Paul VI’s Shaelan McNally runs huge PR for 4th at non-Public A sectionals!!!

Paul VI freshman Shaelan McNally had a big race at the Non-Public A cross country sectionals Sunday, placing 4th with an all-course 5K PR of 19:35.

McNally’s previous PR was 19:54 earlier this month at the Bob Kiessling South Jersey parochial championships at Pennypacker Park in Haddonfield, which she won by half a minute.

At sectionals, McNally finished 28 seconds behind Red Bank Catholic sophomore Cate DeSousa, who won the race in 19:07 on the Oak Ridge Park course in Clark.

McNally’s time is 4th-fastest in course history by a freshman, only 11 seconds off the freshman course record of 19:24 set by Union Catholic’s Abby Granrath at the 2018 Union County Championships.

Eleni Alvarez of St. Thomas Aquinas was second in 19:22 and Granrath third in 19:30.

Red Bank Catholic won the team title with 42 points, with Union Catholic second at 51 and Paul VI third with 96.

Senior Katie Sparks was PVI’s No. 4 runner in 13th place in 20:54, and another freshman, Gisella Croge, took 23rd in 21:49. Junior Katlyn McDonald [27th in 22:12] and freshman Madison Pedicelli [29th in 22:26] also scored for Paul VI.

Sophomore Kamryn Cieslik [30th in 22:45] finished one spot behind Pedicelli, and junior Carlyann Carey [34th in 23:38} gave Paul VI seven across the line before any other school.

Camden Catholic also raced, with sophomores Casey Bednarek and Leah Clear placing 16th and 18th in 21:10 and 21:18.

Eustace girls take 3rd in South Jersey Non-Public XC Championships!!!

Sophomores Arianna Cane and Elena Cicchini and freshman Carly Troy recorded top-10 finishes and Bishop Eustace raced to third place in the Sunday at Oak Ridge Park in Clark.

Trinity Hall of Tinton Falls won with 44 points, followed by St. Rose of Belmar with 80, Eustace with 82, the Wilberforce School of Princeton with 99 and Wildwood Catholic 5th with 111 points.

Cane ran 20:50 for 5th place, Cicchini 21:06 for 7th place and Troy 21:36 for 10th place. Eustace’s other scorers were freshman Amelia Ingersoll [25th in 25:32] and senior Charlotte Gottilla [37th in 25:42]. Junior Emma Barger also raced for Eustace Sunday.

St. Rose sophomore Tilly O’Connor, 3rd in the state Parochial B meet last fall, won the race in 19:03.

Also in the top 10 was Wildwood Catholic senior Julia Sorensen, who ran 21:07. Sorensen was a state medalist at 1,600 and 3,200 meters last spring.

Senior Alyia Gray-Rivera also finished in the top 20 for Wildwood Catholic, taking 18th in 22:41.

Haddonfield girls score 34 points in sectional merge!!!!!

The Haddonfield girls took three of the top four spots in the sectional merge and have six runners in the top 20!

Haddonfield, ranked No. 1 in the state, and No. 9 Cherokee account for 11 of the top 22 times in compiled by Tomahawk Timing from the four South Jersey sectional XC races held Saturday at DREAM Park in Logan Township.

The four-fastest times come (and 7 of the top 14) from the Group 2 race, which is in part due to the level of talent in the race but also because the condition of the course gradually deteriorated throughout the day.

Haddonfield seniors Sarah Naticchia, Allison Colflesh and Payton Weiner ran 18:37, 18:59 and 19:19, the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 4 times of the day.

Collingswood senior Sophie Steidle, the Group 1 indoor 1,600 state champion, ran 19:13.

Naticchia’s time is No. 4 in course history, Colflesh is No. 7, Steidle is No. 10 and Weiner is No. 11.

Freshman Anne Earp [20:11] and senior Lindsay Colflesh [20:18] were 13th- and 14th-fastest of all the races, which means Haddonfield scores 1-2-4-13-14 in a merge for 34 points.

