S.J. girls primed for historic showing at 44th annual Meet of Champions!!!

It could be a historic day for South Jersey Saturday at the 44th annual Meet of Champions cross country championships at legendary Holmdel County Park.

South Jersey runners own four of the top eight times going into Saturday from the various state meets, and that doesn’t take into consideration that Brianna Gess has run almost a minute faster in the past at Holmdel than she did at states on Saturday.

Here are your top eight seeds for Saturday morning:

18:06 … Alyssa Aldridge, Mainland Regional
18:27 … Olympia Martin, Ridgewood
18:27 … Grace Yoon, Cherry Hill East
18:28 … Rachel Vick, Kingsway
18:29 … Niamh Hayes, Howell
18:38 … Jade Tricomy, Toms River North
18:39 … Elene DiMarcello, North Hunterdon
18:42 … Brianna Gess, Haddonfield

Three of the four girls that broke 18:30 at states are from South Jersey, and although anything can happen Saturday, it does set up the possibility for the first truly deep South Jersey finish at Meet of Champions in years.

Here’s a look at all the South Jersey girls who broke 20 minutes at states and are in the field Saturday:

18:06 … Alyssa Aldridge [Mainland Reg.]
18:27 … Grace Yoon [Cherry Hill East]
18:27 … Rachel Vick [Kingsway]
18:42 … Briana Gess [Haddonfield]
19:00 … Alyssa Condelll [Timber Creek]
19:18 … Alexa Weber [Ocean City]
19:23 … Sarah Pierce [Cherry Hill East]
19:27 … Madison Coppolino [Sterling]
19:49 … Destiny Stanford [Kingsway]
19:55 … Carley Tool [Seneca]
19:57 … Julia Rothstein [Clearview]

It’s been seven years since South Jersey had four girls in the top eight at a Meet of Champions. In 2009, Kingsway’s Chelsea Ley, Highland’s Megan Venables and Haddonfield’s Marielle Hall swept the top three spots, and Megan Lacy of Cherokee was seventh.

The last time even three South Jersey runners placed in the top eight was 2010, when Venables and Holly Bishof of Bishop Eustace went 1-2, and Cherokee’s  Lacy finished fourth.

South Jersey is also looking for its fourth consecutive individual title. following wins by Gess in 2013, Devin Grisbaum of Ocean City in 2014 and Aldridge last year.

Going back to Ley in 2009, Venables in 2010 and Bischof in 2011, South Jersey girls have won six of the last seven titles after winning just six of the previous 36.

Here’s the updated all-time South Jersey Holmdel list:

17:28 Megan Venables [Highland Reg.], 2010
17:40 Michelle Rowen [Washington Twp.], 1982
17:44 Chelsea Ley [Kingsway], 2008
17:45 Briana Gess [Haddonfield], 2013
17:55 Megan Lacy [Cherokee], 2010
18:05 Alyssa Aldridge [Mainland], 2015
18:09 Holly Bischof [Bishop Eustace], 2010
18:12 Brittany Sedberry [Ocean City], 2004
18:17 Marielle Hall [Haddonfield], 2009
18:18 Theresa Catunna [Cherry Hill East], 2006
18:20 Devin Grisbaum [Ocean City], 2014
18:22 Vanessa Wright [Haddonfield], 2004
18:27 Erin Donohue [Haddonfield], 2000
18:28 Grace Yoon [Cherry Hill East], 2016
18:29 Rachel Vick [Kingsway], 2016
18:38 Casey Doyle [Shawnee], 2007
18:40 Mindy Rowand [Sterling], 1984
18:40 Dina Iacone [Washington Twp.], 2011
18:41 Shelby Cain [Haddonfield], 2011
18:43 Amanda Goetschius [Delsea], 2005
18:44 Arianna McKinney [Highland], 2003
18:49 Mara Sschiffhauer [Seneca], 2013
18:50 Dawn Cody [Paul VI], 1982
18:50 Jamie Wisgerber [Woodstown], 1994
18:50 Meghan Malloy [Haddonfield], 2011
18:52 Lisa Burkholder [Cherokee], 2004
18:53 Renee Tomlin [Ocean City], 2005
18:57 Lori Watson [Cherry Hill East], 1983
18:58 Abbey Hartman [Ocean City], 1996
18:59 Wendy Westphal [Highland], 1982
18:59 Kara Bonner [Shawnee,], 2015
19:00 Katie Van Horn [Triton], 2004

The official NJSIAA Meet of Champions, which lists all the boys and girls individual and team winners  in meet history is here.

The boys race is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., with the girls race following at 11:45 a.m.

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