Varsity Classic: Rayan US No.1, Houghton Stars, Hot DMRs

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Several of New Jersey's top athletes and teams threw down red hot performances at the Varsity Classic on Monday night at the New York Armory.

Nate Rayan of Scotch Plains-Fanwood, one of the state's biggest breakout stars this season, dropped the biggest bomb of the meet when the senior burned a US No. 1 time of 7.30 to win the boys 55-meter hurdles. And he did it without blocks!!!

Boys State Leaders | Girls State Leaders

The 7.30 by Rayans, a big drop from his previous PR of 7.43 at the NJ Sec 2 Group 3 meet last Saturday, is No. 13 all-time in NJ history, and it knocked senior Charles Wall-Davis of Nansemond River of Virginia from the top of the national leaderboard. Wall-Davis ran 7.35 at the Virginia Showcase last month, which is now US No. 2.

The improvement that Rayan has made since last year is nothing short of remarkable.

Rayan come into this season with a 55 HH PR of 7.94 and last spring, his fastest time in the 110 HH was 15.05. Now he's the No. 1 ranked high school hurdler in the country!! That's simply amazing!!!!

There were plenty of other big NJ highlights as multiple NJ No. 1 marks were achieved.

Pingry sophomore Graham Houghton was the biggest winner of the meet with three victories and three PR's!!! Houghton won the 200 in 22.29, the 55 dash in 6.51, and the long jump with a leap of 22-7.

Junior Jason Meza of Morristown took over the state lead with his winning time and PR of 48.20 in the boys 400.

Both distance medley relays produced sizzling times.

In the boys DMR, Westfield finished second in school record 10:14.02, which is NJ No. 2 and US No. 5, and Christian Brothers Academy was third in a NJ No. 3/US No. 7 10:15.52. The times qualify Westfield and CBA for nationals and the Penn Relays.

Westfield's 10:14.02 broke the school all-conditions record of 10:14.08 set in 1995 when the Blue Devils won the DMR at the Penn Relays!

PHOTOS: Varsity Classic Album By Tom Smith

For Westfield, junior Tage Mehta (3:08.85) senior Joseph Pierro (50.65), senior Jonathan Scalia (1:58.56) and junior Avery Keith 4:15.45 shared the baton. CBA countered with junior Jack Falkowski (3:07.38), senior Aidan MacManus (50.77), junior Conor Clifford (1:59.30), and senior Nicholas Sullivan (4:18.80).

The girls DMR featured a smoking fast runner--up finish by Rumson, which clocked a NJ No. 1/US No. 4 time of 12:18.17, which crushed its school record by six seconds and qualified the Bulldogs for the National Championships and the Penn Relays. 

Rumson's legs were handled by senior Julia Shanes (3:45.45),  senior Megan Burns (59.98), sophomore Clemmie Lilley (2:18.09), and senior Sarah Butler (5:14.66).

Seton Hall Prep took over the state lead in the boys 4x4800 as the Pirates ran a US No. 9 time of 7:57.37 to finish first. Summit was second in a NJ No. 2 7:58.84, and Westfield was third in a NJ No. 3 8:01.96. Junior Brandon Williams  (2:04.39), senior Ryan Matulonis (1:56.41), senior Nick DeVita (1:57.66), and senior Russell Webb (1:58.88) handled the baton for Seton Hall Prep, who now owns the state's top times in the 4x800, 4x400 (3:0.36), and the SMR (3:37.17).

Junior Emma Zawatski of Freehold Township, just two days after her State Junior Class record and NJ No. 1/ US No. 7 4:48.71 mile in Boston, ran a NJ No. 1 time of 2:13.12 to place second in the girls 800.

Samantha Strydesky of Howell, the state leader in the high jump, matched her PR of 5-8 to finish first.

South Brunswick senior Damarion Potts cleared 6-6 to win the boys HJ, which ties him for NJ No. 1 this season.


  • Freshman Delaney Farley of Scotch Plains-Fanwood ran a PR of 7.28 to win the girls 55 dash
  • Rahway had a big meet with four individual champions.
  • In the girls competition, Rahway senior Nyjae Shipley ran a PR of 25.28 to capture the girls 200, and won the 55 hurdles in 8.37, and junior Saniyah Evans soared 17-9.50 to win the girls long jump. On the boys side for Rahway, Damani Brown ripped a PR of 1:57.09 to win the boys 800
  • River Dell won the girls 4x800 in 9:46.79. Junior Christina Allen led off in 2:15.69
  • Junior Ayanna Chape of Hackensack finished first in the girls 400 in 58.74
  • River Dell senior Emily Turschmann won the girls TJ with a 36-7.25
  • Joshua Yoon of Cresskill went 44-7.25 to capture the boys TJ
  • In the shot put, juniors Lokaditya Hariharan of Ridge (50-2) and junior Meghan Kreinberg of Dayton (37-2.25) finished first   
  • Senior David McKinnon of North Hunterdon captured the boys 1,600 in 4:27.67
  • Pingry Junior Olivia Murray ran 5:10.09 to win the girls 1,600
  • East Orange Campus won the boys 4x400 in 3:25.48
  • North Hunterdon crossed first to win the girls 4x400 in 4:05.69
  • Senior Matthew Aono of Ridgewood cleared a PR of 14-6 to win the boys pole vault