second out of a different section in 1:57.53, breaking his indoor PR of 1:58.30 from last weekend on the same track. DeVito ran 1:53.25 at Central Jersey Group 3 sectionals last spring.finishing second behind Hopewell Valley’s Sean Dolan, the Meet of Champions mile champ.

Two Absegami graduates, freshman Joga Keisjaum and sophomore Esteban Delgado, also broke two minutes. Keisjaum ran 1:58.61, breaking his overall indoor PR of 2:00.20 from last year’s Meet of Champions and his college indoor PR of 2:01.21 from last weekend. Delgado ran 1:59.19. He has a 1:57.11 to his credit this winter, also from last weekend at Ocean Breeze.

Jessica Woodard records indoor shot put PR in final tuneup for USATF Nationals!!!!!

Cherokee grad and six-time Oklahoma All-America Jessica Woodard threw an indoor shot put PR of 59-0 1/4 over the weekend.

Woodard finished first at the J.D. Martin Invitational at the Mosier Indoor Facility on the Oklahoma campus in Norman, Okla.

Her previous season best was a 58-0 1/2 late last month at a meet in Lubbock, Texas. Her previous indoor PR was 58-8 3/4 last February in Fayetteville.

Woodard’s mark is No. 17 in the world this year and No. 9 among U.S. women.

Incredibly, Woodard fouled five times and recorded only one legal mark at the J.D. Martin Invite. She fouled on her first throw, hit the 59-0 1/4 on her second, then fouled four more times.

Outdoors, Woodard has thrown over 60 feet in each of the last three seasons — 60-2 3/4 in 2017, a PR 61-3 1/2 in 2018 and 60-4 last year.

Woodard is scheduled to throw at the USATF Championships this weekend at the Albuquerque (N.M.) Convention Center. 

The women’s shot put is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Hammonton’s Nate Karl bombs another shot put PR at Cherokee, moves up to #4 in New Jersey!!!

Big night Tuesday for Hammonton senior Nate Karl, who bombed a 56-11 PR at the third and final Cherokee Throw Down at Cherokee High.

Karl had just PR’d at 55-7 1/2 one day earlier at the SJTCA meet at Ocean Breeze. Before Sunday his PR was 52-6 from a SJTCA meet at the Bubble just before Christmas.

Karl’s mark is No. 4 in the state this year and No. 2 in South Jersey, behind only Winslow’s John Purvis, who threw 60-0 in December at the Bubble and backed that up with a 59-10 1/2 earlier this month at the Armory.

The Atlantic County indoor record is 59-9 by Kofi Yamoah of Egg Harbor in 2013. 

Last spring, Karl only threw 49-2 1/2 but had terrific success in the discus, winning sectionals, placing third at states and then medaling in the Meet of Champions with a 168-3. He was No. 3 in South Jersey in the discus and the No. 6 junior in the state.

Deckert, Heineman, Maggs lead wild parade of S.J. 800 PRs at Ocean Breeze!!!!!

A bunch of South Jersey’s top middle-distance runners finally got together on a fast track, and the result was a parade of 800 PRs.

Delsea’s Noah Deckert, Kingsway’s Jeff Heineman and RV’s Ryan Maggs led the way at the SJTCA meet at Ocean Breeze Monday, taking the first three spots with indoor PRs for all three.

But in all 11 South Jersey runners broke 2:05, and nine of them set indoor PRs.

1:59.69 … Noah Deckert, Delsea: Deckert dipped under two minutes for the first time ever indoors or out. As late as two weeks ago he had an 800 PR of 2:09.51 from the Tri-County outdoor championships last May on his home track. He lowered that to 2:02.64 with a win at a SJTCA meet late last month at the Bubble before his breakthrough race at Ocean Breeze Saturday. Deckert has also PR’d in the 1,600 this month at 4:28.17 after a 3,200 PR a few weeks ago with a 9:40.35.

1:59.94 … **Jeffrey Heineman, Kingsway: Heinemann broke his indoor PR of 2:05.54, which he set a week earlier at Ocean Breeze. He ran slightly faster outdoors as a freshman — 1:59.56 at the South Jersey Invitational. Heineman is the No. 2 sophomore in South Jersey, behind only teammate Kyle Rakitis, who ran 1:58.22 last weekend.

2:01.37 … *Ryan Maggs, Rancocas Valley: In only his second lifetime 800 (unless he ran it in a dual meet) Maggs broke his PR of 2:04.18 by nearly three seconds. R.V. has been an 800 factory (Ian Waterhouse, Isaiah Curbelo, Ian Moore, Micah Wood, Joshua DeJesus, Joel Straker, Jose Colon-Cruz, Jacob Tyndall, etc.), and Maggs, still a newcomer to the event, is now less than half a second from joining the Red Devils’ sizable sub-2:00 club.

2:01.61 … Philip Sedalis, Deptford: Sedalis didn’t quite PR, but his 2:01.61 was second-fastest of his indoor career and not far from his PR of 2:00.75 from the Armory late last month. Sedalis is Deptford’s fastest indoor half-miler since Jonathan McFaul ran 2:00.23 at 2007 states.

2:01.97 … Luke Kramer, Ocean City: Lowered his indoor PR from 2:03.62, which he ran just two weeks ago at the Bubble. Has an outdoor PR of 1:59.53 from Haddonfield Distance Night last year.

2:02.89 … ***Bryce Tucker, Pennsauken: Only the second lifetime 800 for Tucker after a 2:10.49 earlier this month. Not too often you get to PR by 7 1/2 seconds in an 800. Tucker is No. 2 freshman in the state and Pennsauken’s fastest indoor half-miler since Eric Butler ran 2:00.47 in 2013.

2:03.42 … *Joseph DeBeaumont, Highland: How about this for improvement: Beaumont’s fastest 800 last spring was a 2:14.79 at Haddonfield Distance Night. He lowered that PR to 2:05.76 two weeks ago before his big race at Ocean Breeze Monday.

2:03.67 … *Jack Rhoades, Clearview: Lowered his indoor PR from 2:04.78 from sectionals last year and lowered his season-best of 2:05.29.

2:04.25 … Dakota Oyuela, Burlington Twp.: Previous indoor PR was a 2:06.89 on the same track in January of 2019.

2:04.33 … Tyler Greene, Ocean City: Ran within half a second of his PR of 2:03.77 from the Varsity Classic at the Armory a week earlier.

2:04.37 … Grayson Fasolo, Haddonfield: Took more than 3 1/2 seconds off his overall 800 PR of 2:07.94 from a week earlier at the Bubble.