Cherokee went 9-11-15-21-22 for 78 points in the seventh race of the day, with Kerry O’Day [19:56], Kelsey Niglio [20:08], Nicole Clifford [20:19], Olivia Parkinson [20:24] and Alaina Bromley [20:26].

Other South Jersey girls under 20 minutes were Highland sophomore Grace Wassell [5th in the merge, 19:24], Delsea senior Carly Nicholson [7th, 19:31], Cherry Hill East sophomore Alexis Tepper [8th, 19:51] and Highland junior Princess Nwoga [10th, 19:59].

Also in the top 25 in the merge:

Schalick senior Julia Smith [12th, 20:10], Timber Creek junior Vanessa Marinero [16th, 20:19], Haddonfield sophomore Sabrina Miller [17th, 20:21], Mainland freshman Claudia Booth [18th, 20:21], Cherry Hill East senior MaryKathleen McCurdy [19th, 20:23], Washington Township senior Maura Keene [20th, 20:24], Ocean City senior Alexa Palmieri [23rd, 20:28], Clearview sophomore Abigail Waddington [24th in 20:30] and Clearview senior Katherine Byrne [25th, 20:31].

Here’s the top 10 in team scoring in the merge: Haddonfield 34, Cherokee 78, Cherry Hill East 141, Clearview 196, Mainland Regional 198, Ocean City 298, Southern Regional 323, Williamstown 324, Shawnee 348, Eastern 378.

Here’s an updated look at the all-time top-25 on the DREAM Park course, which has only been in use for three years:

17:52 … Isabella Turner [Shawnee], 2018 South Jersey Shootout
18:22 … Kate Rathman [Cherokee], 2018 Olympic Conference Championships
18:29 … Kate Ruona [Shawnee], 2020 Olympic Conference Batch Meet
18:37 … Sarah Naticchia [Haddonfield], 2020 Sectionals
18:49 … Katy Storti [Bishop Eustace], 2018 Olympic Conference Championships
18:59 … Claire Hauser [Shawnee], 2019 Olympic Conference Championship
18:59 … Allison Colflesh [Haddonfield], 2020 [Sectionals
19:04 … MaryKathleen McCurdy [Cherry Hill East], 2019 Olympic Conference Championships
19:07 … Clare Morelli [Bishop Eustace], 2018 Olympic Conference Championships
19:13 … Sophie Steidle [Collingswood], 2020 Sectionals
19:19 … Payton Weiner [Haddonfield], 2020 Sectionals
19:21 … Katie Sparks [Paul VI], 2019 Olympic Conference Championships
19:23 … Sarah Pierce [Cherry Hill East], 2018 Olympic Conference Championships
19:24 … Grace Wassell [Highland], 2020 Sectionals
19:25 … Samantha Apanovitch [Hunterdon Central], 2019 S.J. Shootout
19:29 … Maura Keane [Washington Twp.], 2019 Olympic Conference Championships
19:29 … Lily Oliver [Toms River South], 2020 Sectionals
19:31 … Carly Nicholson [Delsea], 2020 Sectionals
19:33 … Cassidy Quinn [Hunterdon Central], 2019 S.J. Shootout
19:34 … Alexa Palmieri [Ocean City], 2018 S.J. Shootout
19:37 … Alexis Tepper [Cherry Hill East], 2020 Olympic Conference Championships
19:41 … Emma Klouchek [Seneca], 2019 Olympic Conference Championships
19:43 … Nicole Clifford [Cherokee], 2019 Olympic Conference Championships
19:44 … Kate Cochran [Washington Twp.], 2019 Olympic Conference
19:45 … Madison McNiff [Cherry Hill East], 2019 Olympic Conference Championships
19:46 … Angela Bannan [Holy Spirit], 2018 S.J. Shootout
19:47 … Princess Nwoga [Highland], 2020 S.J. Open
19:50 … Kerry O’Day [Cherokee], 2020 Olympic Conference Championships
19:50 … Allison Helkowski [Kingsway], 2019 S.J. Shootout
19:58 … Shelby Whetstone [Lenape], 2018 Olympic Conference Championships
19:59 … Alyssa Turner [Mainland Regional], 2018 S.J. Shootout

