Northern Burlington freshman Liliah Gordon opened her high school cross country career by posting the fastest time of the four class races Saturday at the 25th annual Cherokee Challenge.
Gordon ran 11:42 to win the 3,200-meter freshman race by about 100 meters over Mainland Regional’s Sofia Day, who ran 12:00.
Gordon’s time is fastest by a freshman at the Cherokee Challenge since Haddonfield’s Briana Gess ran 10:55 in 2013 and it’s 7th-fastest ever by a freshman in the Cherokee Challenge.
Gordon is no newcomer to high-level racing. The Chesterfield resident ran 5:18.06 for a full mile as an 8th-grader last year and finished 4th in the New Jersey Middle School XC Championships in the fall of 2019 as a 7th-grader. Last year, she placed 5th over 4,000 meters in the AAU National Cross Country Championships.
Here’s a look at the fastest freshman times in meet history. Three Olympians on this list, which is pretty wild!
10:55 … Briana Gess [Haddonfield], 2013
11:18 … Aislinn Devlin [Downington West], 2013
11:28 … Erin Donohue [Haddonfield], 1997
11:31 … Haley Pierce [Tatnall], 2008
11:36 … Chelsea Ley [Kingsway], 2006
11:38 … Vanessa Wright [Haddonfield], 2002
11:42 … Liliah Gordon [Northern Burlington], 2021
11:43 … Ajee Wilson [Neptune], 2008
11:45 … Elizabeth Edwards [Unionville], 2013
11:45 … Caroline Kellner [West Windsor-Plains. South], 2008
11:47 … Kate Hastings [Tatnall], 2010
11:47 … Natalie Ocasio [Lenape], 2009
11:48 … Marielle Hall [Haddonfield], 2006
11:49 … Catie Skinner [Penn Charter], 2009
Gordon is the third Northern Burlington girl to place in the top three in any girls race at the Cherokee Challenge.
In 1996, the first year the meet was held, Meghan Spence placed second in the sophomore race, and in 2003, Suzanne Bumbera took third in the freshman race.
The only other times a freshman posted the fastest time of the day were 1997, when Haddonfield’s Erin Donohue ran 11:28; 2002, when Vanessa Wright of Haddonfield ran 11:38; and 2013, when Haddonfield’s Briana Gess ran 10:55.