Junior Brady Shute finished an undefeated season with his first sectional XC title Saturday, racing away from Collingswood senior Josh Forrest to win the South Jersey Group 2 sectional race.
Shute, a senior at Woodbury who competes for the combined Gateway-Woodbury Co-Op program, ran 16:02, fastest time of the day with the Group 4 race still to come.
Forrest ran 16:11, an all-course 5K personal-best, for second.
Shute is the first Woodbury student ever to win a sectional XC title. The best previous finish at sectionals by a Woodbury runner was Seymour Hayes’ 2nd-place in Group 1 in 1982 behind Haddonfield’s Blair Murphy.
Since Shute is also competing for Gateway, he joins Greg Stremmel and Paul Greenhalgh as Gateway’s third sectional champ. Stremmel won Group 2 in 1972 and 1973 and went on to win the Meet of Champions in 1973. Greenhalgh won SJ-2 in 1984.
It was a good day all around for Gateway-Woodbury, which placed third behind Haddonfield and Haddon Heights and would have earned a trip to states in a normal season.
Gateway-Woodbury’s best previous finish as a joint program was a 5th place in 2012. Gateway and Woodbury have competed as a single program since 2010.
Woodbury’s last top-3 team finish was a third place in 1988 and the Thundering Herd’s last superior finish was a 2nd-place in 1970. Looking at it through a Gator lens, it’s Gateway’s best finish since a second in 1985. Gateway won S.J. Group-2 in 1973 behind overall winner Greg Stremmel.
Freshman Peyton Shute ran 11th for Gateway-Woodbury in 17:04, senior Griffin Campbell and junior Mike Torelli finished 29th and 30th in 18:14 and 18:15 and senior Josh Baxter took 49th in 19:16.
Peyton Shute ran just two seconds off the course record for freshmen set last year by Cherokee’s Conor Jacob, who ran 17:02 at the Olympic Conference JV meet.
Haddonfield went 3-5-6-7-10 for the team title, which you can read about here.
Also in the top 10 were Lower Cape May Regional junior Zeb Hinker [16:21 for 4th] and the West Deptford duo of senior Zach Rhoda [8th in 16:39] and Jacob Cobb [9th in 16:45].