Sophomore Olivia Parkinson, senior Nicole Clifford, junior Kelsey Niglio and sophomore Kerry O’Day all placed among the top eight finishers, and Cherokee raced to its second straight sectional cross country championship on Saturday.
Parkinson ran 18:53 for 2nd at DREAM Park in Logan Township, Clifford 19:09 for 4th, Niglio 19:17 for 7th and O’Day 19:24 for 8th. Freshman Megan Niglio wasn’t far back, rounding out Cherokee’s scoring group in 13th place in 20:04. The times were all-course PRs for O’Day and Megan Niglio.
Cherokee outscored 2nd-place Cherry Hill East 34-64 to win the South Jersey Group 4 title, its third overall. Cherokee also won in 2003 at Delsea.
Cherokee averaged 19:22 per scorer, 2nd-fastest team average in course history. Cherokee averaged 19:19 when it won the Olympic Conference meet last month. Cherry Hill East’s 19:48 is tied for 4th-fastest since the course went into use in 2018.
Kingsway junior Aubrey Pierontoni ran 18:24 to win the individual title. Kingsway was not allowed to race at sectionals last year.
Pierontoni is Kingsway’s first individual sectional champion since Chelsea Ley won her 3rd straight title win Group 3 in 2009. Lori Townsend and Erica Moore also won sectional titles for Kingsway in Group 2, Townsend in 1990 and Moore in 1992.
Other South Jersey girls placing in the top 10 and advancing to states next weekend at Holmdel County Park were Cherry Hill East junior Alexis Tepper [3rd in 18:59], Eastern senior Sophia Staiger [5th in 19:11], Cherry Hill East senior Madison McNiff [6th in 19:14] and Cherry Hill East freshman Kiley Walsh [10th in 19:32].
Kingsway (110), Toms River North  and Southern Regional  joined Cherokee and Cherry Hill East qualifying for states.