BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP - The Pleasantville High School boys track and field team ran fast enough to win a South Jersey title Saturday afternoon.
The Greyhounds just couldn't control what happened behind them.
Sterling outscored Pleasantville 76-75 to win the Group II championship at Buena Regional.
Sterling clinched the team title by finishing second in the final event - the 4x400-meter relay. Pleasantville won the relay. In addition to that victory, twins Isaac and Jacob Clark finished first and second in the 800 run, respectively.
"It hurts, but it's all right," Isaac said. "We have to come back at the state championships and be stronger."
Local athletes filled the Group II and III championships with impressive efforts. Braheme Days Jr . of Bridgeton turned in the meet's most outstanding individual performance, breaking his own Group II meet record to win the shot put.
Three local girls - Bridget Flynn of Ocean City (Group III 800); Andrea Olsen of Buena (Group II 100 hurdles) and Casey Sturts of Buena Regional (Group II high jump) - won South Jersey titles.
In addition to Isaac Clark and Days, four local boys - Chase Toliver of Oakcrest (Group III 110 hurdles); Simuel Jackson of Cedar Creek (Group II 110 hurdles); Gary Melton of Cedar Creek (Group II long jump) and Anthony Forrest of Buena Regional (Group II 200 dash) - won titles.
The top-six finishers in each event in each group, plus ties, qualified for the state group championships to be held Friday and Saturday. Many members of the top-two teams in each enrollment group also advanced to the state championships.
Unlike Friday night, the meet's first day, the sun shone Saturday. But the wind whipped around the Buena track.
The Clark twins dominated the 800. At one point, they ran side-by-side and stride-for-stride down the backstretch. Isaac won in 1 minute, 55.52 seconds, while Jacob ran 1:55.72. Both times were about five seconds off their personal bests.
The twins also helped Pleasantville win the 4x400 relay. The Greyhound foursome of Noah Prevard, Isaac Clark, Nicholas McBean and Jacob Clark ran 3:28.41. Sterling finished second in 3:30.53.
"We couldn't do anything more," Jacob said. "They were just one point better than us."
Pleasantville even picked some unexpected points in the 200 dash, where Isaac ran 22.42 in an unseeded heat to finish second. Forrest won the seeded heat and the title in 22.29.
"People were giving me (strange) looks and saying, 'Aren't you a distance runner?' " Isaac said, "But I grew up a sprinter."
Pleasantville will try to find the two points it needs for a title at the state group championships. A new rule this year allows only the top two teams in each of the four sectional meets to compete for state team titles.
Even Days' routine throws are outstanding.
The senior won the shot put with a Group II record put of 64-10, breaking his own record of 64-5.75 set last year.
Days' personal best is 70-8. That makes puts like Saturday's seem ho-hum until one remembers Days' 64-10 put is still farther than anybody else has thrown in local history.
"It was a great day," Days said. "We worked hard all week."
Days said he doesn't feel any pressure to top himself every time he competes.
"As an athlete, you have to make your own expectations," he said. "We practice all week and try our best."
Olsen just missed a Group II meet record in the 100 hurdles. She won easily in 14.17 seconds for her third South Jersey title of the meet. Nia Ali of Pleasantville set the Group II record of 14.07 in 2006.
Olsen then finished second in the 200 dash.
Olsen won the 400 hurdles and 400 dash Friday night.
"I'm happy," Olsen said. "It's a bummer not winning the 200, but I'll get it next time. I can't really explain it. I'm just proud of myself."
Flynn never won a South Jersey title before this season.
Now, the junior has two.
Flynn won the Group III 800 run in 2:19.06. Ocean City sophomore Rachel Stremme ran 2:21.27 to finish second. Flynn won the 1,600 Friday night.
Flynn led the 800 from the start. Her only disadvantage was that she had to cut through the wind by herself.
"I went out (fast) from the start," she said. "I didn't mean to. I went out at my normal pace. Nobody came with me, so I was just out there."
Flynn ran for Holy Spirit as a freshman and sophomore. The Margate resident enrolled in Ocean City as a choice student for her junior year.
Flynn won the state Non-Public A 1,600 title last spring but she didn't win any South Jersey Non-Public titles. Her South Jersey wins this year are just as impressive as her state win. Public school track and field meets feature more depth. Track is one of the few sports in the state where public schools get more attention than their parochial counterparts.
Flynn said she hopes her South Jersey victories propel her to faster efforts at the state championships.
"Hopefully, the weather is a little better," she said.
Jackson didn't believe he had won the Group II 110 hurdles until he had the medal in his hand.
Jackson and Kevin Lester of Deptford crossed the finish line of the Group II 100 hurdles almost simultaneously. Both were timed in 14.92 seconds. It was easily Saturday's closest finish.
"I was scared," Jackson said. "I didn't want to get second. I wanted to get first. I thought he got first. I always think like that after races."
