NJ Rocks New Balance Nationals With 5 Titles On Day 2

The second day of the New Balance National Championships was a Jersey takeover as the Garden State flexed its firepower by racking up five national titles, a national record, and two meet records on Friday at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.

We have to start out with the epic and electrifying masterpiece that the UC girls produced in the 4x800!!!   

While everyone expected the UC girls to complete the 3-peat and make a strong run at their own national record, no one could have seen them deliver such an explosive and jaw-dropping performance, which saw the Catholic school from Scotch Plains chop exactly seven seconds off the national mark with a race for the ages as the Vikings threw down an absolutely absurd time of 8:34.20!!!! That shredded the national record of 8:41.20 that UC ran on this track when the Vikings won its second Championship of America title in a row seven weeks ago at the Penn Relays in April. That's right-UC dropped exactly seven seconds in exactly seven weeks!!

Sophomore Jimmiea King led off with a 2:09.22 carry to give UC a slight lead over Padua of Delaware, who received a 2:09.66 leadoff leg. On the second leg, Duke-bound Peyton Hollis, who ran on all three national championships 4x800 squads for UC, blew open the race with a 2:09.01 split to give UC a 6.5 second lead.

Then the freshmen took over for the Vikings.

Sophia Thompson took the baton from Hollis and cranked out a 2:10.46 third leg for UC to extend the lead to 9.5  seconds over Cuthbertson of North Carolina. Then Paige Sheppard raced the clock for two laps as she kept hammering her way around the oval, completing a 2:05.53 anchor split to put the the finishing touches on the mind-blowing, jaw-dropping, all-time classic race by the Vikings. Cuthbertson, the national indoor champion in the 4x800 in 2023, finished a distant second in 8:45.58.


Westfield was confident it was capable of not just winning the boys 4x800, but that the Blue Devils also felt they could throw down one of the fastest times in NJ history.

And they did exactly that as junior Ryan Daly, and seniors Avery Keith, Jimmy Gildea, and Alex Valencia combined to throw down a meet record and Union County record of 7:36.26, No. 5 in NJ history and No. 3 in the nation this season. 

Daly led off with a 1:53.98 to put Westfield in the lead by a few meters. Gildea followed with a 1:54.27 and handed off to Keith about five meters behind the Jackson Track Club. Keith then gave Westfield a 2.40 second lead as he split 1:54.24. Valencia extended the lead on his first lap and powered his way to a 1:53.78 anchor split to seal the deal for Westfield. Defending champion Northville of Michigan, with Brendan Herger dropping a 1:47.43 anchor, finished second in 7:37.01.   

Westfield's 7:36.26 broke the meet record of 7:36.81 that Northville ran last year, smashed the Union County record of 7:42.59 that Union Catholic ran at the 2010 NB Nationals, and completed the indoor/outdoor sweep for Westfield, who also won the 4x800 at the New Balance Indoor Championships in March.    


Benjamin Shue of Bergen Catholic, who stepped into the boys discus circle as the big favorite, was in second-place with one attempt left. But the junior lefty came up with a huge clutch throw of 200-6 to rally for the dramatic win.

Shue, sitting in second with a 189-3 before his final toss, finished 10 feet, six inches ahead of runner-up Zack Frieden of Indiana, second with a 190-1.

The University of Texas-bound Shue, who unloaded a PR and US. No. 7 throw of 205-4 to win the Meet of Champions title on Wednesday, will be back in the circle on Saturday in the shot put. Shue owns a shot put PR of 69-2, which is No. 2 in NJ history and No. 6 in the nation this season. 


Natalie Dumas continued her amazing recent flurry of eye-popping performances with another gem when the sophomore at Eastern simply overpowered the field on her way to victory in the girls 400 hurdles in 58.32, which places per fourth on NJ's all-time list and No. 2 on the state's all-time sophomore list. Only World Record holder and double Olympic gold medalist Sydney McLaughlin of Union Catholic ran faster than Dumas as a sophomore in state history. McLaughlin went 55.28 as a sophomore

The 58.32 by Dumas, who won by nearly two seconds over runner-up Morgan Roundtree of Oak Park in Michigan (1:00.18),  is also No. 7 in the country this season and makes her the second fastest sophomore in the U.S. this season. Jasmine Robinson of North Cobb High in Kennesaw, Georgia, who ran 57.31 to finish second at the US U20 National Championships on Thursday, is the only sophomore in the country who has run faster this spring than Dumas.

And Dumas did this just two after her sensational triple at the Meet of Champions when she won the 400 hurdles, the 400, and anchored the victorious 4x400!       

How awesome is that!!!


The Union Catholic girls picked up their second national title by winning the 4x200 to cap off New Jersey's remarkable day.

The Vikings foursome of sophomore Natalie Thompson, Isabella Murray, Abriyah Thompson, and senior Leah Gould combined to run 1:38.48 to edge North Carolina's Clayton High, second in 1:38.82.

UC's 1:38.48 is No. 8 in New Jersey history, and gives the Vikings five of the eight fastest times in state history. UC set the state record of 1:37.53 in 2017.  


Jaden Marchan of Leonia finished second in the boys 400 hurdles in a PR of 52.11, No. 7 in the nation this season. He will back in the 400 final on Saturday afternoon.   

New Jersey went 2-3-5-7 in the boys sprint medley!! Union Catholic placed second in 3:25.36, Toms River North was third (3:25.69), Indoor National Champion Morris Knolls was fifth (3:26.76 ), and Winslow finished seventh (3:26.28).

Dylan Williams (22.1), Al-Qamar Rojas (21.2), Avery Atexide (47.4), and Keandre Kelly (1:54.00) shared the baton for UC. Luke Schagelin dropped a 1:50.28 anchor for Morris Knolls. 

Senior William Feddeler of CBA finished third in the decathlon with 6,274 points. 

Senior Ajani Dwyer ran a NJ No. 3 all-time wind-legal 10.32 to win his semifinal heat of the boys 100 dash, just missing the state record of 10.28 that Malachi James of Burlington City ran to finish first at the Meet of Champions on Wednesday. Dwyer will race in the final on Saturday.

Sophomore Sianni Wynn of Pennsauken advanced to Saturday's girls 100 dash final by running 11.54 in the semifinals.