Alyssa Aldridge etched her name into the record books Saturday by becoming only the third South Jersey girl in the meet’s 44-year history to win consecutive Meet of Champions titles.
The Mainland Regional junior covered the Holmdel County Park hills in 17:55, a personal best on the historic 5,000-meter layout and the fifth-fastest time ever by a South Jersey girl at Holmdel.
Aldridge won last year’s race in 18:07 and became the first girl to repeat since Melanie Thompson of Voorhees in 2007 and 2008.
The only other repeat winners from South Jersey are Olympian Erin Donohue of Haddonfield in 1999 and 2000 and Ocean City’s Brittany Sedberry in 2003 and 2004.
This is a record four straight wins by South Jersey girls. Haddonfield’s Briana Gess, second Saturday, won in 2013, and Devin Grisbaum won in 2014.
South Jersey girls have won seven of the last eight individual titles after winning just six of the first 36.
Aldridge won by about 450 meters over Gess. Her 40-second margin of victory is largest in 16 years, since Erin Donohue finished 46 seconds ahead of Jesse Mizzen of Passaic Valley in 2000. Kingsway’s Rachel Vick placed third, making it a 1-2-3 South Jersey sweep, and also led the Dragons to a remarkable third-place finish.
It’s the first sweep of the top four places by South Jersey girls since 2009, when Kingsway’s Chelsea Ley, Highland’s Megan Venables and Haddonfield’s Marielle Hall took the first three spots.
Here is the updated all-time South Jersey performance list at Holmdel:
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
17:55 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
There’s plenty more to talk. The Kingsway girls ran great. So did Shawnee. Alyssa Condell of Timber Creek broke 19 at Holmdel. And we’ll go over the boys race, too! All coming up later today and in the next few days!