Moorestown graduate Natalie Cooper won her third straight NJAC individual cross country championship and led a College of New Jersey sweep of the top four places on the way to the team title.
Cooper, a TCNJ senior, became only the second woman to win three straight New Jersey Athletic Conference individual titles when she ran 22:47 over 6,000 meters at Dream Park in Logan Township.
The only other three-time winner was Beth Vesey of TCNJ, who won in 2001, 2002 and 2003.
TCNJ outscored second-place Rowan 20-55. It was TCNJ’s third straight team title, fifth in six years and 28th in 34 years, including eight titles from 1985 through 1995 when the Ewing Township school was known as Trenton State.
Seniors Erin Holzbauer of Robbinsville [23:19] and Madeleine Tattory of Delran [23:28] and sophomore Gabriella DeVito from Monmouth Regional [23:33] finished second through fourth overall, and TCNJ’s fifth scorer was freshman Emily Prendergast of Pascack Hills, who was 10th in 24:15.
“The goal was to come in and work on running as a pack for at least 2, 3K and then push from there,” TCNJ coach Justin Lindsey said. “They executed it well. Natalie really showed her dominance and to win three years in a row is something special.”
Freshman Kelsey Kobus out of West Windsor-Plainsboro South and junior Hannah Fay of Hunterdon Central didn’t score but did earn second-team all-conference status, placing 12th and 14th in 24:23 and 24:32.
TCNJ will race in the NCAA Division 3 Atlantic Regional Championships on Nov. 10 on the same course.
TCNJ is not nationally ranked in the Division 3 top 35 but has the most votes among “others receiving votes”
South Jersey high school grads took six of the first nine spots, including the top two freshmen — Cinnaminson’s Madison Edwards and Seneca’s Carley Tool, both from Rowan.
Here’s a look at all the South Jersey alums who finished in the top 25:
1. Natalie Cooper [Moorestown, TCNJ], 22:47
3. Madeleine Tattory [Delran, TCNJ], 23:28
6. Alexis Jones [Gloucester Twp. Tech, Rutgers-Camden], 23:49
7. Madison Edwards [Cinnaminson, Rowan], 23:57
8. Hannah Vendetta [Pitman, Rowan], 24:03
9. Carley Tool [Seneca, Rowan], 24:04
15. Jennifer Klavens [Washington Twp., Rowan], 24:37