Nicole Clifford edges Liliah Gordon, Cherokee places 5 in top 10 to win Burlington County Open title!!!

Senior Nicole Clifford edged Northern Burlington freshman Liliah Gordon to win her second straight individual title and lead Cherokee to the team title Friday at the Burlington County Open.

Cherokee went 1-3-4-7-10 for 25 points, topping 2nd-place Shawnee, who scored 54. Northern was third with 96. The team title was the third straight for Cherokee.

Clifford ran 18:37 over 5,000 meters at the Rancocas Valley Sports Complex in Eastampton, finishing about 35 meters ahead of Gordon in the first head-to-head matchup of two of South Jersey’s top runners. Clifford ran 19:50 to win last year’s County Open on the same course.

Sophomore Olivia Parkinson and junior Kelsey Niglio placed 3rd and 4th for Cherokee in 19:15 and 19:45, sophomore Kerry O’Day ran 7th in 20:00 and freshman Megan Niglio was 10th in 21:01.

According to the MileSplit database, Clifford, Gordon and Parkinson all ran under the course record of 19:36, set in 2018 by Collingswood’s Sophie Steidle at the Ray Hoagland Invitational.

This is the second year the Burlco Open has been held at R.V.’s athletic fields after being held at Mill Creek Park in Willingboro from 1981 through 2019.

Cherokee runners have won the last four individual titles. Kate Rathman won in 2018 and 2019 and Clifford in 2020 and 2021.

Also in the top 10 were Cinnaminson junior Stephanie Renouf [5th in 19:51], Shawnee junior Kate Ruona [6th in 19:54], Shawnee senior Madelyn Valasek [8th in 20:43] and Cinnaminson senior Grace Coller [9th in 20:54].

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