Schalick grad Samuel Gerstenbacher wins Blue Jay Challenge at Elizabethtown

Schalick graduate Samuel Gerstenbacher, who lowered his steeplechase time to 8:38.94 last spring, raced Saturday for the first time since May and won the Blue Jay Challenge at Elizabethtown, his alma mater.

The race pits Elizabeth alumni vs. the current team and for the first time in race history the alumni came out with the team title, beating the current team 25-32.

Gerstenbacher covered the 4,500-meter (2.8-mile) layout at the Elizabethtown Solar Array Course in 13:49, which is 15:21 pace for 5,000 meters and finished 55 meters ahead of former teammate Christian Schaaf, who ran 14:14.38 for 5,000 meters on the track last year.

A total of 35 runners competed – 18 current runners and 17 alums. The alums went 1-2-3-7-16, and the current team went 4-5-6-8-9.

Gerstenbacher is the fastest steeplechaser in South Jersey history. He ranked No. 36 among U.S. men last year but only 16 seconds out of the top 10.

Gerstenbacher only ran two steeples this past outdoor season but in the second he ran 8:38.94 at Track Night NYC at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island in New York on May 20.

That broke the South Jersey record of 8:46.16 set a week early by Cinnaminson graduate and Duke grad student Mike Ungvarsky, who had just run 8:46.16 at the ACC Championships in Durham, N.C.

Clearview’s Abigail Waddington edges Delsea’s Lillie WIdmer in Cherokee Challenge senior class race!!!!!

Abigail Waddington of Clearview edged Lillie Widmer of Delsea by half a second to win the Senior Class race at the 26th annual Cherokee Challenge Saturday.

Waddington ran 12:05.58 over 3,200 meters at Cherokee, and Widmer was two meters back in 12:06.02.

Cinnaminson’s Stephanie Renouf [12:11], Haddon Township’s Meghan Lex [12:14] and Egg Harbor Township’s Lindsay Taylor [12:14] took the 3rd through 5th spots, making it a 1-2-3-4-5 South Jersey sweep.

Waddington also won the junior class race last year. Widmer was 20th and ran more than a minute faster this year. Renouf ran 20 seconds faster, Lex ran 45 seconds faster and Taylor ran a 1:40 faster.

Ava Severino of Haddon Heights placed 8th in 12:27, and Abigail Kotran of Clearview was 9th in 12:32.

Cornell’s Katy Storti from Bishop Eustace takes 5th in Fordham Fiasco at Van Cortlandt!!!!!

Cornell’s Katy Storti, a senior from Cinnaminson and Bishop Eustace, placed 5th out of 68 runners Saturday in the Fordham Fiasco at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, N.Y.

Storti covered the 5,000-meter layout at the legendary course in 19:30 and finished just 27 seconds behind Elvira Bredin of Temple, who covered the challenging course in 19:03.

What makes this race a fiasco? I guess the fact that the results don’t indicate what school any of the runners are from. Have you ever seen this before?

Fordham Fiasco results.

But it looks like Storti was Cornell’s 3rd finisher. Team scoring? You’re guess is as good as mine. It’s not listed anywhere in these results, and I don’t have the time to start figuring out where every runner is from and adding up points!

But either way, a strong race for Storti, who ran 17:34.75 for 5,000 meters on the track at the Armory in February and was on the 2019 Cornell XC team that placed 2nd in the NCAA Division 1 Northeast Regional in Amherst, N.Y., and raced in the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind.

Peyton Shute shatters course record at Cherokee Challenge!!!!!

Woodbury’s Peyton Shute shattered the 10-year-old course record on his way to a win in the junior class race Saturday morning at the 26th annual Cherokee Challenge.

Shute ran 9:24 – 9:24.49 exactly – and broke the course record on the 3,200-meter layout of 9:26.0, set in 2012 by Cherokee’s Shawn Wilson. Avery Keith of Westfield took 2nd in 9:42.

