New Jersey Highlights From New Balance Nationals

Before we get all revved up for what promises to be a memorable outdoor season, let's hIt the rewind button and check out all the New Jersey highlights from the New Balance Nationals where the Garden State wrapped up its indoor season this past weekend with a bang in Boston!

NJ relay teams and athletes once again level up on the biggest stage and showed the rest of the country how loaded with talent this state is by capturing four national titles, breaking three state records, and producing several runner-up finishes and a boatload of All-Americans.


Of NJ's 4 champs, two boys relay teams finished on top in dramatic fashion, Westfield in the 4x800 and Morris Knolls in the SMR, while both girls champions were from powerhouse Union Catholic, and both came in state record-breaking fashion as Taylor Cox won the 60 hurdles in a blistering 8.11, and the UC SMR ripped a smoking hot 3:54.62!!

Let's look closer at the each NJ champion.   

Morris Knolls knew it had it had a loaded lineup that could contend for a top spot in the boys SMR, but it had a very difficult challenge.

Running out front with no one to chase in the second of the 12 sections, Morris Knolls had to drop a super fast time and just hope that no one could go faster in the faster heats.

That's exactly what happened as Knolls burned a 3:28.38, No. 6 in state history, and anxiously watched as no team was able to beat their time. Union Catholic came close in the final heat, running 3:29.15, No. 13 in state history, to place second overall and give NJ a 1-2 finish!

The lineup for Morris Knolls (they are pictured above in the middle) was Greg Palma and Elijah Bastos, who combined to run 45.74 for their 200 legs, Tyler Spillane (50.68 for 400), and then Schagelin, the NJ Meet of Champions 800 winner,  threw down a nasty 1:51.96!!!!

As for the Westfield boys, there was no way they weren't pulling out of Beantown without a national title!

After narrowly missing victory in the DMR on Friday, Westfield knew they had one more opportunity to grab glory in Sunday's 4x800-meter relay at The Track at New Balance in Boston.

And Westfield didn't let that chance slip away as the Blue Devils leveled up to win a thriller, stopping the clock at 7:46.46, No. 9 in NJ history, to edge runner-up the DC Cadets (7:56.83) and capture the gold.

Junior Kaleb Stoeckmann (1:59.92), senior Jimmy Gildea (1:57.08), junior Ryan Daly NJ (1:54.50), and senior Alexander Valencia (1:54.98) shared the baton for Westfield, which took the lead for good on Daly's leg.

Westfield electrifying victory in the 4x800 capped an remarkable weekend for the Blue Devils, who ran a NJ No. 3/US No. 11 all-time 10:01.92 to place second in the DMR two days earlier.

In the DMR, the Blue Devils received sensational legs from Valencia (3:06.78 for 1,600), senior Emanuel Gayanilo (50.00 for 400), Gildea (1:55.66 for 800), and senior Avery Keith followed with a big PR of 4:09.49.

And sandwiched in between those epic runs, Westfield finished ninth in the 4x400 in a school record 3:20.89.

With those three results, Westfield became the first team in NJ history to run under 10:02 in the DMR, under 7:46 in the 4x800, and under 3:21 in the 4x400 in the same indoor season!!!

Now, on to the girls.

Union Catholic, which produced a mind-boggling 16 All-Americans, pulled a serious flex move in the girls SMR by putting three teams in the top seven as all three ran times that are top 7 in state history!!! That's right, UC had 12 girls on three different SMR teams run three of the fastest seven times in NJ history!!! How crazy is that!!!

Junior Taylor Cox, junior Taylor Aska, freshman Rhia Randolph, and freshman Paige Sheppard combined to run 3:54.62 to give Union Catholic's the title, a new state record and the fifth fastest time in U.S. high school indoor history. UC also had a team finish third in the SMR in 3:59.99, No. 3 in state history, and 4:02.80, No. 7 in state history.

Cox and Aska combined to run 49.49 on their 200 legs, Randolph split 55.55 for 400, and Sheppard finished it off with a 2:09.60 carry as the Vikings destroyed the state record of 3:57.19, set by Columbia when it finished first at the 2014 New Balance National Championships at the New York Armory.

Union Catholic also broke the state record in the 4xmile when Emmy O'Hearn, Paige Sheppard, Cayleigh Kaiser, and Sophia Thompson combined to place fifth in 20:19.02.  

The final girls national title for NJ came from Cox, who completed the greatest season in NJ history by a girl in the hurdles when she dominated a great field to win in 8.11 to take down the meet and state record.

