Senior Allie Pierontoni and the Kingsway girls mixed it up with most of the top-ranked teams in the state and emerged with a strong third-place finish in the Group 4 state XC Championships Saturday and a wild-card berth into the Meet of Champions.
Kingsway averaged 19:57 on the 5,000-meter course at Holmdel County Park, 5th-fastest of all schools Saturday and 7th-fastest time ever recorded by a South Jersey school at Holmdel.
The Lady Dragons finished with 109 points, behind only New Jersey No. 3-ranked North Hunterdon (41) and No. 1-ranked Ridgewood (76) and ahead of No. 4-ranked Ridge (128).
Kingsway is ranked No. 9 in the most recent state poll. In all, Kingsway ran faster Saturday than four of the eight schools ranked ahead of them and beat another of those eight.
The top eight teams that didn’t finish first or second in any of the six state championship races advance as teams to Saturday’s Meet of Champions, and Ridge (19:54) and Kingsway (19:57) were the two-fastest.
Pierontoni ran a Holmdel PR 19:28 for 15th place and then the Dragons placed four runners — all underclassmen in a five-second span between 29th and 33rd. Pierontoni’s previous Holmdel PR was a 19:41 at the 2017 Meet of Champions
Sophomore Allison MacFarland, junior Ashlynne Burke, freshman Aubrey Pierontoni and junior Sydney Watts all ran between 20:02 and 20:07.
Here’s a look at all the sub-20 averages by South Jersey schools at Holmdel (let us know in the comments section if you see someone missing!):
19:35.42 … Haddonfield, 2013 [5th, M-of-C]
19:45.35 … Kingsway, 2017 [2nd, M-of-C]
19:49.67 … Shawnee, 2013 [7th, M-of-C]
19:53.83 … Haddonfield, 2005 [6th, M-of-C]
19:56.01 … Haddonfield, 2013 [2nd, Group 2]
19:56.20 … Cherry Hill East, 2006 [7th, M-of-C]
19:56.36 … Kingsway, 2019 [1st, Group 4]
19:57.01 … Haddonfield, 2005 [1st, Group 2]
19:57.40 … Seneca, 2013 [2nd, Group 3]
19:58.88 … Kingsway, 2016 [3rd, M-of-C]
19:59.1 ….. Moorestown, 2001 [1st, M-of-C]
19:59.70 … Cherokee, 2010 [6th, M-of-C]
Kingsway’s 19:57 average was fifth-fastest of all schools that raced Saturday, behind Group 4 winner North Hunterdon (19:07), Group 4 runner-up Ridgewood (19:36), Group 3 winner Middletown South (19:42) and Group 4 fourth-place finisher Ridge (19:54).
Kingsway was third at the Meet of Champions in 2016 and second in 2017.