Here are the fastest runners by county:

Atlantic: Claudia Booth [Mainland Regional], 18th, 20:21
Burlington: Kerry O’Day [Cherokee], 9th, 19:56
Camden: Sarah. Naticchia [Haddonfield], 1st, 18:37
Cape May: Alexa Palmieri [Ocean City], 23rd, 20:28
Cumberland: Cassidy Blough [Millville], 147th, 24:08
Gloucester: Carly Nicholson [Delsea], 7th, 19:31
Salem: Julia Smith [Schalick], 12th, 20:10

Schalick’s Julia Smith wins 3rd straight SJ-1 race!!! Haddon Twp. girls take team title!

Schalick senior Julia Smith on Saturday joined some elite company, becoming only the second girl to win three straight South Jersey Group 1 sectional XC titles.

Smith ran 20:10 over 5,000 meters, finishing more than a minute ahead of the field at DREAM Park in Logan Township.

Smith ran 19:59 in 2018 and 19:40 in 2019 at Delsea to win her first two sectional titles.

The only other girl to win three straight in SJ-1 is Allyson Krayl of Point Pleasant Beach, who won four straight from 1999 through 2002.

Smith is the 15th girl to win at least three straight South Jersey sectional titles and the 13th from a South Jersey school.

Here’s a look at every repeat winner in South Jersey girls sectional XC history:

Four in a row
Erin Donohue [Haddonfield], Group 2 [1999, 2000], Group 1 [1997, 1998]
Allyson Krayl [Point Pleasant Beach], Group 1 [1999, 2000, 2001, 2002]
Vanessa Wright [Haddonfield], Group 2 [2002, 2003, 2004, 2005]
Marielle Hall [Haddonfield], Group 2 [2006, 2007, 2008, 2009]
Briana Gess [Haddonfield], Group 2 [2013, 2014, 2015, 2016]

Three in a row
Monique Purcell [Holy Spirit], Group 3 [1976, 1977, 1978]
Eva Marie Berardi [Williamstown], Group 2 [1977, 1978, 1979]
Mindy Rowand [Sterling], Group 3 [1983, 1984, 1985]
Liz Moore [Shawnee], Group 4 [1992, 1993, 1994]
Brittany McCann [Delsea], Group 3 [1999, 2000, 2001]
Brittany Sedberry [Ocean City], Group 3 [2002, 2003, 2004]
Danielle Tauro [Southern Reg.], Group 4 [2004, 2005, 2006]
Chelsea Ley [Kingsway], Group 3 [2007, 2008, 2009]
Alyssa Aldridge [Mainland Reg.], Group 3 [2015, 2016, 2017]
Julia Smith [Schalick], Group 1 [2018, 2019, 2020]

Two in a row
Renee DeFeo [Clayton], Group 1 [1976, 1977]
Michelle Rowan [Washington Twp.], Group 4 [1981, 1982]
Ruth Lockbaum [Glassboro], Group 1 [1984, 1985]
Mary Jo Dougherty [Ocan City], Group 3 [1986, 1987]
Mihele Owen [Clearview], Group 2 [1986, 1987]
Janet Rue [Pitman], Group 1 [1990, 1991]
Megan Hartman [Ocean City], Group 3 [1992, 1993]
Amy Beykirch [Pinelands Reg.], Group 2 [1995, 1996]
Alicia Pipkin [Haddon Twp.], Group 1 [2001, 2012]
Lindsey Ritchings [Point Pleasant Beach], Group 1 [2003, 2004]
Amanda Goetschius [Delsea], Group 3 [2005, 2006]
Jillian Smith [Southern Reg.], Group 4 [2007, 2008]
Megan Lacy [Cherokee], Group 4 [2010, 2011]
Danielle Leavitt [Lacey Twp.], Group 3 [2011, 2012]
Meghan Malloy [Haddonfield], Group 2 [2011, 2012]
Vicky Ajimoko [Williamstown], Group 4 [2012, 2013]
Isabella Turner [Shawnee], Group 4 [2017, 2018]

