2007-05-09 / Sports

Cougars' Forys smashes three state records in single race

BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer

Staff Writer

Craig Forys keeps finding ways to leave his mark on New Jersey high school track and field.

As if the Colts Neck senior hadn't done enough already with his trunkload of Meet of Champions titles, the Holmdel Park course record and a national championship, he added to his growing legend Friday night when he toppled three state records in one race. The Cougar went to the Henderson Invitational in West Chester, Pa., looking to break the state record for the two-mile run, 8:52.0, held since 1979 by Bernards' Charles Logan. He got that with a national-leading 8:48.99. But en route to the record, he broke the state 3,000- (8:15.5) and 3,200-meter (8:46.04) records.

"It's a good feeling," Forys said of his triple record. "I had a lot of help. Everything worked out. The conditions were perfect."

After following pacemakers for three laps, Forys bolted to the lead at 1,500 meters, passing the first mile in 4:28.2.

It was Forys and Pennsylvania state champion Paul Stringer from Unionville for the second mile, and they worked together for the next two laps, increasing the pace. Forys then took the lead back on the seventh lap and started a long drive toward home.

"I just wanted to make a strong move," he pointed out.

Stringer began to lose ground ever so slightly, but with 600 meters to go, Forys was starting to pull away. At the bell lap, Forys was on target to smash the state record, passing through in 7:44.3. There was no sign of tying up or fatigue on the last lap as Forys kicked coming off the last turn, stopping the clock in 8:48.99, getting the sought-after record and becoming the first New Jersey runner to break 8:50. Behind him, Stringer broke the Pennsylvania record with his 8:52.86. Forys' last mile was run in 4:20.8.

The race was called by Pennsylvanians the finest high school two-mile race in the Keystone State.

Forys said it was his 4:04.2 1,600 meters at the Penn Relays that signaled he was ready for his record attempt.

"Penn was a good sign," he said. "I thought I could break 8:50."

Despite his many achievements, Forys had yet to set an outdoor state record, something he thought he had to do before he leaves Colts Neck and heads to the University of Michigan.

"I've done a lot of things I wanted to do," he said of his scholastic career, and setting a state record was one of those.

He took care of that with his trio of records Friday night. It was his Holmdel Park course record back in November, that still stands out the most to him.

"It's not quite like Holmdel," he said. "It (8:50) was a good barrier to break. It feels good."

The previous state record for the 3K was 8:17.9 by Mohamed Khadraoui from Kennedy High School and the 3,200 record was 8:53 by Khadraoui.

Ashley Higginson is starting to leave her mark as well. The Cougar senior set her second state record of the spring, this one the 2,000-meter steeplechase, saying she wanted to see "if the steeplechase is in my future." It just may be, after her state-record 6:50.39 at Rowan University on Friday night. Danielle Tauro of Southern Regional had held the mark at 7:18.30.

Higginson's teammate, Allie Flott, was second with a strong 7:30.66.

Last month Higginson set the state 5,000-meter record in Princeton posting a 16:38.31.

This week Forys and Higginson will try to lead their teams to Monmouth County Championships at Neptune High School.

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