Shute ran 4:14.89 and 9:15.76 last spring and was 6th in the Meet of Champions. He was second in the sophomore class race last year in 9:55.

Cherokee High has been good for Shute. Last April, he ran 9:15.76 at Cherokee, the fastest 3,200 by a South Jersey sophomore in 14 years.

Here’s a look at all the sub-9:40 times in course history:
9:24 … Peyton Shute [Woodbury], 2022
9:26 … Shawn Wilson [Cherokee], 2012
9:27 … Luke Petela [Haddon Twp.], 2014
9:28 … Miles Schoedler [Ocean City], 2010
9:30 … Louis Corgliano [Hammonton], 2013
9:31 … Chris Platt [Haddonfield], 2002
9:32 … Chris Romero [Voorhees], 2017
9:33 … John Vitez [Haddonfield], 2009
9:33 … Ben Potts [Haddonfield], 2010
9:33 … Luke Johnson [West Windsor-Plainsboro North], 2019
9:37 … Robby Andrews [Manalapan], 2008
9:38 … Marc Pelerin [Cherokee], 2001
9:38 … Nick Costello [Delsea], 2012

Northern’s Liliah Gordon races to dominating victory in Cherokee Challenge sophomore girls race!!!!!

Northern Burlington’s Liliah Gordon coasted to a commanding win in the sophomore class race Saturday morning at the 26th annual Cherokee Challenge.

Gordon covered the 3,200-meter course in 11:41 and won by 125 meters over Wildwood’s Macie McCracken, who was 2nd in 12:09.

Her time is fastest by a South Jersey girl in the sophomore race since 2008, when Casey Doyle of Shawnee ran 11:40.

Gordon won the freshman race last year in 11:42 and went on to place 8th in the Meet of Champions as a freshman with a monster 18:29 at Holmdel County Park.

Camden Catholic’s Nilaa Ponnappan made it a 1-2-3 South Jersey sweep in 3rd place with a 12:14. It was the first 1-2-3 South Jersey sweep in any varsity race at the Cherokee Challenge since Alexa Palmieri of Ocean City, Sophie Steidle of Collingswood and Emma Klouchek of Seneca went 1-2-3 in the sophomore race in 2018.

Other South Jersey runners in the top 10 were Grace Duffy of Haddon Heights [6th in 12:42], Chloe Care of Ocean City [7th in 12:54] and Maeve Smith of Ocean City [10th in 13:04].

There were 194 runners in the race.

Delsea’s Matthew Littlehales wins freshman race at 26th annual Cherokee Challenge in near-record time!!!

Matthew Littlehales of Delsea opened up his high school career Saturday morning with a win in the freshman race at the 26th annual Cherokee Challenge.

Littlehales covered the 3,200-meter course in 10:12, 3rd-fastest in meet history in the freshman race and just three seconds off the meet record.

Triton’s Robert Rawls ran 10:09 in 2007 and Matt Nelson of Barnegat ran 10:09 in 2009.

Littlehales edged Parker Warkentine of Conestoga High in Tredyffirin, Pa., in Chester County. Warkentine ran 10:14.

As an 8th-grader last year, Littlehales won the middle school race in 7:51 over 1 ½ miles.

Other South Jersey runners in the top 10 were Dominic Burgio of Williamstown [5th in 10:57] and Peter Simpson of Moorestown [9th in 11:12].

Sterling’s Jessie Klenk leads Stockton women past TCNJ, Rowan in close battle at Stockton Invite!!!!!

Sterling’s Jessie Klenk placed 4th overall out of nearly 100 runners and was Stockton’s No. 1 runner as the Ospreys won the team title Friday at their own Stockton Invitational in Galloway Township.

Klenk, a senior, covered the 5,000-meter course in 20:06 and led Stockton’s five scorers to a 22-second gap. Stockton’s first seven all finished within 37 seconds.

