Marin Warner has been one of the top distance-runners in the Shore Conference dating back to her freshman year when she burst on the scene via a 4:58.74 mile at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions as a freshman.
A lot of racing and winning has gone on since that evening in June 2012, but one of the final cross country efforts of her career last month one of her more memorable showings.
In what turned into a duel through the backwoods of the vaunted state-championship course at Holmdel Park between her and Haddonfield sophomore sensation Brianna Gess, Warner emerged from those backwoods in the lead and then out-kicked the 2013 Meet of Champions winner, 18:37-18:44 for the first Group II title of her career.
“It was awesome because I won it against the past winner of the Meet of Champions, so it was an honor to get it against one of the best runners in the state,” Warner said. “That was really exciting and the fact I beat her at the finish, it was a great race.”
Outdoing Gess on of the state’s biggest cross country stages was arguably the highlight of Warner’s final cross country season, but it wasn’t the only highlight. She followed that by running 18:36 to finish sixth the following week at the MOC. Warner was one of 15 girls to break 19:00 that day and she was the top Shore Conference finisher by 32 seconds.
Locally, Warner was lights out, winning the Shore Conference title in 17:39 at Ocean County Park in Lakewood, then went 18:31 to win Monmouth County at Holmdel Park. Her 18:20 at Thompson Park netted her the Central Group II title.
The Monmouth County, Shore Conference and Central Group II crowns were all repeat wins.
“They’re all special, but I think this one is especially special because I’m a senior this year and this is my last year,” Warner said. “I was able to win a Group title and get my second titles at Monmouth County, Shore Conference and Central Jersey Group II. Just being able to win those again was just a great finish.”
Warner’s attention will now turn to indoor track, where she is expected to again be one of the top milers in the state. She finished her last outdoor season in June consistently getting under 5:00 in the season’s biggest events. She topped out at the MOC by running a personal best 4:49.88 for sixth in a race that saw 11 girls break 5:00 and four get under 4:50. Gess won that race in 4:45.97.
Staff writer Josh Newman: firstname.lastname@example.org