Cherokee Girls Blast US#1 Time At SJ Meet


Look out for the Cherokee girls, who dropped a US#1 time in the DMR and ran a NJ#1 in the 4x400-meter relay to highlight action at Wednesday's South Jersey Winter Track Invitational at the Bennett Center in Toms River. 

In the DMR, Cherokee took over the No. 1 spot in the US this season with its winning time of 12:30.94, No. 4 in school history, and the Chiefs also jumped to the top of the state rankings by capturing the 4x400 in 4:10.94.

The Millville girls also lit up the track with its NJ No. 3 shuttle hurdle victory in 37.36! Tanyha Smith, Nia Watts, Amiyah Goolsby, and Leah Ellis combined on the victory. Ellis also cleared a meet-best 4-10 in the girls HJ.  

Senior Nicole Clifford, junior Kelsey Niglio, and sophomore Kerry O'Day, who helped spark Cherokee to its first NJ Meet of Champions and Northeast Regional XC titles last month, ran on both winning relays for the Chiefs.

Clifford led off the DMR with a school record 1,200 split of 3:40.6, and anchored the 4x400 with a 62.2. Kelsey Niglio went 2:21.3 in the DMR (the 5th fastest split in school history), and went 61.7 in the 4x400. O'Day anchored the DMR with a 5:24.3 carry (No. 6 in school history), and ran 65.1 on the 4x400. Megan Niglio ran the 400 leg on the DMR (64.70, and Bucknell-bound Alison Cooke split 61.2 on the 4x400.

With all the firepower on this squad, Cherokee should destroy the DMR school record (12:26.8 in 2004) when it gets into faster races on faster tracks later this season. Stay tuned!!!   

Megan Niglio, another member of the NJ#1 ranked XC team, made a record-breaking debut in the 3,200 by placing fourth in 11:43.85, smashing Cherokee's freshman indoor record of 11:49.81 set in 2017 by Kate Rathman.     

Cherry Hill East senior Dillon Page, the Meet of Champions winner in the high jump last spring, won the HJ by clearing 6-4, which equals the mark in the state this season.   

The Pennsauken boys also shined by showing off their great range. The Indians won both the 4x200 in a NJ#5 1:34.29, and the 4x400 in a NJ#4 3:33.78, and placed second in the 4x800 and third in the DMR. The electrifying Bryce Tucker, who won the 400 hurdles at the Meet of Champions as a sophomore last June, led off the 4x400 for Pennsauken, with a 50.0 carry, and junior Joel Oquendo ran 3:16.0 on the leadoff leg of the DMR for the Indians. 

In the boys pole vault, our second 15-0 or more clearance of the season took place courtesy of Noah Kriesman of Cherry Hill East, winning with a huge PR and school record of 15-0! Kriesman, who is now NJ No. 2 in the PV, shattered the 50-year-old school record of 14-6 that had stood since 1971    

*Revised the ranking of the Millville shuttle hurdle to NJ No. 3.