Stockton outscored The College of New Jersey 36-41 with Rowan 3rd with 47 points in a battle of three of the top-seven treams in the USTCCCA NCAA Division 3 Metro Region. TCNJ is ranked 3rd, Stockton 4th and Rowan 7th. Swarthmore and Widener are No. 1 and 2.

Kierstin Clem, a junior from Eastern, was Stockton’s 4th finisher and took 8th overall in 20:21.

Anna Sasse, a sophomore from Williamstown, was Rowan’s 2nd runner, taking 7th overall in 20:17, Cammy Wright, a sophomore from Cherry Hill West, was the Profs’ 4th finisher in 11th place in 20:26, and Egg Harbor Township grad Olivia Shafer was Rowan’s No. 2 in 22nd place in 20:45.

Savannah Hodgens, a freshman from Mainland Regional, led TCNJ in 2nd place with a time of 19:51 in her first collegiate race. Rowan’s Abbey Churchill, a freshman from Indian Hills, Bergen County, was the overall winner in 19:36.

CURTIS THOMPSON CAPS REMARKABLE JAVELIN SEASON WITH 4TH PLACE AT DIAMOND LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS!!!!!!!!

Curtis Thompson capped one of the greatest seasons ever by a New Jersey track athlete Wednesday with a 4th place in the javelin at the Weltklasse, the Diamond League Championships at Letzigrund in Zürich, Switzerland.

Thompson, in his fifth meet in 19 grueling days, threw 269-4 on his second attempt and finished behind reigning Olympic and World Championship gold medalist Neeraj Chopra of India [290-1], Olympic silver medalist Jakub Vadlejch of the Czech Republic [285-2] and 2016 Olympian Julian Weber of Germany [274-8].

Thompson opened with a 254-3 before popping the 269-4. He finished with a 257-1, two fouls and a 257-4.

The 269-4 is the No. 10 throw of his life. Ten of the 13 biggest throws of his life have come since July, including six of his eight 270-footers.

The Florence native, a two-time U.S. champ and 2021 Olympian, is ranked No. 8 in the world this year and No. 1 among Americans with his lifetime-best 287-9 throw at the American JavFest in East Stroudsburg last month. He’s also No. 3 in U.S. history.

This was Thompson’s final meet until the spring.

Here’s a look at all of Thompson’s lifetime 260-foot throws:
287- 9 … American JavFest, East Stroudsburg [Pa.] South High School, July 9, 2022
276-4 … NACAC, Freeport Stadium, Grand Bahamas, Bahamas, Aug. 20, 2022
274-11 … Athletissima, La Pontaise, Lausanne, Switzerland, Aug. 26, 2022
273- 4 … American JavFest, East Stroudsburg [Pa.] South High School, July 9, 2022
271-11… Olympic Trials, Hayward Field, Eugene, July 4, 2016
271-10 … Spitzen Leichtathletik, Luzern, Switzerland, Aug. 30, 2022
271- 7 … Olympic Trials, Hayward Field, Eugene, June 21, 2021
270- 3 … Kamila Skolimowska Memorial Invitational, Silesian Stadium, Chorzów, Poland, Aug. 6, 2022
269- 7 … American JavFest, East Stroudsburg [Pa.] South High School, July 9, 2022
269-4 … Weltklasse, Letzigrund, Zürich, Switzerland, Sept. 8, 2022
268- 1 … Oregon Relays, Hayward Field, Eugene, April 23, 2022
268- 1 … World Athletics Championships, Hayward Field, Eugene, July 21, 2022
267- 4 … World Athletics Championships, Hayward Field, Eugene, July 21, 2022
267- 2 … USATF Throws Festival, Roy P. Drachman Stadium, Tucson, Ariz., May 22, 2021
266- 5 … USATF Throws Festival, Roy P. Drachman Stadium, Tucson, Ariz., May 21, 2022
266-2 … Spitzen Leichtathletik, Luzern, Switzerland, Aug. 30, 2022
265-10 … American JavFest, East Stroudsburg [Pa.] South High School, July 17, 2021
265-10 … Florida State Relays, Mike Long Track, Tallahassee, Fla., March 25, 2016
265- 7 … Victoria Track Classic, Centennial Stadium, Victoria, British Columbia, June 15, 2022
264- 8 … USATF Throws Festival, Roy P. Drachman Stadium, Tucson, Ariz., May 21, 2022
264- 1 … USATF Championships, Hayward Field, Eugene, Ore., June 26, 2022
264-0 … Athletissima, La Pontaise, Lausanne, Switzerland, Aug. 26, 2022
263-10 … 94th annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, Mike A. Myers Stadium, Austin, Texas, March 25, 2022
262-3 … Spitzen Leichtathletik, Luzern, Switzerland, Aug. 30, 2022
261- 6 … Kamila Skolimowska Memorial Invitational, Silesian Stadium, Chorzów, Poland, Aug. 6, 2022
260-11 … American JavFest, East Stroudsburg [Pa.] South High School, July 30, 2016
260- 1 … NACAC Under-23, San Salvador, Estadio Jorge “Mágico” González, June 17, 2016
260-1 … NACAC, Freeport Stadium, Grand Bahamas, Bahamas, Aug. 20, 2022

