Stockton’s Alicia Belko opens XC season with commanding win in dual meet with Rowan

Alicia Belko, a Stockton University senior from Rancocas Valley, opened the 2017 cross country season with a commanding win over the field Friday in a dual meet with Rowan on Stockton’s campus in Galloway Township.

Belko covered the 6,000-meter course in 23:20.1, finishing 265 meters ahead of second place.

Belko, an All-America last spring in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, doesn’t have track eligibility remaining and is in her final year of cross country.

Rowan, with a largely South Jersey team, won the team title 35-24 over Stockton.

For the Profs, Hannah Vendetta of Pitman placed second in 24:31, with Jessica Nguyen fourth in 24:48, Alyssa Sanders of Pitman fifth in 24:50, Jennifer Klavens from Washington Township sixth in 25:04 and Grace Capone of Bordentown seventh in 25:33.


Norm Tate named head coach of U.S. team for World Junior Championships!!!

image_handler.aspxLong-time South Jersey resident Norm Tate, a former Olympian who currently works with the jumpers and hurdlers for the powerhouse Rowan University track team, has been named head coach of the U.S. team that will compete in the World Junior Pan Am Games in Peru.

“I am honored to be selected as the head coach,” Tate said in a statement on Rowan’s web site. “It’s another step towards, hopefully, being chosen to coach at the Olympic Games. I have received positive evaluations every time I have coached for Team USA and I am hoping that continues.”

Tate has lived in South Jersey since 1986, when he left coaching and took a job at a casino in Atlantic City.

Tate, a three-time All-America at North Carolina Central University in the mid-1960s and Penn Relays MVP in 1964, went on to make the 1968 Olympic team in the triple jump. He was U.S. triple jump champ three times in a row — 1969, 1970 and 1971.

After 20 years working as an equal employment opportunity manager at Resorts International, Tate returned to college coaching in 2006 at Stockton University in nearby Galloway, where he was reunited with athletic director and 1968 Olympic teammate Larry James, and in 2009 he joined the staff at Rowan.

During his years at Resorts, Tate did coach numerous individuals, including Olympian Jack Pierce.

The Pan Am Juniors is the latest in a long list of national teams Tate has coached, including the U.S. teams that competed at the 2012 World Juniors, 2014 World Juniors and 2015 Pan Am Games. The meet runs Friday through Sunday in Lima, Peru.

South Jersey 8th-grader runs 24.77 for 200 meters in girls 14-year-old age group at AAU Region 2 meet!!!!!

Lauren Princz of Egg Harbor, who just finished eighth grade at Fernwood Avenue Middle School, ran 24.77 for 200 meters Saturday in the preliminaries of the AAU Region 2 National Qualifier at Stockton University in Galloway.

Princz, a national age-group champ this past winter in the 60-meter dash, won her heat by nearly 1 1/2 seconds. Moforeh Abinusawa of Ambler ran 25.01 in another heat.

Region 2 covers all of South Jersey and the eastern portion of Pennsylvania.

Princz’s time was faster than the fastest qualifying times in either the 15-16 age group or the 17-19 age group.

Only six girls in New Jersey ran as fast as 24.77 this past season, including four from South Jersey. The last New Jersey freshman to run that fast was Myasia Jacobs of Paramus Catholic in 2009.

The final is scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

Princz also won the 400 in 58.60 and placed second in the 100 with a 12.65, behind only Abinusawa’s 12.32.  Princz actually ran 12.49 in the trials.

So her triple before one day of high school was 12.49, 24.77 and 58.60.

The only New Jersey girls of any age to run that fast for all three sprints at any point this year were Shakira Dancy of Winslow, Cecelia Gerstenbacher of Delsea and Katie DeFrancesco of St. John Vianney.


Pleasantville’s Nia Ali takes second at USATF nationals in 100 hurdles!!!!!

Pleasantville High School graduate Nia Ali, a former Meet of Champions winner and the Olympic silver medalist last year, placed second in the 100-meter hurdles Saturday at the USATF National Championships in Sacramento.

World record holder Kendra Harrison won in 12.60 out of lane 5 and Ali was second in 12.68 in neighboring lane 6, 2-100ths of a second ahead of Kendra Manning, third in 12.70. The final was run into a strong 1.7-meters-per-second wind.

Ali actually ran 12.52 in the second of two semifinals, No. 2 in the world this year behind only Jasmin Stowers, who ran 12.47 in the first semifinal, and only 4-100ths off her PR of 12.48, which she ran in Des Moines in 2013, and faster actually than her silver-medal time at last year’s Olympics, which was 12.59.

Harrison, Ali and Manning will make up the U.S. team that will compete in the IAAF World Championships in London Aug. 4-13. The women’s 100-meter hurdles trials and semis are scheduled for Aug. 11, with the final on Aug. 12.

Ali is a two-time world indoor champion and Olympic silver medalist, but this is the first time she’s made a U.S. team headed to the World Championships outdoors.


