Southern's Jill Smith wins 800 at Nike Outdoor Nationals
By MICHAEL McGARRY Staff Writer, 609-272-7185
Published: Sunday, June 22, 2008


Jill Smith of Southern Regional High School finished her junior track and field season as an undefeated national champion Saturday.

Meanwhile, Nijgia Snapp of Oakcrest broke a local 400-meter dash record held by an Olympic medalist.

Smith won the 800-meter run at the Nike Outdoor National Championships in a personal-best 2 minutes, 5.24 seconds. She held off Rebecca Addison of Spring Lake, Mich., (2:05.61). Southern Regional sophomore Chelsea Cox finished fifth in a personal-best 2:09.57.

The Nike Outdoor National Championships feature many of the country's top scholastic athletes. The National Scholastic Sports Foundation names the top six finishers in each event All-Americans. Smith, Cox, Snapp and Ocean City miler Brett Johnson each earned All-American honors Saturday.

Four-time U.S. Olympian Joetta Clark, who ran 2:03.79 for Columbia in 1979, is the only New Jersey girl to run an 800 faster than Smith, who did not lose an individual race this spring.

Meanwhile, Snapp finished fourth in the 400 dash in 53.64 seconds. Nadonnia Rodriques of Brooklyn won in 52.86.

Snapp's time broke the Press-area record of 54.04 set in 1998 by Nadia Davy, a Bridgeton graduate and a member of the Jamaican 1,600 relay team that won a bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Snapp was the top New Jersey finisher. Michelle Brown of Seneca, who beat Snapp in the Meet of Champions earlier this month, was fifth in 53.96. Brown and Snapp ran in different heats.

In the boys mile, Johnson ran 4:11.22 to finish sixth overall and fifth in his heat. Robert Finnerty of Burnsville, Minn., won in 4:05.25.

In other events, Demetrius Rooks of Absegami just missed All-American honors, finishing seventh in the 400 hurdles in a personal-best 52.87 seconds. Cordarol Madison of Norfolk, Va., was sixth in 52.86. Spencer Adams of Charlotte, N.C., won in 50.99.

Other local competitors Saturday were: Dustin Roadside, Egg Harbor Township, 19th in the freshman mile run in 4:45.65; Miles Schoedler, Ocean City, 20th in the freshman mile run, 4:47.45; Victoria Imbesi, Our Lady of Mercy Academy, 14th in the javelin, 121 feet; Brooke Kott, Millville, 17th in the 800 run, 2:16.46; Millville girls 1,600 relay team, 25th, 4:00.77; Pleasantville boys, 14th in 800 sprint medley, 1:36.14.

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