Briana Gess has been racing for most of her life.
She is used to tough competition. She is used to winning, too - especially in the 1,600 meters in the Meet of Champions. This was something new.
This was a step-for-step, elbow-to-elbow sprint between Gess, a Hadddonfield junior, and Freehold Township senior Ciara Roche for the final 100 meters of the event at Central Regional High School. "I've never been in a race like that," Gess said after her dramatic victory. "It was neck-and-neck all the way down the stretch. It was a great experence."
Gess pulled a step on front after the runners clanged elbows with about 20 meters to go to win the race for the third consecutive year. Her time was 4 minutes, 50.09 seconds.
"It was so exciting to be part of it," Gess said.
Gess' third consecutive victory in the 1600 meters was part of a imposing showing by South Jersey athletes at the gathering of top finishers from last weekend's state championship meets.