Junior Julia Smith won her second straight individual title and led the Schalick girls to their first sectional championship in 23 years Saturday.
Smith ran 19:40 and junior teammate Chloe Gerstenbacher was second in 20:11, and Schalick outscored second-place Haddon Township, 27-64, to win the South Jersey Group 1 title at Delsea.
It’s the first 1-2 finish by teammates in the SJ-1 race since Kiersten Lapp and Sarah Meighan of Pitman went 1-2 in 2013.
Schalick’s 27 points is the 7th-lowest score ever in South Jersey Group 1, the lowest since that same Pitman team scored 22 in 2013.
Senior Marleigh Puglia (5th in 20:50), sophomore Mia LaMarra (8th in 21:12) and sophomore Autumn Heaton (12th in 21:35) gave Schalick five scorers in the top 12.
Pitman was led by senior Sarah Brennan and sophomore Angelina Harris in 3rd and 4th in 20:28 and 20:49.
Others in the top 10 were senior Darby Williamson (6th in 21:04) and sophomore Regan Shemeley (7th in 21:08) of Haddon Township, senior Danielle Gallo of Buena (9th in 21:21) and junior Lindsey Robbins of Cape May County Tech (10th in 21:25).
The 1996 Schalick team, led by Jen Struck in 3rd and Sandy Ogbin in 6th, won South Jersey Group 1 by three points, 49-52, over Maple Shade.
Pitman and Haddon Township had won the previous 14 South Jersey Group 1 girls XC titles, Pitman in 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2018 and Haddon Township in 2007, 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2016.
The last school other than Pitman or Haddon Township to win the Group 1 sectional title was Gloucester back in 2004.
Smith is the first repeat winner in SJ-1 since Alicia Pipkin of Haddon Township in 2011 and 2012. Other repeat winners throughout the event’s history are Renee DeFeo of Clayton (1976, 1977), Ruth Lockbaum of Glassboro (1984, 1985), Pitman’s Janet Rue (1991, 1992), Haddonfield’s Erin Donohue (1997, 1998) and Allyson Krayl (1999, 2000, 2001) and Lindsey Ritchings (2003, 2004) of Point Pleasant Beach.
Junior Tia Furbush (29th in 23:42) and sophomore Molly Wood (32nd in 23:55) also raced for Schalick.