Sheppard Smashes Records, Zalewski Rips Huge PR At Ridge


With Paige Sheppard of Union Catholic and Ian Zalewski of Verona leading the charge, there were several red hot times thrown down at the Ridge Night of 1,600's Twilight Invitational on Monday in Basking Ridge.

Sheppard dropped the biggest bomb by stopping the clock at 4:45.28, No. 9 in NJ history, to take down the girls' state freshman record and the Union County record in the 1,600. Julia Scrudato of Montgomery, the Meet of Champions winner in the 1,600 last June, was the second girl to cross the line, finishing in 4:54.28.  

The former girls' state freshman record in the 1,600 was 4:45.57 set in 2010 by Claudia DiSomma of Sparta when she finished second to Olympian Ajee' Wilson of Neptune at the State Group 3 Championships at Frank Jost Field in South Plainfield. Sheppard's 4:45.28 also broke the Union County record of 4:48.20 (converted from a 4:49.88 mile) that Peyton Hollis of UC ran at the 2022 Trials of Miles at Icahn Stadium.  

In the boys competition, Zalewski, a senior, ran a monster PR of 4:11.40 to to lead eight runners under 4:20. That's the fastest time run in a 1,600-meter race this season, is No. 4 in the state this season when converted mile times are applied, and is the fifth fastest time ever run in high school by a runner from Essex County.

How big of PR was this for Zalewski. It was his first time breaking 4:20!!!

Zalewski's previous best was 4:20.22, which he ran to place 10th at the Indoor Meet of Champions this past March at Ocean Breeze. 

Matt Lucas, a senior at Monroe, was second to Zalewski in a massive PR of 4:15.30. His previous best was 4:21.33 last month at the Colts Neck Invitational.