Even with No. 1 runner Derek Gess still sick and unable to race, Haddonfield found a way Saturday to get past two-time defending champion Voorhees and win its 16th state cross country title and 10th since 2000.
The only schools to win more state titles than Haddonfield are Christian Brothers Academy of Lincroft (27 going into today) and Bernards (23). Among South Jersey schools, Haddon Township (10), Paul VI (7), Bishop Eustace (6) and Cherokee (5) have won the next-most.
Sophomore Martin Riddell and junior Greg Eisenhower both placed in the top six, and four other Haddonfield underclassmen finished in the top 30 to thwart Voorhees, which placed four runners in the top 14.
Haddonfield outscored Voorhees 53-69, and although Voorhees had a faster average (16:49 to 16:55), Haddonfield won with a 40-second pack between its first and fifth runners (and 41 seconds between 1 and 6).
Riddell placed third in 16:35 and Eisenhower sixth just seven seconds back. Junior Ethan Spellmeyer was 14th in 16:59, junior Sean Campiglia 20th in 17:06 and junior Griffin Weiner 26th in 17:15. Sixth man Stephen Kasko, a sophomore, ran 17:16 for 28th place overall. Senior Richie Glennon also raced for the Bulldogs.
Gess, a 1:55 half-miler last year and the Colonial Conference XC champ this fall, has been battling illness for two weeks and dropped out of the race at sectionals last weekend at about two miles.
Haddonfield won its first state title in 1978 in Group 2 and repeated two years later. The Bulldogs won four state Group 1 titles between 1985 and 1990 then, after nine years without a title, began the current run of 10 titles in 18 years in 2000 back in Group 2.
This championship was Haddonfield’s first since 2014. The Bulldogs haven’t gone more than three years without winning a state title since 1996 through 1999.