In a tight meet like the South Jersey indoor Group 2 sectionals, you can rarely afford to just lose 10 points.
Webb was first across the line in the 1,600 in 5:20-ish, but she was DQ’d for interfering with another runner along the final turn on the 200-meter Bennett Center track.
Several coaches who witnessed the alleged infraction immediately came to Webb’s defense, explaining to meet officials that Webb had herself been accidentally jostled by another athlete and only interfered as a reaction to being interfered herself and losing her balance. Even the coach of the athlete who Webb supposedly interfered made it clear that Webb should not have been DQ’d.
But the NJSIAA inexplicably has no appeals process for such calls, and the DQ stood.
It could have been a deadly ruling for Seneca, but the Golden Eagles rallied and scored enough points to overcome the Webb DQ and win their third sectional title since 2009.
Seneca got huge points in the 800 and shot put and clinched the team title by placing second in the 1,600-meter relay. Even without Webb’s 10 points in the 1,600, Seneca squeaked by Delsea, 53-50.
Sophomore Kayla Martin led a 1-2-4 finish in the 800, winning in 2:22.43, with Webb second in 2:25.85 and freshman Sydny Warner fourth in 2:27.25. Warner also ran third in the 1,600 in 5:24.52 (which means Seneca actually only lost eight points with Webb’s DQ, since Warner moved up from fourth), and Martin was fifth in the 400 in 61.40
Senior Kalyn Bryan threw a near-PR 33-6 3/4 for second in the shot and eight more big points.
The Golden Eagles also got five points from junior Rebecca Bohi, who cleared 9-0 and tied for third in the pole vault; a point from freshman Carley Tool, sixth in the 3,200 with an 11:58.55; and one surprising point from freshman Samantha Derkas, who was the eighth seed in the hurdles final after a 9.60 but ran 9.38 for sixth.
But the clincher was the 1,600 relay.
Going into the 4-by-4, Delsea led Seneca 50-45, but Seneca ran second and Delsea didn’t place, and Seneca had its first indoor sectional win in five years.
Senior Madison Chant, freshman Grayce Heinemann, junior Danielle LeSaint and Martin ran 4:10.73, finishing safely head of third-place Oakcrest (4:14.49) for second place. Delsea would have needed to place fourth to win the team title, and that would have taken a time of 4:18.19 or better. The Crusaders ran 4:20.16, finishing less than two seconds away from winning.
It’s hard enough to win a meet like this against quality teams like Deptford and Delsea without a shaky officiating call. Seneca overcame a lot Friday to be the best in South Jersey Group 2!