Schalick placed three runners in the top 10 and scored 43 points, finishing second to Haddon Township, which went 2-3-6-7-11 for 29 points and won its sixth sectional title in the last 14 years and seventh overall.

Smith also won sectional titles in the 1,600 and 3,200 at the state Group 1 track meet last spring, so she’s now a five-time South Jersey champion.

Smith’s 20:10 is fastest by a Group 1 girl in the three years the DREAM Park course has been in use.

For Haddon Township, junior Regan Shemeley ran 21:13 and sophomore Meghan Lax 22:23 for second and third place. Freshman Genieve Gentlesk and junior Kaelin Marshall ran 23:03 and 23:07 for 9th and 10th, and junior Ellie Sennhenn completed Township’s scoring group with a 16th place in 24:15.

Junior Mia LaMarra was Schalick’s second finisher, taking 5th in 22:23 after placing 8th as a sophomore.

Others in the top 10 included Pennsville junior Taylor Burchfield [4th in 22:23], Pitman senior Nicole Murphy [6th in 22:44], Audubon senior Greta Davis [7th in 22:50] and Cape May County Tech senior Lindsay Robbins [8th in 22:55].

Cherokee tops Cherry Hill East & Southern in tight battle between three N.J. top-15 teams!!!

Cherokee packed its five scorers in 40 seconds Saturday and rolled to its 10th sectional title Saturday and second in a row.

Seniors Nico Grilli and Brett Shea led the way for the Chiefs, Grilli in 3rd in 16:28 and Shea in 6h in 16:33 over the water-logged 5K DREAM Park course in Logan Township.

The race featured three of the state’s top-14 ranked teams going in: No. 6 Cherry Hill East, No. 11 Cherokee and No. 14 Southern Regional.

Cherokee outscored Cherry Hill East 48-63, with Southern third third on a 6th-runner tiebreaker with Cherry Hill East.

Cherokee went 3-6-11-12-16, Southern 1-4-14-21-23 and Cherry Hill East 7-8-10-18-20. Cherry Hill East had beaten Cherokee by three in the Olympic Conference Championships last month.

Sophomore Patrick Ditmars, senior Dylan Odud and sophomore Conor Jacob clinched the win for the Chiefs, Ditmars 11th in 16:53, Odud 12th in 16:54 and Jacob 16th in 17:08. Freshman Nick Kuenkel was Cherokee’s sixth finisher, 19th in 17:16, and junior Bradley Popler also raced, taking 36th in 17:44.

This is the first time Cherokee has won consecutive sectional titles since 1999 and 2000, when the Chiefs won their fourth and fifth in a row. Cherokee also won SJ-4 titles in 2007, 2011, 2016 and 2019. The Chiefs went on to win the state title last year.

Cherokee’s 10 sectional titles trails only Haddonfield [40], Haddon Township [20] and Cinnaminson [12] among South Jersey schools and is most among South Jersey Group 4 schools, three more than Cherry Hill East and Toms River North.

Southern’s Jackson Braddock, the state Group 4 champion last year and an 8:54 two-miler on the track, won the race in 16:02, matching Brady Shute of Gateway-Woodbury for fastest time of the day [The FAT  camera gave Shute a 2-100ths-of-a-second edge, 16:02.97 to 16:02.99.]

Clearview senior Anas Bensaoud ran 16:25 for 2nd, and Washington Township senior Julian Lawson was 5th at 16:31. Seniors Gabe Rodriguez and Aidan Eyre took 7th and 8th for Cherry Hill East in in 16:39 and 16:43, Egg Harbor Township senior Nick Valdivieso was 9th in 16:48, and Aidan Groff of Cherry Hill East took 10th in 16:52.

