Cherokee junior Katie Rathman ran the third-fastest time in Mill Creek Park history when she won the Burlington County Open on Friday.
Only Megan Lacy, a Foot Locker finalist for Cherokee, has ever run faster on the 5,000-meter layout in Willingboro with the two short but steep hills.
Since the course was extended from three miles to 5,000 meters in 1983, Rathman is only the fourth girl to break 19 minutes at Mill Creek.
When Deanna Germano ran 18:54 in 1985, the course was substantially different – the point where the runners turn left to head out of the woods after the trail parallel to the Rancocas Creek changed significantly. But we’ll include it here because the course is actually faster now than it was then.
In any case, Rathman won the race in 18:54, one second faster than Isabella Turner’s winning time for Shawnee last year. That would have been a heck of a race but sadly Turner is hurt right now and didn’t race.
The County Open was held at Mill Creek through 1993. It moved to Cherokee for five years, then back to Mill Creek in 1999, then to Freedom Park in Medford in 2000 and has been back at Mill Creek since 2001.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 performers and performances in Mill Creek history:
17:53 … Megan Lacy [Cherokee], 2010
18:53 …….. Lacy, 2011
18:54 … Katie Rathman [Cherokee], 2018
18:54 … Deanna Germano [Shawnee], 1985
18:55 … Isabella Turner [Shawnee], 2017
19:56 … Caitlin Orr [Lenape], 2009
18:58 … Natalie Ocasio [Lenape], 2012
19:02 ……. Rathman, 2017
19:04 ……. Lacy, 2009
19:05 ……. Orr, 2008
19:07 … Mara Schiffhauer [Seneca], 2013
19:09 … Lisa Syvertson [Shawnee], 1986
19:14 … Paige McCauley [Seneca], 2012
19:16 … Kara Bonner [Shawnee], 2013
Rathman became Cherokee’s first individual winner since Lacy won her second straight in 2011. Lacy set the course record of 17:53 in 2010. She was second to Lenape’s Caitlin Orr in 2009.
Other Cherokee winners are: Monica Olkowski [20:52 in 1988, 2015 in 1989], Madeline Hoos [19:31 in 1997], Megan O’Leary [20:05 in 2004], Lisa Burkholder [19:18 in 2005], Alison Weeks [19:26 in 2006], Angela Weeks [20:10 in 2007]
Cherokee raced very well at the Open, placing a close second to Shawnee, which finished with a 49-62 margin of victory.
Freshman Nicole Clifford ran 19:39 for fourth place, freshman Sophia DeLuca was 10th in 20:43 and junior Alyssa Blackmon took 15th in 21:05.
The Chiefs had three other underclassmen in the top 40, and if they can get one of them closer to those first four they will be very tough.