Jackson Barna clocked an Ocean County Park course record of 14:41 on Friday, leading an impressive meet of early season performances during a soggy Battle at OCP Invitational.
By the end of the race Barna had gapped the field by 58 seconds and removed Mike McClemens' 14:43 from atop the all-time course rankings. McClemens had held the record since 2013 when he won an incredibly quick Shore Conference Championships that saw four boys under 15 minutes.
What's more impressive here is the long history of great runners Barna passed: the likes of McClemens, Devin Hart, Dylan Tarpey, Blaise Ferro, Liam Murphy, and more! So many talented individuals and state champs have run through this course over the years.
Union Catholic's Shane Brosnan, 15:39, and Myle Plummer, 15:43 ran to second and third. In all eight boys broke 16 minutes, adding in Christian Savage, James Kisker, Andrew McCabe, Patrick Ditmars (the junior race winner), and Rowan Cassidy.
If you had attended the Cherokee Challenge the weekend prior you'd think you were watching a rerun the first half of the meet.
Liliah Gordon of Northern Burlington started us off winning the girls freshman 3200m running 12:12. Taysaun Wilson of Toms River North won another gutsy finish leading the boys frosh at 11:13. Both Cherokee Challenge winners.
The 5K sophomore races saw familiar faces as well, Olivia Parkinson, 18:57, and Nick Kuenkel, 16:13, both of Cherokee and both class race winners at the Challenge as well. Parkinson had a great comeback from third the latter half of this race.
Rain had started falling pretty well during the sophomore boys event.
The junior race is where we finally saw a different winner with Lily Oliver of Toms River South. She opened her season with an 18:33 setting a big course PR, she'll be back here later on for local championships.
The boys junior winner was Patrick Ditmars of Cherokee, who we spoke to after his week 1 win. The junior clocked 15:54 to bring home the gold on Friday.
The senior girls race saw another Cherokee winner, Nikki Clifford who set the fastest time of the girls meet with an 18:30.
Looking at the meet merge NJ No. 1 Ridge led the boys meet handily with 65.5 points and a 15:55 average. No. 7 Cherokee making up second with 100.5 in the combined unofficial scoring, No. 16 Manalapan third.
On the girls side NJ No. 3 Middletown South came out ahead in the combined results 77 to 85 over No. 5 Cherokee, both teams averaging in the 19:30s. No. 11 Rumson-Fair Haven scored in third for the merge.
You can check out the full merges below.