Add one more accolade to Dana Giordano’s high school track career, and this one is huge: The Bernards senior broke a 29-year-old state record Friday night.
Competing in the two-mile race at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C., Giordano placed third in 10:16.30. That converts to a 10:12.30 for 3200 meters, which breaks the New Jersey schoolgirl standard of 10:12.8 set by Washington Township’s Michelle Rowen in 1983.
Incredibly that was not enough to garner a gold medal at the nationals as local Wesley Frazier of Raleigh, N.C., broke the tape in 10:13.43 and Salt Lake City’s Natalie Shields took second in 10:14.16.
Giordano led the race until the final 200 meters. She didn’t realize her achievement until someone told her shortly after the finish.
“I still can’t believe it. I didn’t realize it was that fast,” Giordano said. “This puts a nice cap to the end of my senior year. I’m so proud that I did it.”
Going into the nationals, the Dartmouth-bound star’s top 3200 time was 10:20, set while placing second at Monday’s NJSIAA Meet of Champions. The winner of that race, Mendham’s Mackenzie Barry, finished 11th in Greensboro in 10:34.
“She (Giordano) kind of needed that race to be able to run this one,” Bernards coach Dave Szostak said. “That was really the first hard effort he had in that event all year.”
Last year, Giordano placed eighth in this meet in a converted 10:24.
“I figured another year of training and she could take a crack at it (the state record),” Szostak said, “but you only get one or two shots at this kind of thing a year and you have to make the most of it.”
Giordano almost scratched from Friday’s race due to an illness. But she recovered, and on Saturday went on to anchor the Mountaineers to fourth place in the girls 4xmile. The quartet of Laura Quintana (5:10), Kate Gunson (5:34), Zoe Wojtech (5:15) and Giordano (5:01) tallied 21:02.73. Converted to 4×1600 that equates to a 20:55.53, which ranks No. 13 in state history and lowers the Somerset County record they set earlier this season.
Union Catholic wins
Union Catholic’s boys put the punctuation mark on a superb season Friday by winning the sprint medley in 3:23.15. That ranks fourth in state history and eclipses the Union County record of 3:23.2 set in 1981 by Plainfield, which was anchored by eventual Olympian John Marshall.
Senior Allen Eke anchored the Vikings with a blazing 1:49.39 split. Junior Mike DeAngelis, senior Darryl Costello and sophomore Jordan Jimerson (49.14 400 split) ran the first three legs.
Liverpool (N.Y.) finished second in 3:23.98. The New Jersey state record in the event is 3:22.71, set by Vineland in 2002.
In Saturday’s boys 800, eke placed seventh in 1:51.36.