Alumni News: NJ Stars Making Presence Felt


It sure felt pretty awesome to dig through all the results over the weekend and see so many former NJ track and field/XC stars flourishing on both the college and professional levels.

From Coast to Coast, NJ alums were smashing PR's, hitting huge qualifying times, and throwing down sensational performances that served as a reminder of just how deep the talent pool in the Garden State is!

And during a time where there still isn't a whole lot of normal going on, it's strange, but also pretty cool to see XC and track and field meets happening at the same time.

Let's hit the rewind button and dive into some of the latest great stuff that Jersey athletes have accomplished.

ON THE TRAILS

A couple of all-time NJ greats from the Shore Conference, Blaise Ferro and Devin Hart, had great performances at the Battle Born Collegiate XC Challenge in Las Vegas.

Ferro, who graduated from CBA in 2016, was fifth overall and No. 3 on his team in 22:42.8 to help propel No. 2 ranked Northern Arizona to a 20-48 victory over No. 5 Stanford. Ferro, a redshirt senior, was the No. 4 man on Northern Arizona's National XC Championship team in 2018.

Hart, a redshirt freshman out of Point Pleasant Boro High, made an impressive XC debut in a Stanford singlet, running a very strong 23:24.4 over the 8K course to place third for the Cardinal and 10th overall.   

Georgetown junior Alyssa Aldridge, a two-time NJ XC MOCs winner at Mainland, was fifth runner for the Hoyas and 18th overall on the 5K layout in 17:41.1 to help Georgetown defeat Big East rival UConn on a tiebreaker at the Spider/Patriot Cross Country Classic in Mechanicsville, Virginia. Also for the Hoyas, freshman Julia Trethaway (West Morris High) finished 35th in 18:25.1.

Wisconsin sophomore Alexa Westley, the three-time MOCs winner in the 3,200 at Warren Hills High, earned all Big Ten honors when she ran 20:49.3 over 6K to finish 12th overall and No. 2 for the Badgers at the Big Ten XC Championships on Jan. 30 in Shelbyville, Indiana. Wisconsin placed sixth in the meet.


KEEPING TRACK

Unless you've been sleeping under a shot put circle for the last month, you know all about what Texas A&M freshman phenom Athing Mu of Trenton has been doing!

In case you somehow missed it (even if you didn't it certainly deserves to be repeated), Mu has been the talk of the track and field world with her string of remarkable record setting performances to start her collegiate career.

Mu has run 50.52 for 400m, a World Junior Record and No. 4 in NCAA history, 2:01.07 in the 800m, No. 5 in NCAA history, she blasted an NCAA record 1:25.80 in the 600m, and she split 50.03 on the Aggies 4x400m relay that ran an NCAA record 3:26.27! The Bowerman Award seems like its on a collision course with College Station.    

Several other NJ stars have turned a lot of heads with eye-popping performances!      

Villanova redshirt freshman Sean Dolan (Hopewell Valley Class of 2019) made a strong bid to go Sub 4 in his first ever mile as a collegian, placing fifth in 4:01.57 at Saturday's Camel City Invit. on the flat JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, N.C.  

Dolan's 4:01.57 converts to 3:58.53 on a banked track, which places him No. 18 on the NCAA Performance List, and he's No. 39 on the world list. Dolan's splits were 60.84, 2:0.75, and 3:02.19.

Also at the Camel City Invit., Brandon Tubby (Hillsborough High) split 4:03.27 to bring the University of North Carolina across the line third in the DMR  with a new school record 9:38.96, which converts to 9:31.20 on a banked track and is No. 6 in the country. Tubby has run 4:01.11 in the mile this season, No. 33 in the world this season.

Only 27 runners from NJ have gone Sub 4, but it seems like just a matter of time before Tubby and Dolan add their names to that prestigious list.  

Josette Norris, the 2013 NJ  MOCs 1600m champ as a junior at Tenafly, continued her red hot season with another great race at the Camel City meet,  placing second in the women's mile in 4:31.48, just off her PR.

