TOMS RIVER — With the help of a teammate, Voorhees High School distance runner Clarissa Modde posted the second-fastest time in the 3,200-meter run the NJSIAA Group II championships Thursday evening at the Bennett Center, qualifying for the Meet of Champions in the process.
Modde, a senior, finished the race in 11:05.00, 1½ seconds behind Julia Guerra of Indian Hills, to secure a spot in the March 1 Meet of Champions.
“I started off pretty strong; I wanted to take the first mile pretty steady and really pick it up in the last mile,” Modde said. “I felt really good and I really picked up the pace with about 800 meters to go and it was really good.”
Modde said that having teammate Erin McLaughlin in the race with her was a big positive, as McLaughlin ran in the same pack with Modde for the majority of the race before fading a bit at the end. But McLaughlin will join Modde at the Meet of Champions after finishing in 11:12.61, good for fifth place.
“It always helps having a teammate in there with me,” Modde said. “I like running with my teammates and this is a good step for us. The goal was making it to Meet of Champions and I really wanted to win today, and I got really close. There wasn’t much more I could do, but I feel like I have some momentum now going into that next meet.”
Voorhees’ girls finished in a five-way tie for 11th place, with Modde and McLaughlin scoring the only 10 points of the meet.
Also scoring a trip to the Meet of Champions from Voorhees was Anthony Capone, who finished sixth in the 1,600-meter run. Capone, a senior, finished in 4:29.41, which was just eight-tenths of a second behind fifth place Nicholas Rivera of Camden.
Alex Livernois of Scotch Plains-Fanwood, who came in third in the 3,200-meter run at 9:35.13, also qualified for the Meet of Champions.
Rounding out the local winners was Moneta-kai Price of Plainfield, who scored a sixth-place finish in the 55-meter hurdles in Group III. Price crossed the finish line in 8.03 seconds, improving over his qualifying time of 8.08 earlier in the day.