It was an historic day at the Shore Conference Championships yesterday at the Bennett Center in Toms River, where Courtney Thompson of St. John Vianney and Nick Eckett of Jackson Liberty broke meet records and Matt Nelson of Barnegat became the first runner to win the boys 3,200 meters three years in a row.
Christian Brothers Academy also won its third straight title and 18th overall, while Southern won its fifth straight girls title.
The biggest moment of the meet was in the pole vault, as Eckett not only broke the meet record of 14-8 but also cleared 15-1, making a 13-inch improvement from his previous best of 14-0 and recording the top mark in the state this season.
“I am absolutely astonished at what I did,” Eckett said. “I came here thinking 14-6. I never thought I’d clear 15-1.”
Eckett was excited after clearing 14-4 to qualify for Penn Relays, a goal of his for the last few years. But he continued to exceed his expectations.
“I cleared 14-10 on my first attempt and I was mind-blown,” Eckett said. “Then when I cleared 15-1 I couldn’t believe it. I knew (the potential) was there and the hard work is now paying off.”