Cherokee girls place 5 in top 8 in record-setting S.J. Group XC championship!!!!!

The Cherokee girls packed five runners in 30 seconds and rolled to a record-setting team title in the South Jersey Group 4 XC sectionals Saturday.

Cherry Hill East Alexis Tepper was the overall winner in 19:51, but Cherokee had five of the next seven finishers on the water-logged 5K course at DREAM Park in Logan Township.

Freshman Kerry O’Day, sophomore Kelsey Niglio and junior Nicole Clifford placed 2nd, 3rd and 4th for Cherokee, with freshmen Olivia Parkinson and Alaina Bromley not far behind in 7th and 8th.

O’Day ran 19:56, Niglio 20:08 and Clifford 20:19. Parkinson and Bromley crossed the line in 20:24 and 20:26. Noelle Falzone and Allison Rathman also ran sub-21 and gave Cherokee all seven finishers in the top 17.

It was the first time this year O’Day was Cherokee’s first finisher.

Cherokee finished the season undefeated.

The title is Cherokee’s second and first since 2003, when the Lady Chiefs had overall winner Lisa Burkholder squeaked by Shawnee, 63-64.

This one wasn’t nearly as close. Cherokee finished with a 24-61 margin over Cherry Hill East, with Clearview third with 90 points.

Scoring against the entire field, Cherokee would have won 24-31. 

Cherokee, ranked No. 9 in the state, equalled the second-lowest score in South Jersey Group 4 sectional history and tied the lowest score ever by a South Jersey school.

Brick Township won the 1987 race with 21 points, and Shawnee won the 1994 race with 24 points. Long-time Seneca coach (and now athletic director) Karen O’Neill was on that team and placed second in that race behind teammate Liz Moore.

Here’s a look at the lowest team scores in South Jersey Group 4 sectional history:

21 … Brick Township, 1987
24 … Cherokee, 2020
24 … Shawnee, 1994
27 … Brick Township, 1978
28 … Toms River North, 1977
28 … Toms River East, 1984
30 … Brick Township, 1985
31 … Brick Township, 1986
32 … Shawnee, 1983
33 … Shawnee, 1993
35 … Toms River North, 1976
35 … Shawnee, 2001
36 … Toms River North, 1979
36 … Toms River North, 1978 [2nd]
37 … Shawnee, 1995
37 … Brick Township, 1988
37 … Paul VI, 1987 [2nd]
40 … Shawnee, 1991
40 … Paul VI, 1989
41 … Paul VI, 1986 [2nd]
42 … Shawnee, 1990
42 … Brick Township, 1989 [2nd]
43 … Shawnee, 1996
46 … Toms River East, 1980
49 … Shawnee, 1991

History repeats itself as Audubon boys win first sectional title in 42 years!!!!!

Last time Audubon won a sectional XC title was 1978, and the Green Wave’s first three runners went 2-4-7 on the way to a huge win in South Jersey Group 1.

Why is that relevant? Get this: On Saturday Audubon won its first sectional title since 1978 and their first three runners? Went 2-4-7.

In 1978, Ed Wickersham, Al Colburn and Lee Widman  finished 2-4-7 and the Green Wave won Group 1 by a 37-104 margin over Pitman over a 3-mile course at Pennsauken. 

Some 42 years later, senior Zachary Williams placed 2nd, senior Enrique Herrera 4th and sophomore Joseph Gaspari 7th as Audubon repeated that 2-4-7 finish. In 1978, Audubon’s fourth runner, Jeff Gross, was 10th. This time around, senior Jonathan Lapp did one spot better, taking ninth.

Audubon finished with a 34-65 margin of victory over Haddon Township, with Maple Shade taking third with 67 points.

