Cherokee senior Kate Rathman is on her way back to the Meet of Champions after a big Holmdel PR at the state Group 4 meet.
Rathman qualified for the Meet of Champions as a wild-card after placing seventh in the hot Group 4 state meet in 19:05. Her previous Holmdel PR was 19:20 at Shore Coaches.
That 19:05 was 12th-fastest among all six state races Saturday and second-fastest among South Jersey runners, behind only Egg Harbor senior Olivia Shafer.
It also makes her the third-fastest performer in Cherokee history at Holmdel, behind Megan Lacy, whose best at Holmdel County Park was 17:54, when she won the 2010 state Group 4 meet, and Lisa Burkholder, who ran 18:52 when she was 9th at the 2004 Meet of Champions.
This has been quite a breakthrough fall for Rathman, who won her races at the South Jersey Open, County Open and Olympic Conference championships and was second at sectionals before taking seventh at states.
Rathman placed 53rd at the 2017 Meet of Champions in 19:58 and was the 8th South Jersey runner across the line. Last year she was 74th in 20:21 and 10th South Jersey finisher.
Here’s a look at all the Cherokee girls over the years who’ve placed in the top-30 at the Meet of Champions:
7. Megan Lacy, 18:29
4. Megan Lacy, 18:12
7. Megan Lacy, 18:47.84
27. Alison Weeks, 19:21
38. Kristen Lewis, 19:35
9. Lisa Burkholder, 18:53
29. Megan O’Leary, 19:35
8. Lisa Burkholder, 19:23
13. Malia Lyles, 19:48.23
39. Melissa Razo, 20:47.2
Rathman is a three-time indoor sectional champion and ran 5:02 and 11:03 on the track last spring. She’ll be the No. 2 returner in South Jersey this spring in both the 1,600 and 3,200. Rathman is planning to run for Delaware starting next fall.