The Cherry Hill East girls packed their five scorers in 61 seconds and won a close three-way battle at the Olympic Conference Championships.
Cherry Hill East won the American Division 35-44 over Cherokee, and Shawnee won the Patriot Division, 24-50, over Seneca.
In the overall meet, Cherry Hill East outscored Cherokee 57-65, with Shawnee third at 73. It’s Cherry Hill East’s fourth title in the last six years and sixth overall. East also won in 2005, 2006, 2014, 2016, 2018.
The Cougars, ranked No. 3 in South Jersey, showed incredible depth, with seven finishers in the top 22.
East had only one of the first 10 finishers but four of the next seven.
Junior MaryKathleen McCurdy led East in 4th place in 19:04, behind only Cherokee three-time winner Kate Rathman [18:26] and freshman Kate Ruona [18:32] and senior Claire Hauser [18:59] of Shawnee.
Shawnee and Cherokee both had three across before East’s No. 2, but East runners packed together in 11th, 12th and 13th to wrap up the team title.
Sophomore Madison McNiff ran 11th [19:45], freshman Alexis Tepper 12th [19:56] and senior Aliza Kotzen 13th [20:00] for East, with junior Isabel Slimm [17th in 20:06] clinching the title.
The 16-point gap between first and third makes this the closest three-way finish in Olympic Conference girls XC history. The previous closest three-way finish was a 17-point gap in 2014, when Cherry Hill scored 44, Cherokee 53 and Washington Township 61.
Since placing sixth at Shore Coaches, Rathman has finished first in the South Jersey Open, Burlington County Open and Olympic Conference Championships.
Rathman became the first three-time winner in meet history.
Previous two-time winners:
Eva Marie Berardi [Williamstown], 1978, 1979
Michelle Rowen [Washington Twp.], 1981, 1982
Claudine Evangelista [Triton], 1998, 1999
Theresa Cattuna [Cherry Hill East], 2005, 2006
Caitlin Orr [Lenape], 2008, 2009
Megan Lacy [Cherokee], 2010, 2011