Junior Tyler Wells was Audubon’s fifth finisher Saturday, taking 12th in 18:12. Also racing for the Green Wave were junior Aaryn Myers [16th in 18:50] and junior Clifford Gilmore [23rd in 19:27].

Until 2018, Audubon hadn’t placed in the top three at sectionals, but the 2018 team took 3rd and las years Audubon was 2nd.

Haddon Township finished in the top 3 for the 16th consecutive year.

Brady Shute remains undefeated, propels Gateway-Woodbury to historic finish!!!

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].

Cole Wassell joins father, sister as sectional champion, leads Highland to team title!!!!!

Senior Cole Wassell became the second member of his family to win a sectional title on Saturday and the third member of his family to win one in the last 25 years.

Wassell ran 16:06 over the DREAM Park 5K course in Logan Township Saturday morning, running away with the South Jersey Group 3 individual title and leading Highland to the team title.

Wassell outran junior Dennis Fortuna of Triton by 150 meters. Fortuna took second in 16:38. Highland recorded a 47-66 win over Ocean City, with Mainland third at 91.

Wassell’s younger sister, Grace, a Highland sophomore, won her second straight sectional title earlier in the day. Their father Jay Wassell was a sectional champ for Highland with S.J. Group 3 titles in 1994 and 1995.

Senior Tom Raws ran 16:47 for 4th for Highland and then sophomores Gavin Gallo, Cole Knoedler and Anthony Imperatore finished 11th, 15th an 16th in 17:17, 17:44 and 17:46. Seniors Joseph DeBeaumont and Steven Sherill also raced for the Tartans.

Other South Jersey runners in the top 10 were Ocean City junior Owen Ritti [5th in 16:52], Timber Creek senior Michael Henry [6th in 16:54], Ocean City senior Tyler Greene [7th in 17:07], Triton junior Caleb Messenger [9th in 17:15] and Ocean City senior Brendan Schlatter [10th in 17:17].

Highland’s other sectional champs are Jerry Andrews in 1979 and Josh Clark in 2015, although Nate Miller went on to win the 1998 Meet of Champions after placing second to Murad Campbell at sectionals.

The team title was Highland’s 4th since 2013 and 7th overall. That’s tied for 4th-most in South Jersey sectional history, behind Haddonfield [40], Haddon Township [20] and Cinnaminson [13] and tied with Cherokee.

Highland also won Group 3 in 2003 and 2013, 2014 and 2015 and Group 4 in 1993 and 1994.

Booth, Malone and Lovett lead Mainland girls past Ocean City in S.J. Group 3 XC!!!

Mainland unseated Ocean City, which had won the last three South Jersey Group 3 sectional titles, with Mainland finishing second twice and third once.

Mainland finished with a 47-73 margin of victory over Ocean City, with Toms River South edging Highland for fourth, 103-104.

The team title is Mainland’s third. The Mustangs won Group 3 in 1981 with Becky Leon and Trish Levin in the top 10 and 2016 behind Alyssa Aldridge, Emily Dirkes and Emily Forester.

Highland sophomore Grace Wassell successfully defended her individual title, running 19:24 on the 5K course at DREAM Park in Logan Township and edging Lily Oliver of Toms River South by 20 meters. More on Wassell’s race soon.

For Mainland, freshman Claudia Booth, junior Lily Malone and freshman Gillian Lovett led the way in 5th, 7th and 8th, Booth in 20:21, Malone 20:44 and Lovett 20:56.

The Mustangs then placed senior Giselle Obergfell, freshman Chloe Malone and sophomore Sydney Luff in 12th [21:36], 15th [21:59] and 16th [22:01]. Seventh runner junior Savannah Hodgens wasn’t far back, in 23rd in 22:29.

Other South Jersey runners in the top 10 were Highland junior Princess Nwoga [3rd in 19:59], Timber Creek junior Vanessa Marinero [4th in 20:19] and Ocean City senior Alexa Palmieri [6h in 20:28].