North Brunswick Township High School’s Ramy Berberena would not be a state champion without his biggest rival, Freehold Township High School’s Felix Lawrence.

On May 24 at Howell High School, in the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 4 sectional meet, Berberena finished second to Lawrence in the 400-meter hurdles event.

The loss motivated Berberena to practice even harder, and to ultimately beat Lawrence in the next two big events of the 2019 season– the NJSIAA Group 4 championship on June 1 at Franklin High School in Somerset and the NJSIAA Meet of Champions on June 8 at Northern Burlington County Regional High School in Columbus.

In the 400-meter hurdles final at both meets, Berberena came from behind to beat Lawrence and win the championships. At the Meet of Champions, the biggest New Jersey meet of the season, Berberena finished the final in 52.23 and beat 31 other adversaries, including Lawrence.

This latest victory left no doubt that Berberena is the best 400-meter hurdler in New Jersey. But after it was over, the junior acknowledged that he owed his victory to Lawrence.

“Every time I race him I get a personal record,” Berberena said. “When we get on that line together, it turns me up.”

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