Haddon Township junior Meghan Lex PR’d for the second meet in a row, became the first Haddon Township girl to win a sectional XC title in six years and leading the Hawks to their 11th sectional championship.
Lex ran 19:43 over 5,000 meters at DREAM Park in Logan Township, lowering her all-course 5,000 PR of 19:58, which she ran two weeks ago at the Colonial Conference meet at Pennypacker Park.
She’s Haddon Township’s first sectional winner since 2016, when Annika Merkh ran 19:32 at Delsea to win the South Jersey Group 1 title.
The Hawks placed all five scorers in the top 16 and outscored second-place Wildwood, 31-55, with Schalick (76), Audubon (81) and Cape May County Tech (113) also advancing to states.
Lex out-raced Wildwood freshman Macie McCracken for the individual title. McCracken finished 85 meters back in 20:05, and Schalick senior Mia LaMarra also ran sub-21, taking third in 20:51.
For Haddon Township, sophomore Genevieve Gentlesk [4th in 21:04], seniors Ellie Sennhenn and Kaelin Marshall [10th and 11th, 22:06 and 22:10] and senior Georgia Knorr [16th 23:31] also scored, and sophomore sixth runner Simona Thoder wasn’t far back in 21st place.
Haddon Township also won Group 1 in 2000, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2016, 2020 and Group 2 in 1976, 1983, 1984 and 2004, so this is the first time the Hawks have won consecutive South Jersey titles since 1983 and 1984, when they were led by Missy Roller, Suzanne Haug and Barb Countey.
Wildwood’s 2nd-place finish is remarkable considering the Warriors haven’t fielded a full five-girl team at sectionals since 2006. Their best previous finish was third place in 1981 and 1982.
Freshman Leah Pawlus and senior Ava Troiano joined McCracken in the top 15, Pawlus placing 9th in 22:02 and Troiano 13th in 22:46.
Also South Jersey runners in the top 10 were Pennsville senior Taylor Burchfield [5th in 21:11], Schalick freshman Taylor Behrens [6th in 21:30] and Palmyra sophomore Cadence Anderson [7th in 21:50].