This season ended in a way fitting for this group. Our last two meets were the Meet of Champions and then Nationals. First let us recap MOC's
Meet of Champions for us started off with Ali Cooke running in the open 400m. She new going into the race that if she ran a clean race and got after it, there was a chance that she could medal. After running a lifetime PR of 59.17 to advance to MOC's, Ali ran 58.78 to finish 8th. Her time is #2 AT indoors.
The next event was the 1600m. Nikki Clifford and Megan Niglio were in separate heats. Megan 5:09.69 to finish 14th in her first MOC appearance individually. Nikki did not race what she had hoped for and clocked 5:03.37 and finished 9th.
In the 800m, Kelsey Niglio was going to go head to head with some of the best 800m runners in the State. She dropped a huge indoor PR of 2:15.73 to finish 5th. Her time is #2 AT indoors.
The meet ended with the 4x800m relay team winning the schools first ever Relay title at MOC's both indoors and outdoors. Kelsey Niglio led off with 2:15.0. She took the lead early and never looked back. She handed off to Kerry O'Day who clocked a 2:21.4. Megan Niglio was up next and carried the stick for 2:22.1. Lastly Nikki bounced back after her mile and ended with a 2:14.8. Their time of 9:13.42 is #2 AT. It also broke the meet record set by Ridge.
The finale was all set. Friday we would be at the Armory to run the Championship SMR, Friday we would travel over to Ocean Breeze and run the Championship DMR, and then we would finish the weekend running the Championship 4x800m back at the Armory. I had three goals for the girls that I thought would make this the most memorable National Indoor Championships. Break the school records they have already set this year and earn 3 All American Relays. They did that and then some.
First was the Sprint Medley Relay at the New Balance Indoor National Championships. A half day at school let us depart for the New Balance Armory. It had been over 3 years since we had been up to the Armory. The fastest time we had run this season was 4:10.45 when the won the State Group 4 SMR in January. Maddie Van Haren led off with a 27.07 FAT split(#8 AT). Ali Cooke was next with a 26.41(#4 AT) carry. Kelsey Niglio lit up the 400 splitting 58.84(#5 AT) and Nikki Clifford closed in 2:11.96, her second fastest 800m ever. Their Time of 4:04.27 lowered the school record and led them to a US#2 time as well as a second place finish at Nationals. It is also the #3 time in South Jersey history. We headed back to NJ in the subway and awaited our trip to Ocean Breeze the next morning.
Saturday the weather had certainly turned. Temps dropped, snow was coming in sideways, and we were headed to Staten Island. The Nike indoor National meet let us line up with Saratoga Springs and some other great distance programs. Our fastest DMR was 12:12.72 also from the State Relay meet. This time we switched up the order and had Megan Niglio lead off and Nikki Clifford anchor. Megan did a great job leading off with a 3:43.62 1200m(#2 AT). She handed off to Ali Cooke who cruised to a 58.01 split(#2 AT). Kelsey Niglio was up next where she split 2:14.72(#2 AT). Nikki Clifford brought us home with a 5:01.56 anchor(#2 AT) crossing the line at 11:57.91. Not only breaking their own mark, but earning our second runner up finish of the weekend. That time is #5 All Time in South Jersey history and #19 in State history.
Sunday last trip up to the Armory where the girls would be towing the line with the best 4x800's in the Nation. Kelsey led off with a sizzling 2:12.85 split(lowering her #2 AT mark). Kerry O'Day was next with a 2:21.48 split. Megan Niglio was our third leg running 2:20.25 and Nikki Clifford anchored with a monster 2:12.70. They lowered their fastest time to 9:07.27 to finish 4th. This time is #2 All Time in South Jersey history and #11 in State history. This group ended the season much the way they started it, with a bang. Not many get to end their high school careers the way that Ali and Nikki just did. Nikki and Kelsey both became 3xAll Americans, Megan and Ali both became 2x All Americans, and Maddie and Kerry both earned All American honors. A common saying that coach Misuraco and I said all season was "What a meet". Needless to say we were saying just that all weekend. Forgot to mention that our new assistant outdoor coach tagged along for all four meets. So we welcome to the program coach Ryan McKeaney.