There was a delay before the winner was announced as meet officials examined the photo finish.
"I was standing around all nervous just walking around in circles," Jackson said.
Jackson then went to practice for the 4x100 relay. A classmate told him she had heard his name addressed as the winner.
"I didn't believe her," he said. "I thought she misheard."
Finally, the Cedar Creek coaches gave him his first-place medal. Jackson was officially a South Jersey champion.
Contact Michael McGarry:
BOYS GROUP II
Top 5 teams
1. Sterling 76; 2. Pleasantville 75; 3. Haddonfield 60; 4. Deptford 58.50; 5. West Deptford 46
200 dash - 1. Anthony Forrest, Buena, 22.29; 2. Isaac Clark, Pleasantville, 22.42; 6. Terrance Toney, Middle Township, 22.96
800 run - 1. Isaac Clark, Pville, 1:55.52; 2. Jacob Clark, Pville, 1:55.72; 5. Dagoberto Arias, Pville, 2:01.64
110 hurdles - 1. Simuel Jackson, Cedar Creek, 14.92
4x100 relay - 5. Cedar Creek, 45.36; 6. Pleasantville, 45.50
4x400 relay - 1. Pleasantville (Noah Prevard, Isaac Clark, Nicholas McBean and Jacob Clark) 3:28.41; 4. Buena, 3:33.96
Long jump - 1. Gary Melton, Cedar Creek, 21-11.50; 3. Quasheem Taylor, Bridgeton, 21-4.25
Shot put - 1. Braheme Days Jr., Bridgeton, 64-10
Javelin - 2. Cinjun Erskine, Barnegat, 183-1; 4. Michael Nolan, Barnegat, 169-9; 5. Jalil Burrell, Cedar Creek, 157-1
Pole vault- 4. Anthony DelGesso, Buena, 11-6
BOYS GROUP III
Top 5 teams
1. Kingsway Regional 103; 2. Timber Creek 77; 3. Oakcrest 62; 4. Delsea Regional 57; 5. Moorestown 49
800 run- 2. Ishmael Muhammad, Oakcrest, 1:54.17
4x400 relay- 2. Oakcrest, 3:28.80
110 hurdles - 1. Chase Toliver, Oakcrest, 14.29;
3,200 run - 2. Louis Corgliano, Hammonton, 9:33.58 Long jump – 5. LaDarrell Dixon, Oakcrest, 21-0 Javelin – 2. Chad Williams, Ocean City, 169-8; 3. Travis Covell, Lacey, 168-0;
GIRLS GROUP II
Top 5 teams
1. Haddonfield 115; 2. Buena Regional 70.33; 3. Manchester Township 49; 4. Sterling 48.33; 5 West Deptford 35
200 dash - 2. Andrea Olsen, Buena, 25.28; 4. Jamiera McCormick, Pleasantville, 26.36
3,200 – 5. Gina Testa, Buena, 12:04.29
100 hurdles -1. Andrea Olsen, Buena, 14.17 High jump – 1. Casey Sturts, Buena, 5-2; 2. Emely Ramirez, Buena, 5-0. 4. Quinn Bithell, Lower Cape May, 4-10 Triple jump – 6. Jovan Childers, Bridgeton, 32-2.25
4x100 relay - 2. Pleasantville 50.50; 3. Bridgeton 50.64; 5. Cedar Creek, 52.89
4x400 relay -3. Pleasantville, 4:14.61; 5. Buena Regional, 4:26.68; 6. Lower Cape May, 4:27.74
Discus - 2. Brianna Young, Barnegat, 117-7; 4. Samone Jones, Bridgeton, 112-6
100 dash - 5. Jovan Childers, Bridgeton, 13.14; 6. Kiara Harris, Middle Township, 13.15
GIRLS GROUP III
Top 5 teams
1. Winslow Township 148.75; 2. Kinsgway Regional 75.25; 3. Delsea Regional 72; 4. Ocean City 49; 5. Seneca 40
800 run - 1. Bridget Flynn, Ocean City, 2:19.06; 2. Rachel Stremme, Ocean City, 2:21.27; 3. Danielle Leavitt, Lacey Township, 2:22.23
3,200 run - 2. Lauren Zodl, Pinelands Regional, 11:21.84; 3. Mary Kate Brelsford, OC, 11:24.03; 4. Epiphany Grisbaum, OC, 11:24.52
4x100 relay - 3. Mainland Regional, 51.37
Triple Jump- 4. Victoria Henry, Mainland, 32-3.75; 5. Kylyn Dawkins, Cumberland, 31-10.25; 6. Taylor Price, Ocean City, 31-6.25
Discus - 2. Christina Donall, Mainland, 115-9;
High jump - 4. Megan Maloney, Cumberland and Natalie Cowan, Hammonton, 4-10