Cox, fifth in the HH at NBN last year, didn't just break any NJ record, she took down a record held by arguably the greatest high school female track and field in U.S. history, Sydney McLaughlin!!!! McLaughlin, the world record holder in the 400 hurdles and a two-time gold Olympic gold medalist, set the NJ record of 8.17 when she finished first as a sophomore at Union Catholic at the 2015 New Balance Nationals at the New York Armory.

Along with her NJ and meet record on Sunday, Cox's 8.11 also places her tied for No. 6 in U.S. high school history and is No. 3 all-time by a junior.

Cox finished the season with a perfect 7-0 record over the barriers, she broke 8.00 in all five of her races at 55 meters, and she ran under 8.30 in her two races at 60 meters. 

In addition to her state record breaking 8.11 on Sunday, Cox also broke McLaughlin's meet record when she won her second straight NJ Meet of Champions title in 7.73, and broke another McLaughlin record by running 7.84 at the State Non-Public A Championships, the fastest time ever run in the six State Group Championships combined.

The national 60m hurdle record of 8.02, set by Tonea Marshall of Seguin High in Arlington, Texas at the 2016 New Balance National Championships at the NY Armory,  will be on very shaky ground when Cox attempts to break it next year. 


There were a total of six runner-up finishes for the Garden State in Boston.   

We already mentioned Westfield was second in the DMR, so here are the other five

Senior Yashayha Brown of Washington, the state record holder in the 55 hurdles (7.06), nearly won the boys 60 hurdles, finishing second in 7.65, the third fastest time in NJ history.

Senior Josh Husiman of St. Rose, a three-time Meet of Champions winner in the shot (twice indoors and once outdoors) was the runner-up in the boys shot put with a 64-0.50. Huisman also placed second at the Nike Nationals with a throw of 67-4, just off his PR of 67-7. 

Toms River North was second in the 4x400 in 3:17.50, No. 14 in state history.

Union Catholic finished second in the boys SMR in 3:29.15, No. 13 in state history.

Time for a big shoutout to Colin Graham of Dumont!! The senior was second in the boys 1-mile racewalk in Boston on Friday in 7:18.24 and then two days later he finished second again in the 1-mile racewalk at the Nike National Championships in New York in 7:02.19, just .07 behind the winner Rowan McDonald of Maine, who finished in 7:02.12.  Two national championship races in two states in one weekend. That's pretty cool! Well done, Colin!    


Did you see what CBA junior Joe Barrett, Lawrenceville School junior Sofia Swindell and UC freshman Rhia Randolph did???

Barrett finished fourth in the boys 2-mile in 8:55.00, which is No. 2 in NJ history!!! Only Edward Cheserek of St. Benedict's Prep (8:39.15 in 2013) has run faster than Barrett in high school in NJ history for the full 2-miles. Note-Marco Langon of Bridgewater-Raritan ran 8:48.28 for 3,200 meters at the 2022 Meet of Champions at the Bennett Center, which converts to 8:51.23 for 2-miles.

Swindell, meanwhile, was fourth overall in the girls 200m in 23.97, pocketing a NJ No. 1 and fastest time in New Jersey history for a 200-meter race: Note: Wendy Vereen's of Trenton ran 23.87 for 220 yards, which is just over a meter longer than 200 meters, at the 1984 TAC Championships at Madison Square Garden. 

Randolph, meanwhile, finished fifth in the girls one-lapper in 23.99, which is third-fastest in NJ history and a new state freshman record. 

Senior Jaden Marchan of Leonia finished third in the boys 400 with a NJ No. 8 all-time of 47.41

The Union Catholic girls placed third in the 4x400 in 3:47.59, the fastest time by a NJ team this season, and the UC girls also broke the state record in the 4xmile when the Vikings placed fifth in 20:19.02.

The Ridge boys ran 10:10.20 to place fourth in the DMR.

Senior Sophia Curtis of Ocean City was fourth in the girls triple jump with a 40-1.50. This is the third All-American finish for Curtis in the TJ. 

St. Peters Prep was fourth in the boys 4x400 in 3:19.17. 

Junior Clemmie Lilley of Rumson placed fifth in the girls 800 in 2:09.02. 

Union Catholic was fifth in 30.79 and Washington Township sixth in 30.85 in the boys shuttle hurdles

Senior Malakai Pressey of Freehold Boro tied for sixth in the boys high jump by clearing 6-7.