Nwogwugwu, the reigning state champ over that distance (and two-time indoor 400 champ), made up the stagger on Barnes early on, but the Cheltenham sophomore wouldn't go away. They hit the final stretch stride-for-stride and in a dash to the finish, Nwogwugwu outlasted Barnes.
Nwogwuwgu posted a time of 54.87, a PA#1, for the UPenn-bound senior. That's also the first time in her career that she's dipped under 55 seconds in the quarter mile during the regular season. It's a sign of great fitness for Nwogwugwu, who won the Class AAA state title in 54.09 (her PR) last spring.
Barnes, meanwhile, clocked a 55.14, which is over a two second outdoor open PR. It's also a PA#2. Barnes, who is also apart of Cheltenham's prolific 4x100 meter relay, was eighth at indoor states in the 400 meters, but after Saturday, she seems primed to improve upon that.
Barnes did get redemption later, however. She supplied a strong third leg on the Panthers' 4x400 meter relay and Alexis Crosby brought it home as Cheltenham ran a PA#1 3:49.56 to beat second place North Penn.
This isn't the last we've seen of Nwogwugwu vs. Barnes. The pair could see a rematch at the District 1 Championships, along with some other strong 400 meter runners like Crosby. Watch the 400 meters at Jim Kelly above and watch an interview with the Nwogwugwu and her North Penn teammate Mikaela Vlasic below: