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Julia Trethaway knew the race could be much different, but she also realized she needed to stick with what works best for her.
So when Alexa Westley of Warren Hills let her grab the lead and control the pace in Saturday's Group 3 3,200-meter showdown, she was ready.
"It was the exact opposite of what happened last week at sectionals when Alexa took the lead and pushed it for the first 1,600,'' said Trethaway, a junior at West Morris. "But I was prepared for that and kept thinking that I would make a strong move at the halfway point like I did last week and push it.''
Trethaway's big surge just past the 1,600 mark, which she hit in 5:11.5, enabled her to open a gap on Westley and she kept pounding over the final four laps, stopping the clock with an Group 3 Record of 10:24.13 at Central Regional in Bayville. Westley, who has won the last two 3,200 titles at the Meet of Champions, was second in 10:29.33.
Trethaway's 10:24.13 broke the Group 3 record of 10:25.57 set in 2014 by Josette Norris of Tenafly, and is the second fastest time ever run in all the Groups combined
Abby Loveys of Randolph, the state record holder in the 3,200 (10:10.24) won the Group 4 race on Saturday in 10:22.41 to break the All Groups record of 10:24.61 set in 2012 by Megan Lacy of Cherokee.
Last week, Trethway ran a Sectional Record (all Groups combined) and PR of 10:19.37 to defeat Westley in North Jersey, Sec. 2 meet.
"The race didn't go out as fast as last week (5:08 last week), but I knew we'd still run really fast because Alexa is a great runner who always pushes me to run my best,'' said Trethaway, who won the indoor M of C 3,200 title this past winter. "I knew I'd have to run at least this fast to win.''
As for the record, Trethaway said she was aware of what it was.
"I knew the record was around 10:25, so it was nice to just get under that,'' said Trethaway. "It means alot to me, and I'm just thankful for the season I am having.' I've been healthy and have had great training and that's all helped me have my best season.''
At the Meet of Champions next Saturday at Northern Burlington, the 3,200 should be another great battle between Trethaway and Westley.
Loveys, who ran her state record 10:10.24 in the 3,200 when Trethaway was second at the Morris County Championships last month, is expected to skip the 3,200 at the M of C and focus on defending her 1,600 title.
Trethaway said winning the M of C 3,200 next week would be a dream come true, but she knows it's going to be another tough challenge from Westley.
"I'll have to at my best again,'' said Trethaway. "There's so much great competition in New Jersey, so winning next week at Meet of Champions would mean the world to me.''