PLAINFIELD, NJ - New Providence High School senior Jillian Turner takes two first place titles [1600m in 5:02.85 and 3200m in 11:01.98] while breaking meet record in 1600m at the Union County Track and Field Championships on May 19-20 at Hub Stein Field hosted by Plainfield High School.
Turner [who is heading to Brown University in the fall where she will run cross country and track] knew she had the meet record in her grasp and pushed herself across the finish line. "Breaking the meet record was one of my goals going into the race," said Turner. "I heard from my coach and the announcer that the record was 5:03 and I knew that if I pushed myself I would be able to break it."
"I watched the clock as I finished, so I knew right away that I'd broken the record by a second," said Turner who finished at 5:02.85, which is her personal best for the season. Teammates Megan Friscia placed second in 5:10.14 and Turner's twin sister Kelsey placed fifth in 5:12.24.
Turner also took home the title in the 3200 running in 11:01.98, breaking her season personal best. She bolted out in front and led throughout the eight laps, ultimately beating out her competition by an impressive 36.07 seconds. Teammate Sydney Peng placed 11th in 12:39.45.
When taking such a heavy lead, she is able to set her pace from knowing what she needs to do with each lap. "I'm at a point where I can tell what my race pace feels like and I know how fast I need to go when I start running," said Turner. "Plus, my coach yells out 400m splits for me every lap, so if my pacing is off, I know whether to speed up or slow down."
Turner overcame a set back last year after a stress fracture held her out of competition for most the season. She was eager to get back and her commitment to training has paid off.
"Throughout the entire winter, I swam, biked, and did everything I could to maintain my training without putting too much pressure on my leg. Although going to the gym every day most likely caused my injury to linger a little bit longer than it would have if I'd rested it. It paid off because when I started running again I was actually faster than when I left. I was so eager and excited to run again that I was able to jump right back into it," said Turner.
As she nears the end of her high school track career, she still strives to reach the goals of breaking 5 minutes in the mile [which she broke in indoor track, 4:58] and to break 11 minutes in the two mile. "It will be a challenge to break a 5 minute mile this season because my school's prom is scheduled for the Friday of the group meet, meaning that my last 1600m race will most likely be sectionals," said Turner.
Turner has shared much of her success with her twin sister Kelsey, who also will be attending Brown University in the fall. "We motivate each other to be the best athletes we can possibly be. I wouldn't have achieved nearly as much as I've been able to without her running beside me every day," said Turner.
One of their favorite memories includes winning the Cross Country State Championship title for the second consecutive year. "That was a huge goal of ours at the beginning of the season and we were all so excited when we finally accomplished it. We all worked so hard throughout the entire season and it was an amazing feeling when it all paid off," Turner said.
There are bittersweet emotions as Turner will have a difficult time saying goodbye when the season comes to an end. "I'm going to miss my teammates and my coach [Corey Arnold] a lot next year," she said. "I've been running with the same group of girls for the past three years and I can't imagine what it will be like not having them training with me next year. My coach has taught me so much about the sport of running and I'm going to really miss his encouragement and enthusiasm."
The Pioneers Boys and Girls Track and Field teams placed sixth overall in team ranking at the Union County Championships with 16 events scored.
Other first place finishers include Mark Urness in Javelin with a throw of 172-06.50, a personal best; and Joshua Omovitz in Pole Vault clearing 13-06, a personal best.
Below are New Providence's top finishers:
1600 M: Jillian Turner placed 1st in 5:02.85; Megan Friscia placed 2nd in 5:10.14; Kelsey Turner placed fifth in 5:12.24;
Pole Vault: Julia Wilson placed 5th clearing 8-06; Jordyn Waeschle placed 9th clearing 7-06;
800 M: Kelsey Turner placed 5th in 2:19.16;
3200 M: Jillian Turner placed 1st in 11:01.98;
Javelin: Jordan Detlet placed 6th throwing 89-09;
100 M: Raphael Santos placed 10th in 11.40;
1600 M: Mark Pasquariello placed 4th in 4:25.35; David Adams placed 5th in 4:28.57;
Long Jump: Raphael Santos placed 9th jumping 20-09.50;
800 M: Robert Zeto placed 4th in 1:58.37;
3200 M: Mark Pasquariello placed 3rd in 9:44.47; David Adams placed 5th in 9:46.08;
Pole Vault: Joshua Omovitz placed first clearing 13-6; Cheney Price placed 9th in 11-00.