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There should plenty of fireworks in the distance races as three national champions, Luis Peralta of Passaic, Sean Dolan of Hopewell Valley, and Devin Hart of Point Pleasant Boro, aim to out with a bang in their finals races on NJ soil.
In the 800, defending champion Peralta, the New Balance National champion in the 800 last spring, could make a run at the meet record of 1:48.52 set in 2014 by Ishmael Muhammad of Oakcrest. Peralta ran a PR of 1:49.10 when he captured the NB National title.
Peralta will have to run fast to keep his title because of the presence of Ryan Lindrud of Ridge. At the State Group 4 meet last week, Peralta ran 1:51.29 to edge Ryan Lindrud of Ridge, who was second with a big PR of 1:51.81.
In the 1,600, the Villanova-bound Dolan, the New Balance National champ in the mile last June, is the pick to win his first individual M of C title after placing second in the 800 last year.
Dolan, who owns a mile PR of 4:08.86, will skip the 800 this year and is more than capable of making a run at the meet record 4:07.31 set in 2012 by Chris Marco of Toms River South
Dolan is coming off a sparkling triple in Group 3.
He repeated champion in the 1,600 by running 4:10.76, and came to run a Group 3 record and PR of 1:50.53 to win his second straight 800, and then split 49.1 on the fifth-place 4x400 relay team. Dolan's 4:10.76 and 1:50.53 are both NJ#1 times this season.
Check out these stats on Dolan- when ran a NJ#2 9:02.66 3,200 at the Holmdel Twilight Meet last month, Dolan became just the second runner in state history to run under 9:05 for 3,200, under 4:10 for the mile (his PR is 4:08.86), and under 1:51 in the 800. The other NJ runner who did? The legendary Edward Cheserek of St. Benedict's Prep, who graduated in 2013.
Dolan is also one of just six runners in NJ history go under 4:09 for the mile and under 1:51 in the 800 in his high school career. Robby Andrews of Manalapan, Cheserek, Roger Jones of Ramsey, John Carlotti of Bernards, and Ben Malone of Pascack Valley are the other five.
Can anyone beat Dolan?
I don't think so!
But Georgetown-bound Tim McInerney of CBA, second last year, is as tough as they come and he will come ready to race and leave it all on the track.
McInerney is attempting to extend Monmouth County's streak to five straight 1,600 titles. To take it one step further, Monmouth County has finished 1-2 in the 1,600 three years in a row and has had a top three finisher seven straight years.
McInerney won his second straight titles in the Non-Public A 800 and 1,600 last week, and has 1,600 PR of 4:10.37.
Also in the race are Group 4 champion Gavin Richards of North Hunterdon (4:12.42), and possibly Ryan Lindrud of Ridge (4:12.95 ). Lindrud has also qualified in the 800, so it remains to be seen exactly what he''ll do.
As for the 3,200, the Stanford-bound Hart, the New Balance National 2-mile champ this past winter, will try to become just the second boy to ever win three straight titles. Murad Campbell of Overbrook did three-peat from 1997-99. Hart is also seeking to raise his career total of M of C titles to six. He has won two in XC, one indoors/two outdoors),
Hart, coming off his third straight Group 2 3200m title in 9:04.57 to break his own Group 2 record, has a PR of 8:53.46 for two miles and has run a NJ#1 9:01.90 3,200 this season.
Hart will clash with a loaded field that includes Group 3 winner Jack Stanley of Mendham (PR of 9:05.76), Non-Public A winner Connor Melko of Bishop Eustace (PR of 9:06.52), and Group 3 runner-up Liam Murphy of Allentown (NJ#3 9:04.43 this season).
Hart edged Stanley by an eyelash in a epic battle at the XC M of C last fall, and Murphy upset Hart to win the best indoor 3,200 in NJ history at the Meet of Champions in February, 8:54.22 to 8:54.45. Hart avenged the defeat to Murphy when he won the NB National Indoor 2-mile title.