Haddonfield Distance Night was filled with young talents and upper classmen distance runners looking to tune up before a highly anticipated postseason.
The boy's freshman 800m would start things off with Winslow's Dominic Bassey winning the event in 2:03.10. Despite not setting a new personal record, Bassey's performance and prowess in the 800m at such a young age is worth noting, and could be a force in New Jersey for the next few years to come. Bassey currently ranks 3rd in New Jersey when compared among freshmen 800m runners.
Penn Charter showed off their promising freshman runners in the boy's freshman 1600m, where T.J. Zwall and Nate Johnson finished first and second in the event (Zwall ran 4:40.25; Johnson ran 4:41.88), both running their way into the top 30 freshman boy's 1600m runners in Pennsylvania. Zwall and Johnson also finished second and fourth in the freshman 800m race.
Penn Charter continued to succeed in the 800m races, but this time, it was Julia Dolce who won the girl's 800m. Dolce would end her season with a new season best, and break the 2:20 barrier once more with a time of 2:19.44.
On the varsity boy's side, Cherokee's Conor Jacob claimed first place in the 800m with a new personal best of 1:55.93, cementing himself into NJ top 25 territory heading into the postseason. Cherokee's 800m runners were sprawled all throughout the top times of the night, finishing first, fifth and 15th, all breaking the 2-minute barrier. Jacob feels that he and his team have a fair chance at winning the NJ Group 4 State Championship in the 4x800m.
When asked about his focus in the 4x800m relay during the postseason, Jacob said: "Yes we're definitely trying to at states this year. Maybe win it all if our team stays healthy." Jacob and the rest of Cherokee's 4x800m relay crew have high ambitions for postseason success, as they are looking to challenge national powerhouse Ridge High School in the near future.
In the girl's section of the 1600m, Highland Regional's Grace Wassell came out on top in just her 4th race of the season, finishing with a new season best. The Highland sophomore remained patient throughout the race, as she was in second place for the entirety of the first three laps behind Germantown Friends School's Anna Macdonald. Patience paid off for Wassell when she executed a quality kick during the bell lap, which was her fastest lap of the night. Despite coming off injury after the indoor season, Wassell will be looking to make a strong run into this year's postseason.
Haddonfield's Seth Clevenger was in his own race in the boys 1600m, finishing with a time of 4:11.98: almost nine seconds in front of the second place finisher. Clevenger clearly had something to prove, coming through in a blistering 59-second first lap. When asked about his goal in mind, Clevenger mentioned his desire to stay in a consistent rhythm going into the postseason.
Not to mention, there was also a Haddonfield school record on the line. "Today was more about staying in a good rhythm and having good momentum going into the championship season. I did want to get my school record, which was 4:09 [Colin Baker's 4:09.30]". Haddonfield's senior superstar also confirmed he would be running the 1600 and the 3200 during sectionals at Delsea Regional High School: Colin Baker's school record is not safe just yet.
To top off the meet, the mixed 3200m races would see Mainland Regional High School's Linden Wineland win the boy's merge, clocking in at 9:49.51 and Kent Place School's Lindsay Hausman winning the girl's merge in 10:37.86: just three seconds off her personal best time of 10:34.97. Hausman remains locked in at the No. 4 spot in NJ's top girl's 3200m runners, where she looks to make a deep run into the postseason.
Haddonfield Distance Night served as a quality opportunity for young talented distance runners looking to build momentum on their bright futures in running. While many young runners showcased their potential, the meet also showcased some of the best runners in New Jersey looking to run a tune-up race to prepare for a long and unpredictable postseason.