Ridge’s Kisker, River Dell’s Allen PR in 800 meters at Group 2 & 4 Championships
After finishing in third place last weekend in the North Section 2 Group 4 encounter, Ridge’s James Kisker was simply looking to put in the best possible race ahead of the Group 4 encounter.
He faced Union’s Gabriel Rodriguez and Westfield’s Charles Stock, who finished first and second respectively last weekend.
“I think you still have (Charles) Stock and Gabriel (Rodriguez) running so fast,” Kisker said. “My goal was just to stay with them and I knew I was capable, it’s the best shape I’ve ever been in. I was looking for a personal best, I was looking, I don’t even know if I was looking for a win, i was just looking to do my best and when the race comes i am always there to win.
Kisker exceeded his own expectations, winning the Group 4 title in the 800m in 1:51.51, which was a school best and a senior personal best.
“At 200 I realized Stock was fading, at 100 I didn’t think I was going to win it, but I was going to give it my best and go for it,” Kisker said. . “It feels good, I put everything into it, it’s a school record, a PR, a Group 4 championship.”
Rodriguez was second in 1:53.01 and Stock was third in 1:54.30.
“I think I’m more of a competition type, nobody really expected me to win this race and I hadn’t run that fast until now,” Kisker said. “But if I’m in the race and I put myself in the race, I always have a chance.”
Cherokee’s Nicole Clifford took first place in the 4,800 Girls Group with a time of 2:11.12. Her teammate Kelsey Niglio was second in 2:11.80.
“We knew Group 4 (800) was pretty packed and it was going to be a fight, so we just wanted to come out here and run smart, run hard and come away with a Meet of Champs qualifying time,” Clifford said. “With 400 to go, I kind of started taking it because it’s really the worst part of the race with about 400 to go, and I knew that (Niglio) was coming and I knew that a group of girls was right behind me, so the last 200, I gave him what I got.
Both Clifford and Niglio held on at the front of the pack the whole race and knew that towards the end there was a strong chance for a one-two finish.
“It was so awesome, it was so exciting,” Niglio said. “I personally didn’t expect that, but we hung on around 300 people. I think we really started to take off and we finished one-two and I’m really excited.”
Metuchen’s Brandon Sinclair was just looking to qualify for the Meet of Champions, which meant he would automatically qualify if he finished first or second. Winning was just an added bonus.
“I wanted to come here and just qualify for the Meet of Champs, but I’m even happier to have won overall,” he said.
Sinclair held off Mark Viggiano of Ocean Township, winning in 1:55.07. Viggiano was second in 1:57.35.
“I think at the 600 mark with about 200 to go I knew I still had some energy left in the tank and even from there I could see I was going to get ahead of the guy in front of me. “, did he declare.
Sinclair, who finished 10th last season in this event as a sophomore, credits a change in her diet for helping her performance. On Saturday, he runs the anchor stage in the 4×400 and 4×800, and he hopes the momentum from his 800 win will continue.
“We’re going to go out there and try to compete and get PR,” he said.
River Dell’s Christina Allen ran the 3200 and 1600 as a freshman at the group meet last season, but this year she decided to do something different.
The second ditched the 3200 and decided to focus on the 800 and 1600, and it paid off. Allen won the 800m in 2:12.19, which was a personal best for her. She held off Caroline Schleif of Metuchen, who finished second in 2:14.20.
“This year I’m kind of off the two-mile mark, I guess you could say, and more of the 800s and 1600s,” she said. “I was a lot longer distance last year with the cross country and the two mile, now I like the mile and the 800 so I was just trying something different and guess it works.”
Coming into the race, Allen was just looking to qualify for the Meet of Champs, but she knew she had a chance late in the race with Schleif hot on her heels.
“Honestly not until the last 20 yards,” Allen said of the moment she knew she could win. “I was a little scared, I had Metuchen’s girl behind me who was a little nerve-wracking the whole time hearing her breathing behind me, but the last 20 yards I was like, ‘Okay, I got it. understood.'”
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