Chiefs win their own Cherokee challenge with Nikki Clifford & Olivia Parkinson both winning class races

.Nicki Clifford won the senior race and Olivia Parkinson the sophomore race to lead Cherokee to the girls team title at the 25th annual Cherokee Challenge Saturday in Marlton.

The team title is the first ever for the Cherokee girls at their traditional season-opening home meet. Last year’s meet was cancelled.

Cherokee outscored Summit 14-45 and Conestoga High of Berwin, Tredyffrin Township, Chester County, Pa., was third with 51. Mainland Regional placed second among South Jersey schools with 69 points.

Team scoring is determined by adding together the place of each school’s top runner in each of four class races.

Cherokee is ranked No. 7 in New Jersey and No. 2 in South Jersey behind Haddonfield, which did not compete at Cherokee Saturday. Summit is ranked No. 13 in the state.

For Cherokee, Kelsey Niglio was fourth in the junior race in 12:11, and Kerry O’Day placed a non-scoring seventh in the sophomore race in 12:36. Megan Niglio took eighth in the freshman race in 13:11.

Clifford’s time was 2nd-fastest overall, behind Northern Burlington freshman Liliah Gordon, who ran 11:43. Parkinson was 7th-fastest overall and Niglio was 11th-fastest. They also ranked No. 2, No. 6 and No. 7 among South Jersey girls.

Clifford and Parkinson are Cherokee’s first class winners since 2011, when Megan Lacy ran 10:55 to win the senior race. Parkinson is Cherokee’s first sophomore winner since Lisa Burkholder in 2003.

Cherokee also won the combined boys and girls team scoring title with 71 points, ahead of second-place Summit with 45.

TOP 25 SOUTH JERSEY RUNNERS
11:42 … ***Liliah Gordon [Northern Burlington]
11:43 … Nikki Clifford [Cherokee]
11:44 … *Abby Waddington [Clearview]
12:00 … *** Sofia Day [Mainland Regional]
12:04 … ** Olivia Parkinson [Cherokee]
12:11 … * Kelsey Niglio [Cherokee]
12:20 … Sophia Staiger [Eastern]
12:30 … **Gillian Lovett [Mainland Regional]
12:31 … *Stephanie Renouf [Cinnaminson]
12:33 … *Ava Severino [Haddon Heights]
12:35 … ***Lily Malone [Mainland Regional]
12:36 … **Kerry O’Day [Cherokee]
12:37 … Madison McNiff [Cherry Hill East]
12:43 … *Abby Kotran [Clearview]
12:44 … **Claudia Booth [Mainland Regional]
12:47 … *Alexa Fisher [Williamstown]
12:53 … Kyra Birdsall [Shawnee]
12:55 … Grace Coller [Cinnaminson]
12:53 … *Madeline Dischert [Atlantic City]
12:54 … *Gabriella Maletta [Washington Twp.]
12:58 … ***Macie McCracken [Wildwood]
12:59 … *Meghan Lex [Haddon Twp.]
12:59 … **Chloe Malone [Mainland Regional]
12:59 … **Nicole Tellechea [Shawnee]
13:02 … Madelyn Valasek [Shawnee]
13:02 … *Sophia Bostwick [Washington Twp.]
13;02 … ** Michaela Schlemo [Egg Harbor Twp.]

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