Deptford’s Tim Van Liew places 4th in javelin at USATF nationals! S.J. gets 4 of top 9 spots!!!!!

Tim Van Liew, a graduate of Deptford High and an NCAA Division 3 champ for Rutgers-Camden, threw 252-4 on his final throw and placed fourth in the javelin at the USATF National Championships in Sacramento Saturday.

South Jersey finished with four of the top nine finishers, with former NCAA champion Curtis Thompson of Florence sixth at 238-8, U.S. No. 3 Chris Mirabelli of Holy Cross eighth at 230-6 and Tom Carr of Eastern High ninth in 230-3 and missing the finals by just three inches.

Van Liew, 27, just missed his PR of 253-4, which he set earlier this month at a low-key meet at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa. He was primarily a soccer player at Deptford and never threw the javelin until his senior year. After focusing on soccer his first two years at Rutgers-Camden, he finally resumed the javelin and won two NCAA Division 3 titles. He was a four-year starter in goal at Rutgers-Camden.

Thompson has a PR of 271-11 from last year’s nationals — which were the Olympic Trials. Mirabelli has a PR of 251-6 from this year’s Penn Relays and ranked No. 3 among American men going into nationals. Carr has a PR of 238-9 going back to 2015. Mirabelli and Carr are teammates at Rutgers.

Here’s a look at the event for the four South Jersey natives:

TOM CARR: Carr opened with a 207-8 and then moved into ninth place with a 230-3 on his second throw. He remained there the rest of the competition. Carr finished with a 210-8. Carr finished three feet shy of his season-best 233-3, also set at Ursinus.

CHRIS MIRABELLI: Mirabelli’s best throw was his first throw. He opened with a 230-6 and was in fifth place after the first throws. He dropped into eighth after the second round, in which he threw 227-9, and stayed there. Mirabelli threw 220-1 on his final throw of the prelims, then fouled on all three of his attempts in the finals.

CURTIS THOMPSON: Thompson had thrown a season-best 245-0 in a meet earlier this month in Germany, but his best Saturday was a 238-8, which came on his final throw. Thompson opened with a 228-8, a 232-3 and a foul in the prelims, then went 216-3, 225-8 and 238-8 in the finals.  His final throw moved him from seventh to sixth.

TIM VAN LIEW: Van Liew had a solid series, averaging 243-6 on his four legal throws and finishing with the second-best throw of his career. He opened with a foul and then threw 232-8 to move into fifth and 246-4 to move into fourth going into the finals. He didn’t improve his place, but after opening with a foul and a 243-0, he closed with that 252-4.

Pleasantville’s Nia Ali easily advances in 100-meter hurdles at USATF Nationals!!!

Nia Ali ran a season-best 12.74 despite a 1.2-meters-per-second headwind Friday to advance to the semifinals in the 100-meter hurdles at the USATF National Championships in Sacramento.

Ali, a graduate of Pleasantville High School and the Olympic silver medalist last year, won the second of four heats in the trials. Her time was third-fastest of the 16 hurdlers who advanced to Saturday’s semifinals.

Her time is No. 13 in the world this year.

Ali’s personal-best is a 12.48 in 2013. She ran 12.59 in winning the silver medal in Rio de Janeiro last summer.

The only women to race faster than Ali in Friday’s trials were world record holder Kendra Harrison (2017 world No. 1 12.54) and Oregon’s Alaysha Johnson (12.71), the Pac 12 champion.

“I can’t complain about anything,” Ali said. “It was a negative wind, but I am just happy to come out with the win. I have not won a race all year. It is perfect timing for me. I am happy I was able to execute in a comfortable fashion.”

The semifinals are scheduled for 4:05 p.m. Saturday, with the finals following at 5:54 p.m.

“I just want to approach with the same mentality and stay even-minded and at pace,” she said. “I need to focus on my own lane and focus on what my coaches tell me to do.”

Eastern grad and Olympic gold medalist English Gardner runs 11.04 in 100 trials, easily advances to semifinals at USATF Nationals!

English Gardner, in her first race since placing seventh in the Olympic 100 final last year, easily advanced in the 100 at the USATF championships in Sacramento.

Gardner, a graduate of Eastern Regional High and a gold medalist in the 400-meter relay, ran 11.04 and advanced to the semifinals on Friday evening.

Gardner has a PR of 10.74, which is seventh-fastest in world history. She ran that at last year’s Olympic Trials in Eugene, and it’s second-fastest in Trials history, fastest other than Florence Griffith-Joyner, whose 1988 performances were achieved under a cloud of suspicion.

Torie Bowie led all qualifiers with a 10.90, fifth-fastest in the world this year. Gardner had the eighth-fastest qualifying time, but the No. 2 through No. 12 times were all from 10.98 through 11.07.

The semifinals are scheduled for 8:16 p.m. EST Friday and the finals at 10:52 p.m. EST.