In the spring of 2019, Ruth Itua became the best girls’ sprinter in Sayreville War Memorial High School history.
She also became one of the best sprinters in the state of New Jersey.
On June 8 at Northern Burlington County Regional High School in Columbus, in the NJSIAA Meet of Champions, Itua broke Sayreville’s program record in the 200-meter dash. The junior completed the race in 24.52.
Last season, Itua also broke the program record in the 400-meter dash, posting a 56.48 in the 2018 NJSIAA Meet of Champions. She now holds two of Sayreville’s three dash records.
The only dash record that Itua didn’t break in the past two years was the 100-meter mark, but she still qualified for the 2019 Meet of Champions in the 100-meter dash. In the biggest Garden State meet of the season, the junior ran in the 100-meter dash and in the 200-meter dash, placing sixth in both events.
It was an impressive conclusion to a really strong campaign.
“It was good,” Itua said. “And it means a lot.”
Earlier in the spring, Itua even won a championship. On May 25 at Howell High School, the junior won the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 4 sectional meet title in the 200-meter dash. She finished the race in 25.00 seconds, beating 44 other competitors for the title.
Itua accomplished all this despite missing the winter indoor track season with an injury. She didn’t implement any sort of special routine to work her way back from the ailment. The junior just worked hard and kept the faith, and both paid off.
“It’s only God, bro,” Itua said, laughing.
“And my coaches were really helpful,” she added.
In facing the void of not being able to run, Itua could only control what she could control and hope for the best. The experience brought a measure of mental peace that helped her once her health improved and the spring season rolled around.
“I focused more on my mental state this season and just tried to push it all throughout the workouts and stuff,” Itua said.
The junior actually qualified for the Meet of Champions in three events. She just didn’t run in the 400-meter dash “due to its proximity to the 100 finals for this meet,” explained Sayreville coach Joe Pastva.
Itua became elite from all distances this spring. The fact that she made the Meet of Champions in all three sprint events showed that. And she still has a year to go at Sayreville.
She is very excited for her senior year, especially because she should get a winter season as well.
“I want to set personal records and make it to nationals in the 100,” Itua said.
Sayreville’s top sprinter fell short of qualifying for the New Balance Nationals Outdoor meet this spring. But she undoubtedly set new standards for Sayreville and competed with the best sprinters in New Jersey.
Going national will be next year’s challenge.
“This season felt good,” Itua said. “I came in hoping to make meet of champs, and I’m happy I made that goal.”
“I’m looking forward to senior year,” she added.