Ocean City’s A.J. Sanford from Haverford School, Eastern’s Sophia Staiger, Highland’s Nia Holden shine at Bison Opener!!!!!

A.J. Sanford, a Lafayette sophomore and Ocean City native who ran high school track for the Haverford School, placed 6th Saturday in the Bucknell Bison Opener in Lewisburg, Pa.

Sanford ran 19:15 over the 6,000-meter course at Bucknell. He was Lafayette’s first finisher, crossing the line one second ahead of sophomore teammate Emil Arangala.

Sanford ran 1:57.64 for 800 meters in high school and lowered his 800 time to 1:56.58 as a Lafayette freshman last spring at a meet at Bucknell.

Bucknell won the team title 31-47 over Loyola of Maryland, with Lafayette 3rd with 68 points.

In the women’s race over 3,900 meters, Eastern graduate Sophia Staiger, a freshman at American University in Washington, opened her collegiate career with a top-20 finish.

Staiger covered the 3.9-kilometer course in 15:06 and placed 16th. She was American’s No. 3 finisher and the fourth freshman across the line.

Teammate Nia Holden, a junior from Highland, finished five seconds behind Staiger in 19th. Holden, mainly a middle-distance runner, ran 2:14.43 for 800 meters last spring at the Patriot Conference meet, also in Lewisburg.

Bucknell won the team title 21-57 with American 3rrd with 68 points.

 

In her first race in a year, Haddonfield’s Sarah Naticchia 3rd for Harvard in dual meet vs. Boston College!!!!!

Haddonfield’s Sarah Naticchia, a sophomore at Harvard, placed 3rd in a dual meet against Boston College Saturday.

The only results I was able to track down are kind of confusing – they show 10 women with the same time placing 2nd through 10th and there’s no indication how long the course was. But Naticchia placed 3rd behind teammates Makena Gates and Marianne Mihas in 20:44 for … who knows how long?

Harvard’s women’s XC web site doesn’t mention the race and actually doesn’t mention much of anything at all. The most recent women’s XC stories are from November.

Boston College’s women’s XC web site hasn’t been updated since March, so no help there either.

All I can tell you is what’s on the single page of results: The race was held at Chestnut Hill Reservoir, which is in Boston, and Harvard won 17-38.

But what’s really important is that Naticchia is healthy and racing again at a high level. She only raced once as a freshman and that was a cross country 3,000 last September at Franklin Park in Boston.

Naticchia ran 2:15.79, 4:54.25 and 10:33.85 at Haddonfield.