Naylah Jones Epic Double Leads Flurry Of Red Hot NJ Times

Holy smokes!!!!!!

What a weekend!!! 

While half the public school teams in New Jersey clashed in some epic battles for sectional titles at the Bennett Center in Toms River over the last few days, several other athletes from around the state headed across the border and produced a flurry of record breaking times and all-time great performances during a frenetic, sizzling, and action-packed weekend!!!

The biggest bomb of all was ignited by Yashahya Brown of Washington, who took down the state record in the boys 55-meter hurdles when he ran 7.06 to win the South Jersey, Group 4 title. Read all about it and watch the race here.

If you're looking for results, race videos and photos from all four State Groups and 1 and 4 Sectionals Championships, they are all right here. More highlights from each meet will be coming. 

While you're waiting on those, let's dive into some of the remarkable performances that some of NJ's finest turned in over the last two days in New York.

We have to start out with the ridiculous sprint double by Naylah Jones of Timber Creek, who left a lot of smoke on the track at Sunday's Ocean Breeze Invitational on Staten Island. 

Jones, who won the 100 dash as a junior at the Meet of Champions last spring, became just the third girl in state history to go under 6.95 in the 55 dash and under 24.20 in the 200 in electrifying and mind-blowing fashion! 

After running 6.94 in the 55 trials, Jones burned a NJ No. 8 all-time tying 6.93 to win the final. She came back later to blast a scorching 24.15, No. 5 in NJ history, in the 200!!!!  I told you it was ridiculous!!

Jones joined all-time greats Wendy Vereen of Trenton (6.79 and a state record 23.84 in 1984) and Aleah Williams of Montclair (6.87 in 1998 and 24.16 in '97) as the only girls in NJ history to go sub 6.95 and sub 24.20!!!! That's some fast company!!!

Vereen, also pulled off her amazing double at the same meet - the 1984 TAC ( The Athletic Congress) Championships at Madison Square Garden.     
The 6.93 by Jones is not only the top time in NJ this season, it's also tied for No. 8 in the country this winter, and is the fastest time run by a NJ girl since Myasia Jacobs of Paramus Catholic ran 6.84 to finish first at the 2011 Eastern States Championships at the NY Armory.


On Saturday, Joe Barrett and Rhia Randolph took center stage.

At the Rutgers Scarlet Knights Open at the NY Armory, Barrett, a junior at CBA who was running unattached in a race filled with college runners, threw down an 8:14.09 3K!!!! That's No. 2 in NJ indoor history (only Edward Cheserek has run faster), and it's No. 2 in the nation this season. Read the full story here.

Later that night at the Purple Champions Invit. at the NY Armory, Randolph of Union Catholic broke her second state freshman record when she won the 400 in 55.92. That broke the mark of 55.94 set by Samantha Anderson of Matawan at the 2014 Eastern States Championships on the same track. Randolph's time is also NJ No. 2 this season and is tied for No. 2 in the U.S. among freshmen. Last month, Randolph ran a state freshman record 24.44 to win the Union County title. 

On Sunday, the spotlight shined Paige Sheppard at the Ocean Breeze Invitational on Staten Island. 

Sheppard, a freshman at Union Catholic, broke her second state freshman record of the season already when she placed third in the 800 in 2:09.79. That broke the NJ freshman record of 2:10.45 that legendary Olympian Ajee' Wilson of Neptune set when she finished first at the 2009 Meet of Champions.   

The 2:09.79 by Sheppard is also No. 10 in NJ indoor history, the 8th fastest time ever run by a freshman indoors in U.S. history, and it's the No. 4 time in the country this season. 

Sheppard ran a 4:50.19 1,600 last Sunday at the NJCTC Championships on the same track, which shattered the state freshman record.

In case you are wondering, the national freshman record in the 800 is 2:03.98 set in 2020 by Sophia Gorriaran of Moses Brown School in Rhode Island. Gorriaran is currently a freshman at Harvard.