UC's Wischusen Goes Sub-9, Takes Over State Lead In 3200m


Jimmy Wischusen was racing the clock, and time was running out.

So the sophomore at Union Catholic, who had just made a huge move with 800 meters left to take a commanding lead,  revved up his big engine over the final two laps as he hunted down a sub 9 in the 3,200 at the Westfield Twilight Meet on Wednesday night at Gary Kehler Stadium.

After a 66.2 penultimate lap, Wischusen made sure he got what he came for by squaring up and unleashing his wicked wheels as he burned a 62.22 final 400 to freeze the numbers on the clock at 8:59.63!!!! That's the fastest time in the state this season, and is tied for the second fastest time in state history by a sophomore. Wischusen is the 21st runner in state history to go under nine outdoors in the 3,200/2-mile.  

Wischusen's 8:59.63 puts him in a virtual tie for second on the all-time state sophomore list with the great Jason DiJoseph of Paul VI, who ran 8:59.6 (hand time) to win the 3,200 at the 1987 Meet of Champions. The only sophomore to ever run faster than Wischusen is the legendary Edward Cheserek of St. Benedict's Prep, who ran 8:53.65 as a soph. at the 2011 Essex County Championships at Woodman Field in Montclair.

Wischusen led five underclassmen under 9:20 in the talented field.

Junior Collin Boler of Delbarton, who shared pace setting duties for much of the race, was second with a PR of 9:12.63. CBA junior Nicholas Sullivan was third in 9:16.61, CBA's Joe Barrett was fourth in 9:18.43, the sixth fastest time in state history for a freshman, and junior Brian Boler of Delbarton placed fifth in 9:18.49.

Wischusen's splits were 68.22, 66.81 (2:15.03), 68.83 (3:23.87), 69.17 4:33.04, 70.73 (5:43.78), 67.22 (6:51.00), 66.41 (7:57.41), and 62.22 (8:59.63). So he ran 4:26.59 for his final 1,600 and 2:08.63 for his final 800!! 

At the start of the bell lap, Wischusen took a look at the clock.

"I knew I had to go 62 to get under nine, so I just squared up and went after it,'' said Wischusen. "I had a good feeling I could do it because we had a workout the other day that I finished with repeat quarters and I was hitting 62's.''

After he ran 9:07.99 to break the meet record to win the 3,200 at the Union County Championships last Wednesday, Wischusen said he felt he was fit enough to run much faster.

"I felt like I had more in me after the county race,'' said Wischusen. "So I was looking to push myself harder today and get under nine, and it feels great to get a time like this.''

Some of the runners that Wischusen passed on the state's all-time sophomore list include Joe Rosa of West Windsor-Plainsboro North, and Craig Forys of Colts Neck, two of NJ's all-time greats who both won national two-mile titles in high school. Rosa, who ran 9:02.38 for 3,200 as a soph, still holds the state two-mile record of 8:44.06, which he ran as a junior ran in 2010. Forys, who ran 9:07.38 for two-miles as a soph., ran 8:44.53 as a senior in 2007, the state record until Rosa broke it.

Wischusen has a tough time comprehending how far he's come since running 9:43.65 for 3,200 and 4:26.24 for the mile as a freshman last spring.

"I never would have believed a year ago that I'd be running these kinds of times and being on a list next to someone like Cheserek, who is the greatest high school and college distance runner of all-time,'' said Wischusen.

Top 10 Finishers Boys 3200m - Full Results