Chris Marco, Toms River South, boys track athlete of the year

Chris Marco, Toms River South, boys track athlete of the year


Chris Marco, Toms River South, boys track athlete of the year


Regardless of the sport and the level, one monster performance in an important spot can change the perception of an athlete. In this case, the perception of Chris Marco as a distance runner changed and all it took was 4:07.31 on June 11.

In that span of time, the Toms River South junior went from a very talented distance runner who had yet to reach his full potential to an elite runner capable of defeating almost anyone in New Jersey.

That 4:07.31 won him the NJSIAA Meet of Champions 1,600. That time broke the meet record and left him as the 12th fastest 1,600-meter runner ever in New Jersey, a state with a lengthy and distinguished history at the distances.

That win came 10 days after he finished second in the Group III 1,600, a race where he admittedly fell asleep at the wheel a little bit on the third lap in running 4:12.80.

On June 11, he wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice.

“The exact words going through my mind were, ‘I’m not losing the Meet of Champions,’ ” Marco said just moments after his MOC win. “I was hoping to go 4:09, but I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect it to go that quick. I came into the race knowing I had a chance to win and knowing that I had as good a chance as anyone else.”

A strong sophomore season outdoors followed by several quality runs indoors last winter set Marco up with some momentum and a considerable buzz entering this spring and he did not disappoint.

He began his championship season by winning three races at the Ocean County County Championships, the 800 (personal best 1:52.33), 1,600 (4:23.34) and 3,200 (personal best 9:25.58). That triple was followed by winning the Shore Conference 1,600 (4:14.0), South Jersey Group III 800 (1:53.48) and South Jersey Group III 1,600 (4:12.80).

The runner-up finish in the Group III 1,600 was followed by another runner-up showing in the Group III 800 in 1:53.29 that weekend before the MOC.

When it was all done, Marco went an impressive 7-2 in championship races across all three distances.

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