Ridge Wins 4x800 To Complete Historic Double At NB Nationals

Holy smokes!!!

The Ridge boys burned up the track again on Sunday by winning the 4x800-meter relay to complete a stunning and historic double at the New Balance National Championships at the Armory in New York. 

Two days after they took down the national record in the DMR on Friday night, junior Patrick Doran, and seniors Andrew McCabe, Jackson Barna and James Kisker dropped another bomb, this time stopping the clock at 7:42.89 to put an exclamation point on one of the greatest relay doubles in NJ and US history.

Ridge's 7:42.89 is the fastest time in the nation this season, No. 15 in U.S. history, and No. 3 in NJ indoor history. Only CBA (7:41.53 in 2012) and St. Benedict's Prep (7:42.53 in 2019) have run faster indoors in NJ history. 

Ridge is just the second team in US history to run under 10 minutes in the DMR and under 7:44 in the 4x800 in the same indoor season. Loudoun Valley of Virginia did it 2019 when they ran 9:54.41 in the DMR and 7:40.49 in the 4x800.

Unlike its electrifying DMR victory, there was no drama in the 4x800 as Ridge just overpowered the field to win by nearly seven seconds over runner-up West Springfield of Virginia, second in 7:49.55.   

Doran led off for Ridge with a strong 1:57.64 carry and handed off to McCabe in third place. McCabe put Ridge slightly ahead  with a clutch 1:54.94 second leg. Then Barna completely blew the race apart on the third leg when he dropped a 1:52.98!! It was pretty much game over right there as Barna gave the stick to Kisker with a huge seven plus second lead. Kisker refused to let anyone get close to him as he finished off Ridge's masterful performance with a 1:57.33 anchor split.  

The 1:52.98 by Barna, who earlier in the day ran 4:06.93 to place eighth in the mile, was the fastest split of the meet. 

Let's rewind back to Friday night when Ridge won an epic DMR clash with Union Catholic by running 9:53.40 to break the national record!!!! The former record was the 9:54.41 set in 2019 when Loudoun Valley won the New Balance National title. Union Catholic was second to Ridge in 9:55.12, No. 3 in U.S. history.

In that race, McCabe hammered out a 3:03.52 for 1,200, Doran split 51.42 on his 400 carry, Kisker went 1:54.96 on the 800 leg as he rallied to give Ridge a small lead. Then Barna blasted a smoking hot 4:03.71 anchor to nail down the heart-pounding victory. When the time flashed up on the board it ignited a wild celebration as the Ridge boys jumped up and down in total jubilation.

Every once in a while a special group of runners comes around at the same time and accomplishes things together that have never been done before, and they carve out a place for themselves in track and field history that will last forever. What Doran, McCabe, Barna and Kisker did over the weekend in New York earns them a special place in NJ T&F lore. Their names will never be forgotten, and what they did may never be duplicated.  

Ridge coach Nicole Gilhuley was blown away by what Doran, McCabe, Barna, and Kisker did, as was everyone else who saw what these four studs pulled off.    

"I'm so unbelievably proud of these boys,'' said Gilhuley. "We came in a big underdogs in the distance medley relay and knew that it would be a tough win. They ran phenomenal, and couldn't have asked for better. Last spring, we tried for the DMR 4x800 double win at Nationals and fell just short in the DMR. So coming back on Sunday and winning the 4x800 was a huge goal. We knew we would have to run well to do it. Jackson was especially determined after his mile and wanted to show how fast he really is. He said, "I'm ready for the 4x800'' immediately after finishing. He dropped a 1:52.89 as his third event of the weekend. It was a lifetime PR from Patrick, Andrew and Jackson, and James Kisker secured the win! James had a big indoor PR in the DMR. We didn't have a perfect season, but these boys are all so talented on their own that when they come together, I'm not surprised history was made. I'm extremely lucky to have a group of kids like them, they buy into everything and want to win relays for each other.''

Now the million dollar question is which race will Ridge choose to run at the Penn Relays next month??

Gilhuley said that has yet to be determined.

Stay tuned!!!