The Cherry Hill East and Cherokee girls, two of the top XC teams in South Jersey, met in the season opener for both teams Saturday in a six-team Olympic Conference batch meet at DREAM Park in Logan Township.
Racing against Paul VI, Camden Catholic, Winslow and Eastern, Cherokee and Cherry Hill East swept nine of the top 10 places.
Although team scoring wasn’t kept, Cherokee went 2-5-6-8-10 for 31 points unofficially, and Cherry Hill East went 1-4-7-9-11 for 32 points.
Cherry Hill East sophomore Alexis Tepper ran 19:57 on the 5,000-meter course, finishing first overall, 16 seconds ahead of Cherokee junior Nicole Clifford.
Senior MaryKathleen McCurdy [4th in 20:23], junior Madison McNiff [7th in 20:49], sophomore Inesa Grace Linker [9th in 21:12] and senior Sabrina Rounds [11th in 21:24] rounded out Cherry Hill East’s top five.
Cherokee backed up Clifford with sophomore Kelsey Niglio [5th in 20:35] and three freshmen running their first high school race – Kerry O’Day [6th in 20:39], Alaina Bromley [8th in 20:57] and Olivia Parkinson [10th in 21:15].
The only runner from a school other than Cherokee or Cherry Hill East in the top 10 was Paul VI freshman Shaelan McNally, who was 3rd in 20:17.
Other girls under 22 minutes in the varsity race were Camden Catholic sophomore Casey Bednarek [12th in 21:45] and Eastern senior Sierra Feeney [13th in 21:52].
Two girls in the JV race broke 22 minutes – Paul VI freshman Gisella Croge won in 21:40, which would have taken 12th in the varsity race, and Cherokee freshman Allison Rathman ran 21:54.