Ever since Ramy Berberena placed sixth at the Meet of Champions in the 400-meter hurdles last year, he's been fueled by that finish to come back and win it all.
Berberena is the first boys champ from North Brunswick since Russ Nuzzo won the long jump and Raul Mistry in the 100m dash.
"I've wanted this so bad since I got a taste of this race last year,'' said Berberena, whose PR last year was 54.31 at the M of C. "I've been working really hard all season to be the best in the state, and I wasn't going to come here and come up short. It's a dream come true to be a Meet of Champions winner.
The race was the third meeting in as many weeks between Berberena and Lawrence.
Lawrence won the sectional match-up, 54.06 to 54.29, and Berberena won the rematch at the State Group 4 meet last week, 52.10 to 52.12, the top two times in the state this season and No. 4 and No. 5 in the nation.
"Felix is a great hurdler and I learned after that sectional race that I had to be at my beat to beat him,'' said Berberena. "I always finish my races strong, so I knew I had to get out faster when I raced him last week and today. Today, I was behind again, but I wasn't concerned because I know I'm going to close fast. When I came off the last hurdle today, I just told myself I came too far to not win and I just gave it all I had. Winning this is the best feeling ever, and I hope to come back next year and win it again.''