Groff becomes first Cherry Hill East runner to win sectionals in 32 YEARS!!!!!!

He was third two years ago, he was second last year, and this time Aaron Groff wasn’t going to let anybody beat him.

Groff, Cherry Hill East’s senior, continued his terrific season Saturday by winning the South Jersey Group 4 race in 15:25, tied for ninth-fastest in course history over 5,000 flat meters at Delsea Regional.

As a sophomore, Groff finished 12 seconds behind Kingsway’s Noah Culbreath and about a second behind teammate Ben Dillon. Last year, he finished less than a second behind Culbreath. On Saturday, he left no doubt, finishing more than 10 seconds ahead of Jackson’s Ryan Rafferty.

Incredibly, Groff became Cherry Hill’s first individual sectional winner in 32 years, since Bill Stewart won the 1983 race. East’s only other individual winner was Bruce Miller in 1981.

Cherry Hill East beat a loaded field, outscoring Cherokee 54-82 to win its third straight team title. East becomes only the second school ever to win three straight South Jersey Group 4 titles. The other was Cherokee from 1997 through 2000.

Let’s take a look at the rest of Cherry Hill East’s scoring group:

10th – Isaiah Jean-Baptiste, 16:26
12th – Cole Parsons, 16:27
14th – Mark Meltzer, 16:31
17th – Tyler Parsons, 16:32

That’s two through five in a six-second span, which is incredible pack running. Especially in such a competitive race.

Groff moved into the No. 9 spot on the all-time course list:

  • 15:18 … Peter Hess [Toms River North], 2002
  • 15:22 … Greg Hughes [Mainland Reg.], 2003
  • 15:22 … Kyle Kroon, [Toms River South], 2012
  • 15:22 … Kyle Kroon, [Toms River South]. 2013
  • 15:22 … Keith Krieger [Cherokee], 2002
  • 15:24 … Chris Platt [Haddonfield], 2002
  • 15:24 … Jon Vitez [Haddonfield], 2009
  • 15:24 … Lou Corgliano [Hammonton], 2013
  • 15:25 … Joe Kotran [Toms River North], 2009
  • 15:25 … Aaron Groff [Cherry Hill East], 2015
  • 15:27 … Connor Herr [Shawnee], 2011
  • 15:30 … Jim Kavaliauskas, Highland Regional, 2003
  • 15:30 … Luke Petela [Haddon Twp.], 2014
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