Top Storylines To Watch At State Group Championships



The NJSIAA Group Championships have arrived with a different format.

With the Public and Non-Public Championships separated this season, these meets will move much quicker, but there obvoiously won't be as much recovery time.

To refresh your memory,  the Groups 1-4 Championships are at Franklin High, the Groups 2-3 are at Delsea, and 
and the Non-Public A and B Championships are at Stockton University. All meets start at 2:30 p.m. on Friday and 10:3 a.m. on Saturday.  

The top two finishers in each event in each Group plus 18 total wild cards from the three sites combined will advance to the Meet of Champions this Wednesday at Pennsauken High.

As always, NJ MileSplit will have you covered with lots of videos, stories, and photos from the the two sites on Friday. I know all you track and field nuts are looking for something to whet your appetite as you get ready to follow all the action.

So we've done some digging and have come up with some of the biggest storylines to follow, along with predictions for all 12 teams champions! Good luck, everyone! Get your PR's on!!! What do you say we dive right into this!!

What's the No. 1 individual storyline heading into Day One ?

That's easy!!

It's the boys Group 1 and Group 4 100-meter dashes on Friday at Franklin. These are the two biggest can't miss races of the weekend! 

Will the state wind-legal record finally go down?!!!

There is a great chance it does!

By now you all now that Malachi James of Burlington City, Ajani Dwyer of Washington (10.21) and Cole Cramer of Southern (10.22) ran the three fastest times in state history at the Sectional Championships at Pennsauken.

The state wind-legal record of 10.35 was set by Jamar Ervin of Camden with a +2.0 wind reading at the 2000 Meet of Champions at South Brunswick. But the times by James, Dwyer and Cramer weren't eligible for state record consideration because there wasn't a wind gauge to determine if the times were wind legal. For a time to be wind legal the wind gauge reading must be 2.0 meters per second or less. Anything above 2.0 is wind-aided. So the times by James, Dwyer, and Cramer are listed instead as the three fastest all-conditions times in NJ history.

But have no fear, a wind gauge will be present at Franklin!!! So let's all just pray that the wind is 2.0 meters per second or lower when James runs in the Group 1 race and Dwyer and Cramer run in the Group 4 race.

Prediction: If the wind is legal, Ervin's record will be toast!!! 


There hasn't been a 7-0 high jumper in NJ since Markquese Bell of Bridgeton made 7-0 at the Cape Atlantic League Championships in May 0f 2016. 

But Rahway junior Rolando Simpson could end that drought in the boys Group 3 competition.

Simpson, who had a PR of 6-4 before the sectional championships, made a meet-record-tying 6-10, the No. 1 jump in the state this season, to win the NJ Sec. 2 Group 3 title last Saturday at Warren Hills. He also had some good tries at 7-0.

"Based on his attempts at 7-0, I definitely can see Rolando clearing that height,'' said Rahway head coach Bunion. "Coach Mahdi Sumter is doing an amazing job with our jumpers, so the sky is definitely the limit.''


The overall All-Groups record (every group combined) that has the best chance to fall in the field events is the girls discus where 

Layla Giordano of Old Tappan, the 2023 national champion in the discus, has her sights set on the record of 168-1 set in 2017 by state record holder Alyssa Wilson of Donovan Catholic. 

The Princeton University-bound Giordano, competing in the Group 3 meet, unloaded a PR of 172-2 to win the NJ. Sec. 2 Group 3 discus. She also owns a shot put PR of 50-0, which makes her just the second girl in NJ history to throw 50 feet in the shot and over 170 in the discus.

The legendary Wilson threw a still-standing national record of 58-1 in the shot and a NJ record 182-0 in the discus as a senior in 2017.


Be sure to keep an eye on juniors Jessica Oji of Livingston and Benji Shue of Bergen Catholic in the circle.

Oji unloaded a 51-10 at the Essex County Championships two weeks ago at the Essex County Championships. That's No. 3 in NJ history. 

The only two throwers in state history who have thrown further in the shot put than Oji and Giordano are Wilson (the national record holder at 58-1), and Nickolette Dunbar of Whippany Park, who threw 53-10.25 in 2016.

Can Oji pass Dunbar and get closer to her ultimate goal of Wilson's state record, and can she threaten the State Junior Class record of 55-9.25 that Wilson set in 2016.

 Shue, the state leader in the discus with his 204-10, also has a shot at taking down a big record as he has the NJ Junior Class record of  207-2, was set by Olympian Sam Mattis of East Brunswick at the 2011 Meet of Champions, in his cross hairs. The All Groups meet record is 211-8 set in 2002 by the great Glenn DiGiorgio of Bayonne.

Shue is also the state leader in the shot put at 68-0 and could become just the third NJ thrower to ever hit 70 feet!!   


The girls Group 3 100 dash should bring a lot of fire to the track and possibly an All Groups record as Timber Creek's sensational 1-2 punch of junior Ryan Jennings and senior Naylah Jones attempt to blast their way into the history book.

Jennings burned a NJ No.  2 all-time 11.33 and Jennings ran a NJ No. 3 all-time 11.38 with a wind legal reading of +1.9 meters per second at the sectional championships, which are No. 2 and No. 3 in state history.

So the All Groups combined record of 11.39 set in 2008 by Olympic gold medalist medalist English Gardner of Eastern is in serious jeopardy.  

The only female high school sprinter in NJ history that has run faster than Jennings and Jones is the legendary Wendy Vereen, of Trenton, who ran a blazing 11.17 at the National Sports Festival in Colorado Springs on July 3, 1983. Vereen was still in high school at the time as she didn't begin her senior year until September of 1983.


There should be a lot of fireworks in the girls Group 4 sprints with Pennsauken sophomore speedster Sianni Wynn providing most of the sparks. 

Wynn, who is ranked NJ No. 1 in both the 200 (23.76) and the 400 (53.80), could take down the Group 4 400 record of 53.61 set by Julia Jackson of Scotch Plains-Fanwood in 2022.   

SUB 2:10 CLUB 

There are four girls who have gone sub 2:10 in the 800 this season, Clemmie Lilley of Rumson, Paige Sheppard of Union Catholic, Jimmiea King of Union Catholic, and Peyton Hollis of Union Catholic.

But there could be a bunch more joining that club this weekend as 10 girls head into this weekend with season best times between 2:10.61 and 2:13.99   


One team record that is sure to fall is the record for the most state titles won in a row in all the Groups combined

The Union Catholic girls have won a meet record-tying eight straight Non-Public A Championships, and there doesn't seem to be any way to prevent the Vikings from making it nine in a row. That would snap the tie that UC currently has with Notre Dame, who won 8 straight Non-Public A title from  1993-2000.


GROUP 4: Westfield
GROUP 3: Delsea
GROUP 2: Demarest
GROUP 1: Glassboro
NON-PUBLIC A: Christian Brothers
 NON-PUBLIC B: Montclair-Kimberley

GROUP 4: Washington Township
GROUP 3: Winslow
GROUP 2: Rumson
GROUP 1: Hasbrouck Heights
NON-PUBLIC A: Union Catholic
NON-PUBLIC B: Villa Walsh