WOODBURY — Brielle Smith didn’t know if she would be able to throw the javelin when she arrived at the 47th annual Woodbury Relays on Saturday morning.
It was raining.
There was a puddle in the middle of the runway. She feared the event would be canceled for safety concerns.
The Oakcrest High School senior ended up not only throwing but making history.
She broke her own state record with a throw of 168 feet, 6 inches. That topped her previous state record of 163-8, which she set when she won at the 2018 Meet of Champions.
“I don’t think it has totally hit me yet,” said Smith, who has signed to continue her education and track career at Stanford. “To throw that far so early in the season feels great because I know there’s so much more in the tank.”
Her performance highlighted a standout meet by local athletes.
Claudine Smith of Atlantic City set a meet record in winning the triple jump. The Pleasantville boys dominated the Group II track events and easily won the team title. Gabriel Moronta of Pleasantville was named the meet’s Most Valuable Male Track Athlete, while the Greyhounds’ Quentin Bundy was named the meet’s Most Courageous Athlete.
The Woodbury Relays serves as the unofficial South Jersey relay championships. Only track events count in the team scoring. Field events are individual competitions. Winners of each event receive prestigious Woodbury Relays watches that many athletes value more than medals.
“I love the environment,” Brielle Smith said. “I love constantly hearing the cheers from the track when I’m throwing. It’s a great place to be.”
Her state-record throw was the talk of the meet. All current javelin records are since 2002 because that’s when the javelin was redesigned.
The javelin competition was shortened from six to four throws because of the weather. It did not seem like a day conducive to a record throw.
“I was just happy to be able to throw,” Smith said. “I was like, ‘I still have to throw no matter what (the conditions).’ I just went out there and did what I do best. I just threw far.”
She struggled at first, however. Smith threw 149-2 on her first attempt and then fouled on her second and third throws.
She knew her final throw was going far as soon as it left her hand.
“It felt great,” she said. “It was still a little high out of my hand, but I can’t be mad. It went super far.”
Woodbury was Smith’s first appearance in a major meet this spring. She will compete in the Penn Relays in Philadelphia on Thursday.
“I’m excited,” she said about the rest of the season. “I know there’s more to come. I’ve got bigger expectations. I have higher goals than this. This is just the first step.”
Claudine Smith’s big day
Claudine Smith (no relation to Brielle) always seems to perform well at Woodbury. The Rutgers recruit easily defended her triple jump title, winning with a meet-record leap of 40-2.25.
That broke the Woodbury record of 38-5 set by Ashley Edwards of Northern Burlington in 2015. Anaya Young of Rancocas Valley finished second at 36-9.5.
In addition to her triple jump victory, Smith also jumped 18-4 to finish second in the long jump. Tionna Tobias of Winslow Township won with a leap of 18-9.5.
Claudine Smith showed off to friends and family the watch she received for the winning the triple jump.
“Now I have a second watch,” she said. “I can give one to Mom or Dad. They can keep one home, and I can wear one when I’m at college.”
The only Group II running event the Pleasantville boys didn’t win was the shuttle hurdles.
That’s because the Greyhounds didn’t enter that event.
Pleasantville won the other six races on the track. The Greyhounds won the team title, outscoring second-place Haddon Heights 60-32.
Moronta, Bundy and Sahmir Jones each ran on four winning relay teams. Jalen Freeman ran on three. Pleasantville’s sprint medley and 4x100-meter relays teams also ran the fastest times of the meet.
Moronta was at his best in the sprint medley when he anchored the Greyhounds to a come-from-behind win with a 1-minute, 58-second 800 leg.
Bundy earned the Most Courageous award because he had little rest between events. He ran the third leg of the 4x800, the second leg of the 4x100 and the lead off leg of the 4x400 all within about 90 minutes.
“Woodbury is big for us,” Pleasantville coach Alan Laws. “We call it the ‘South Jersey Relays’ We talk about it all year round. We have to get ready for Woodbury. We have to come to Woodbury. You get a chance to represent your neighborhood and South Jersey.”
Boys Group I
4x400 – Holy Spirit (Ahmad Brown, Devin Lee, Terrell Moore, Elijah Stewart) 3:24.66
Boys Group II
Distance Medley – Pleasantville (Irvin Marable, Jensen Nunez, Quentin Bundy, Gabriel Moronta) 10;59.99
4x200 – Pleasantville (Keon Henry, Kinderson Cajuste, Sahmir Jones, Jalen Freeman) 1:30.85
4x800 – Pleasantville (Irvin Marable, Jensen Nunez, Quentin Bundy, Gabriel Moronta) 8:18.76
4x100 – Pleasantville (Quentin Bundy, Ben Clark, Jalen Freeman, Sahmir Jones) 42.94
Sprint medley – Pleasantville (Ben Clark, Sahmir Jones, Kinderson Cajuste, Gabriel Moronta) 3:36.08
4x400 – Pleasantville (Quentin Bundy, Gabriel Moronta, Jalen Freeman, Sahmir Jones) 3:24.38.
Boys Group III
4x800 – Absegami (John Foley, Luke Ngo, Oratile Moeng, Keishaun Joga) 8:15.97
Boys Group IV
4x200 – Millville (Nazeir Mace-Cullen, Johnell Orama, Elias Rivera and Daniel Fenton) 1:31.22
4x100 – Millville (Nazeir Mace-Cullen, Johnell Orama, Elias Rivera, Daniel Fenton) 43.16
Individual Field Events
Javelin – 1. Brielle Smith, Oakcrest, 168-6
Triple jump – 1. Claudine Smith 40-2.25