A look at Grace Wassell’s historic 3rd consecutive South Jersey Group 3 XC title!!!!!

Grace Wassell had the race of her life Saturday, not only winning her third straight sectional title but running the 2nd-fastest time ever at DREAM Park in Logan Township and setting an all-course 5,000-meter.

Wassell, a Highland junior, won the South Jersey Group 3 sectional race, outracing Clearview junior Abby Waddington and Toms River South senior Lily Oliver with the three-fastest times of the day. Wassell ran 18:05, Waddington 18:08 and Oliver 18:16. They’re the 2nd- and 3rd-fastest times in course history, behind only the 17:52 run by Shawnee’s Isabella Turner at the 2018 South Jersey Shootout.

As a freshman in the fall of 2019, Wassell won the South Jersey Group 3 title by 28 seconds over Alex Palmieri of Ocean City with an 18:54 at Delsea. Last year, she won Group 3 by five seconds over Oliver at DREAM Park. Her fastest previous 5,000 on any course was an 18:14 at Cumberland Regional when she won the Tri-County Championship last month.

Wassell became the 11th girl to win three straight South Jersey sectional XC titles and the first from Camden County in 36 years, since Sterling’s Mindy Rowand won SJ-3 in 1983, 1984 and 1985.

She placed 10th at states as a sophomore. There was no state championship meet last fall.

Next year, Wassell will have a chance to become the fifth quad winner in South Jersey history and the 12th in state history. No girl has ever won three straight Group 3 titles in South Jersey.

Although it’s an inexact science comparing times on different courses, Wassell and Waddington posted the 2nd- and 3rd-fastest times from all the sectional races Saturday behind only Florida commit Angelina Perez of Lakeland, who won her third straight North Jersey Section 1 Group 2 title in 16:54.

Wassell’s time was the fastest at South Jersey sectionals in any race since 2016 at Delsea, when Mainland’s Alyssa Aldridge won SJ-3 in 17:41, Haddonfield’s Briana Gess won SJ-2 in 18:02 and Cherry Hill East’s Sarah Pierce also ran 18:05.

Let’s take a look at all the girls in state history who’ve won three consecutive sectional titles! It’s quite a list!

Four titles
North Jersey Section 1
Kristen Landry [Mountain Lakes], North Jersey Section 1 Group 1 [2007, 2008, 2009]
North Jersey Section 2
Melanie Thompson [Voorhees], North Jersey Section 2 Group 3 [2005, 2006, 2007, 2008]
Mackenzie Barry [W. Morris-Mend.], North Jersey Section 2 Group 3 [2010, 2011, 2012, 2013]
Central Jersey
Meg Waldron [Bernards], Central Jersey Group 1 [1979, 1980, 1981]
Caroline Mehlhorn [Montgomery], Central Jersey Group 2 [2018, 2019, 2020, 2021]
Janet Smith [North Edison], Central Jersey Group 4 [1980, 1981, 1982, 1983]
Monal Chokshi [Bridgewater], Central Jersey Group 4 [1989, 1990, 1991, 1992]
South Jersey
Allyson Krayl [Point Pleasant Beach], South Jersey Group 1 [1999, 2000, 2001, 2002]
Vanessa Wright [Haddonfield], South Jersey Group 2 [2002, 2003, 2004, 2005]
Marielle Hall [Haddonfield], South Jersey Group 2 [2006, 2007, 2008, 2009]
Briana Gess [Haddonfield], South Jersey Group 2 [2013, 2014, 2015, 2016]

Three titles
North Jersey Section 1
Chrtistine Mendoza [Hudson Tech], North Jersey Section 1 Group 1 [1997, 1998, 1999]
Aimee Chegwidden [Walkill Valley], North Jersey Section 1 Group 2 [2006, 2007, 2008]
Lisa Pukutks [Hopatcong], North Jersey Section 1 Group 2 [1979, 1980, 1981]
Christi Constantin [Kittatinny], North Jersey Section 1 Group 2 [1986, 1987, 1988]
Melissa Conway [Ramsey], North Jersey Section 1 Group 2 [1998, 1999, 2000]
Angelina Perez [Lakeland], North Jersey Section 1 Group 2 [2018, 2019, 2021?]
Toni Ann Angione [Bergenfield], North Jersey Section 1 Group 3 [1982, 1983, 1984
Amy Mizzone [Wayne Valley], North Jersey Section 1 Group 3 [1992, 1993, 1994]
Jesse Mizzone [Passaic Valley], North Jersey Section 1 Group 3 [2000, 2001, 2002]
Mary Ellen Mileski [Ridgewood], North Jersey Section 1 Group 4 [1979, 1980, 1981]
North Jersey Section 2
Jen Schenberg [Kinnelon], North Jersey Section 2 Group 1 [1987, 1988, 1989]
Lori Carpenter [New Providence], North Jersey Section 2 Group 1 [1984, 1985, 1986]
Jen Nesbitt [Caldwell], North Jersey Section 2 Group 2 [1988, 1989, 1990]
Dana Giordano [Bernards], North Jersey Section 2 Group 2 [2009, 2010, 2011]
Jamie Habib [Madison], North Jersey Section 2 Group 2 [2018, 2019, 2020]
Theresa Gschwind [Summit], North Jersey Section 2 Group 3 [1979, 1980, 1981]
Jackie Coscia [Mount Olive], North Jersey Section 2 Group 3 [1992, 1993, 1994]
Joetta Clark [Columbia], North Jersey Section 2 Group 4 [1977, 1978, 1979]
Central Jersey
Laura Nann [Bernards], Central Jersey Group 1 [1995, 1996, 1997]
Corina Vidal [Henry Hudson], Central Jersey Group 1 [2017, 2018, 2019]
Lily Thomas [Somerville], Central Jersey Group 2 [1997, 1998, 1999]
Caroline Kellner [West Windsor-Plainsboro South], Central Jersey Group 2 [2009, 2010, 2011]
Clare Buck [Hopewell Valley], Central Jersey Group 3 [2006, 2007, 2008]
Brianna Feerst [Point Pleasant Beach], Central Jersey Group 3 [2009, 2010, 2011]
Grace Dwyer [Hamilton North], Central Jersey Group 3 [2012, 2013, 2014]
Autumn Fogg [Hunterdon Central], Central Jersey Group 4 [1993, 1994, 1995]
Lindsey Gallo [Howell], Central Jersey Group 4 [1997, 1998, 1999]
South Jersey
Julia Smith [Schalick], South Jersey Group 1 [2018, 2019, 2020]
Monique Purcell [Holy Spirit], South Jersey Group 3 [1976, 1977, 1978]
Mindy Rowand [Sterling], South Jersey Group 3 [1983, 1984, 1985]
Brittany McCann [Delsea], South Jersey Group 3 [1999, 2000, 2001]
Brittany Sedberry [Ocean City], South Jersey Group 3 [2002, 2003, 2004]
Chelsea Ley [Kingsway], South Jersey Group 3 [2007, 2008, 2009]
Alyssa Aldridge [Mainland Regional], South Jersey Group 3 [2015, 2016, 2017]
Grace Wassell [Highland], South Jersey Group 3 [2019, 2020, 2021]
Eva Marie Berardi [Williamstown], South Jersey Group 4 [1977, 1978, 1979]
Liz Moore [Shawnee], South Jersey Group 4 [1992, 1993, 1994]
Danielle Tauro [Southern Regional], South Jersey Group 4 [2004, 2005, 2006]

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