HOW THEY WON IT: Meet record 3:50 relay caps remarkable weekend for Lenape girls!!!

Over the next 48 hours, we’ll take a look at every South Jersey team that won a sectional title. Up next: Lenape girls!

With everything on the line, Lenape did what it always does. Put together a monster relay team.

Seniors Skyla O’Connor, Shannon Lambert and Megan Quimby and sophomore Shelby Whetstone ran the fastest 1,600-meter relay in South Jersey sectional history — 3:50.28 — and delivered the third South Jersey Group 4 sectional  title in the last six years to Lenape.

Going into the relay, there were five teams within five points, a ridiculous logjam that left the team title entirely up for grabs.

Howell led with 58 points, followed by Lenape (55), Rancocas Valley (54), Eastern (53) and Kingsway (53).

But Howell didn’t enter the 4-by-4. Howell’s best this year is a 4:16 and their only shot at the team title was essentially if everybody else fell down.

That didn’t happen.

O’Connor led off for Lenape with a 57.9 leg, Lambert ran 56.8, Quimby 59.5 and Whetstone left no doubt about it with a 55.9 anchor and Lenape crossed the line in 3:50.28, breaking the South Jersey Group 4 record of 3:51.59 set in 2008 by Southern Regional and breaking the overall South Jersey sectional mark of 3:50.88 set by Winslow last year.

Curiously, that 3:51.59 meet record gave Southern a three-point win and the team title nine years ago over Lenape.

It was the fastest time run by any school in any section Saturday, nearly four seconds faster than West Essex’s 3:54.06 in North 1 Group 3 at River Dell.

It was also No. 3 in the state this year, behind only Union Catholic, which ran 3:38.92 at Penn with Olympian Sydney McLaughlin anchoring in 50.37 seconds, and Winslow Township, which ran 3:48.08, also at Penn.

The time is No. 5 in Lenape history behind three times from 2015 — all between 3:49.25 and 3:49.97 — and the school-record 3:48.78 from third place at the 2014 Meet of Champions.

Cherry Hill East finished 20 meters back with a 3:54.64, and Rancocas Valley (3:57.95), Eastern (3:59.33) and Southern (3:59.88) were all also under four minutes.

That gave Lenape 65 points, Rancocas Valley 60, Howell 58, Eastern 57, Kingsway 54 and Cherry Hill East 50 in a crazy close six-team finish.

The team title was Lenape’s third in the last six years. The Indians out-battled Southern to win the 2011 and 2015 titles. Southern won every championship from 2006 through 2010 and again in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

So Lenape and Southern have combined to win 11 of the last 12 South Jersey Group 4 titles, although neither has won back-to-back titles since Southern in 2009 and 2010. Cherokee won the other one in 2013.

Quimby had her usual big meet for Lenape, placing third in two very fast races. She ran 2:16.83 and 5:03.49 for 16 big points. Junior Alexa Woltjen PR’d at 5:04.99 for fourth in the 1,600.

Lambert ran a personal-best 56.87 for fourth in the 400 and also took third in the 200 in 25.29. And Whetstone also PR’d in the 400, taking third in 56.62.

Junior Cassie Hoxit cleared 10-6 to win the pole vault and score 10 big points for the Lenape cause, and senior jumper Skyla O’Connor added eight points with a third in the triple jump (35-3 1/2) and a fifth in the long jump (16-7). Alexis McDonald added a fifth in the high jump with a 5-0 clearance.

Lenape also took fourth in the 3,200-meter relay in 9:44.64 with freshman Rebecca Thomas, juniors Talia Hartman and Woltjen, and Quimby anchoring.

Lenape has been as consistent as virtually any school in the state over the past decade on the sectional level under coaches Gerald Richardson and Jack Walsh. Check out this consistency:

SOUTH JERSEY GROUP 4 TEAM SCORING
2005: 1. Winslow Twp. 72.25, 2. Southern 60.25, 3. Lenape 49.25
2006: 1. Southern 92, Lenape 71
2007: 1. Southern 95, 2. Lenape 59
2008: 1. Southern 83 1/2, 2. Lenape 80
2009: 1. Southern 107, 2. Lenape 78
2010: 1. Southern 99, 2. Lenape 85
2011: 1. Lenape 107, Southern 86
2012: 1. Southern 83, 2. Cherokee 79.33, 3. Lenape 74
2013: 1. Cherokee 110, 2. Southern 107 … 9. Lenape 9. 13
2014: 1. Southern 67, 2. Lenape 57
2015: 1. Lenape 133, 2. Kingsway 81 … 4. Southern 52
2016: 1. Southern 92.5, Lenape 75
2017: 1. Lenape 65, 2. Rancocas Valley 60 … 8. Southern 38

Since 2005, Lenape has placed third or better 12 out of 13 years, with 2013 the only exception. During that span, the Indians have won three times, placed second seven times (all behind Southern!!!) and placed third twice.

The Southern-Lenape rivalry was incredible, but Southern’s eighth-place finish this year was its worst since 2001! Incredibly, Southern placed in the top four 15 consecutive years.

During that span, Southern won eight titles, placed second four times and was fourth twice.

All eight times Southern won South Jersey Group 4, a Lenape district school was second!

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