A trip back home. 1.8.22 ~Jarvis
The team headed down to Lynchburg Virginia to compete in the Liberty Premier Invitational. This would be the first time Cherokee has competed at Liberty and the first time I have been back for a high school meet since 1999. Although its been awhile, it was great catching up with old friends that I haven't seen in quite some time. I also got to catch up with head coach Lance Bingham since he has taken over the reigns after coach Tolsma retired. This trip was well worth the drive. 2 school records, 11 Top Ten all time performances and 21 lifetime best performances. So you can see there is a lot to go over. The meet opened up with the 4 x 800 meter relay team running together for the first time this season. Looking to get a State Relay seed time, the quartet of Kelsey Niglio, Kerry O'Day, Megan Niglio and Nikki Clifford did not disappoint. They shattered the indoor school record of 9:37.11 set in 2011-12 at the Eastern States meet running 9:23.85 to not only win, but also run the fastest time in the nation. Kelsey Niglio started it off running her fastest indoor 800 ever splitting 2:17.8(#3 all time 800 split). She handed off to Kerry O'Day who ran her fastest 800 ever and split 2:25.9. Next up was Megan Niglio who crushed her 800 pr cruising to a 2:23.7 split to hand off to Nikki Clifford. Nikki closed it out with the fastest indoor 800 split in school history at 2:16.3. Sitting back and thinking its going to be hard to top that, the results continued to impress.
Next on the track was the 55 meter dash trials and the 55 meter hurdle trials. In the dash, Jill Strauss ran 7.93, Erin St. John ran 8.20 and Grace Pajic ran 8.86. All were lifetime pr's. In the 55 meter hurdles Ali Cooke ran her fastest ever twice. Clocking 9.15 in the trials she to advanced to the finals and lowered that to 9.13 to place 7th. Although she was already #7 AT, she lowers her mark getting closer to the #6 time.
The 500 meter was next on the track, which is an event we don't see often in New Jersey. Kelsey and Nikki were both coming back from the 4 x 8 to run their second races of the day. Finishing 1,2 in their heat, they held on to 2nd and 3rd over all. Kelsey broke the school record running 1:18.14 and Nikki ran 1:19.08(#2 AT).
While that was going on Jill Strauss cleared 8-6 in the pole vault and Bella Kadar cleared 7-6.
The 4 x 200 meter relay was next up on the track running a season best time of 1:53.24 to place 9th. Jill Strauss led off splitting 28.2, Ali Cooke was second leg with a 26.5 split(#5 AT), Grace Pajic was 3rd leg with a 30.3 and Erin St. John anchored with a 28.2 carry.
The 1000 meter was next, which is also a race that we don't see anymore. Kerry O'Day ran 3:10.10, which is #2 AT behind Monica Olkowski's amazing 2:49.63 when she won Eastern States at Harvard back in 1990. Bella Kadar ran a guts race to clock 3:22.78(#8 AT) and Lainy Bromley finished in 3:30.30. In the 300 meter Ali Cooke ran 43.54 which is #3 AT.
With 2 events left to go, Megan Niglio took her second crack at running the 3200 meter and dropped nearly 20 seconds off her pr. Closing in 38.3, she clocked an 11:25.70 to finish 2nd over all. Her time lowers her own freshman record and moves her to #4 AT indoors. The meet ended for us with another win. The 4 x 400 meter relay team of Kelsey Niglio(60.4), Ali Cooke(63.0), Kerry O'Day(64.2) and Nikki Clifford(60.0) ran a season best time of 4:07.82. They opened up the meet with a win and ended it the same way. It was great competing against teams that we never get to race. The girls rose to the occasion and left their mark at Liberty. A long run at Blackwater Creek Trail ended the trip Sunday morning as we headed back to New Jersey.