Tremendous team battle Saturday at the South Jersey Open, where Lenape edged Cherry Hill East by two points to win the Division 3 [large-school] team title.
Lenape packed five runners in the top 14, all breaking 17:20. Senior Kevin Lauer was the overall winner, covering the flat 5,000-meter Delsea course in 16:35.
Later became Lenape’s first individual winner at the South Jersey Open since Anthony Kelhower won the 2004 title.
The team title was Lenape’s first at the South Jersey Open since they won their second in a row in 2010. The Indians placed eighth last year. They were second to Kingsway in 2012 and 2013.
Cherry Hill East did a masterful job of pack running, with all five scorers and their sixth man all finishing between 16:50 and 17:22. That’s a 32-second gap between one and six.
But Lenape was just a tiny bit better.
From 17:02 through 17:17, four Lenape runners crossed the line, led by junior James Vizzard [ninth in 17:02], sophomore Matt Richardson [12th in 17:13], senior John Civitillo [13th in 17:14] and junior Zaven Kazandjian [14th in 17:17].
Junior Kerry Benson [19th in 17:27] and senior Finley Buchanan-Jacobs [24th in 17:38] gave Lenape all seven of its starters a spot in the top 25.
Cherry Hill got junior Jack Quarry [fifth in 16:50], sophomore Oliver Adler [sixth in 16:54] and junior Kyle Krell [eighth in 16:58] under 17 minutes, with freshman Justin Whitney [15th in 17:21] and sophomore Paul Bruce [17th in 17:22] just behind. Senior Jerry Cherian backed up East’s pack placing 18th in 17:22, and junior Andy Zhong [27th in 17:44] wasn’t far back.