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When the Greater Middlesex Conference Championships began in 1951, Highland Park's distance runners dominated the boys 1600-meter run.
Highland Park captured six of the first 10 1600m boys titles at the GMC Championships, but after Dan Vasey won the 1600 in 1960, that was the end of Highland Park's great run and the start of a long drought.
But that dry spell finally came to an end on Tuesday when senior Joe Cranley became Highland Park's first 1600 winner in 59 years when he won the four-lapper with a personal best and NJ#12 4:18.25 on Day One of the GMC Championships at Carl Sandburg Middle School in Old Bridge.
That's not all.
Cranley's 4:18.25 is the third fastest time in meet history behind the meet record 4:15.8 run by Bill Lee of East Brunswick in 1982, and the 4:17.2 by Mike Szostak of Colonia in 1975. Cranley's 4:18.25 is also the second fastest time among Group 1 runners in the state this season.
Cranley, who won the 800m at the Central Jersey, Group 1 Championships this past winter and was second in the GMC 1600m last year, sliced nearly two seconds off his previous PR of 4:20.04 that he ran to place eighth at the Indoor Meet of Champions this past winter.
GMC Day 1 MileSplit National Elites
14 performances met the MileSplit US Second Team standard.
|1600 Meter Run Finals||5:07.44||Nikhila Obbineni||South Brunswick HS|
|1600 Meter Run Finals||5:10.01||Bella Godish||Highland Park HS|
|1600 Meter Run Finals||5:14.15||Caroline Schleif||Metuchen HS|
|400 Meter Hurdles Finals||1:02.21||Adelaide Asante||North Brunswick HS|
|400 Meter Hurdles Finals||1:03.60||Trinity Eason||Woodbridge HS|
|400 Meter Dash Finals||56.15||Shauntae Nelson||Piscataway Twp HS|
|400 Meter Dash Finals||57.24||Rebecca Ochan||Highland Park HS|
|1600 Meter Run Finals||4:18.25||Joseph Cranley||Highland Park HS|
|1600 Meter Run Finals||4:22.28||Reyden Davies||East Brunswick HS|
|1600 Meter Run Finals||4:23.97||Timothy Purcell||Old Bridge HS|
|1600 Meter Run Finals||4:24.18||Charles Harvey||Old Bridge HS|
|400 Meter Hurdles Finals||55.46||Ramy Berberena||North Brunswick HS|
|400 Meter Dash Finals||48.73||Ramy Berberena||North Brunswick HS|
|400 Meter Dash Finals||49.09||Nicholas Medeiros||Old Bridge HS|