Norris, the former All-American star at Georgetown who is now running for the Reebok Boston Track Club, ran her PR of 4:31.39, which is currently No. 5 in the world, to finish first at the Virginia Beach Invit. on Feb. 1. 

Norris, fourth at the 2019 NCAA championship in the 5K, is chasing Olympic Trials qualifying times  in 1500m and 10K.    

The 4:31.39 by Norris is seconds off the automatic qualifying time to qualify for the Olympic Trials in the 1,500. Her personal best in the 5K is 15:29.34, which she ran in July of 2019. The Trials standard is 15:20 or faster.

Oh, and in case you didn't already hear it-Norris is engaged to be married to NJ legend Robby Andrews, a 2016 Olympian. How fast are their kids going to be? Holy Smokes!

Richmond senior Brooke Fazio (Ridge High School) burned a 2:07.70 to place fifth in the elite women's 800m at Camel City.  That converts to 2:06.25, No. 16 on the NCAA list

Marielle Hall, a 2016 Olympian in the 10K and a graduate of Haddonfield High, hit the Olympic qualifier in the 10K on Saturday night at JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. 

Hall finished fifth in 31:21.78, more than three seconds under the Olympic standard of 31:25.

The top five times in the race represent the five fastest times in the world this season. Elise Cranny led the way with a World-Leading time of 30:47.42 

In her last 10K on the track, Hall ran a PR of 31:05.71 when she placed 8th at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, in September of 2018.  

BIG SHOTS

Josh Awotundewho starred at Delsea High (Class of 2013),  soared beyond the Olympic standard of 69-2.5 when he unloaded a 69-9.5, No. 9 in the world this season, to place third in the shot put at Sunday's American Track League meet at the Randall Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Awotunde, who also had a 69-6.75 in his very impressive series, narrowly missed his PR of 69-11 3/4, which he threw to win the 2018 SEC Indoor Championships. He went on place second at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships. 

Awotunde, who won the NJSIAA Meet of Champions shot put title in 2013, competed against a loaded field. The winner was World Indoor Record holder and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Ryan Crouser (71-11.5), and Payton Otterdahl (70-2.5) placed second.

Tennessee's Jordan West, a junior out of Rahway High who won multiple MOCs titles, improved his shot put PR by four centimeters with a heave of 19.73m (64-8.75) to place second at the Tiger Paw Invit. at Clemson on Feb. 12.. His performance leads all SEC shot putters this season by at least 40 centimeters, and ranks as the No. 8 mark in the country.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Luis Peraltaa three-time state champion in the 800m and the National Scholastic Outdoor Champ in 2018 for Passaic High, split 47.29 on the 400m leg for Oregon when the Ducks smashed the NCAA record and ran a World Indoor All-Time best 9:19.42 at the Razorback Invit. on Jan. 29.

Peralta, a sophomore, also dropped a 1:47.61 in the 800m, No. 5 in the country this season, to finish second at the Tyson Invit. at Arkansas on Feb. 12.dHigh Performance Team, smashed her PR by 35 seconds!! 

Billy Hill raced his way into the Rutgers record book two weeks ago with an electrifying performance at the Big Ten Invitational at the Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio.

Hill, a redshirt junior at Rutgers, shredded a 48-year-old school record when he threw down a 4:02.11 to place fourth in the mile on the 300-meter track, smashing the Rutgers indoor record of 4:05.9 that Ron Speirs ran at the Metropolitan Championships on Feb. 19 at Princeton University's Jadwin Gym.

Hill also came back later to add a PR of 1:51.53 to place eighth in the 800m to complete a sensational double. Hill, who starred at Franklin High School, shattered his mile PR of 4:07.76 that he ran at the David Hemerey Invitational at Boston University last February. Hill's high school PR for 1600m came when he placed fourth in 4:13.74 at the 2017 outdoor Meet of Champions.

Dana Giordano, who starred at Bernards High and Dartmouth University,, finished fourth in the 5K with a huge personal best 15:18.06 at The Track Meet in December in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. to qualify for the Olympic Trials. Giordano, who now runs professionally for the Boston Athletic Association High Performance Team, smashed her PR by 35 seconds!!