Northern Burlington freshman Liliah Gordon put together a historic performance in her first Meet of Champions Saturday.
Gordon was the only South Jersey runner in the top 10, taking 8th in 18:29, making her the 15th-fastest runner ever from South Jersey at Holmdel County Park.
Her time appears to be No. 4 all-time by a South Jersey freshman, behind Briana Gess of Haddonfield [17:45 in 2013], Alyssa Aldridge of Mainland Regional [18:22 in 2014] and Grace Yoon of Cherry Hill East [18:28 in 2016].
Her top-10 finish is the first by a Northern Burlington girl at the Meet of Champions in 27 years, since Colleen Sunderland placed 6th in 19:26 back in 1994.
The only Burlington County girl ever to run faster at the historic Holmdel 5,000-meter course is Cherokee’s Megan Lacy, whose fastest performance at Holmdel was 17:54, when she won the 2010 state Group 4 meet.
Four of the top five freshmen in the race were from South Jersey schools.
Mainland’s Sofia Day ran 18:49 for 15th, Cherokee’s Megan Niglio ran 19:58 for 60th and helped Cherokee win the team title [see story ], and Cherry Hill East’s Kiley Walsh ran 20:07 for 70th.
Gordon is the first runner ever from the Burlington County Scholastic League to break 19 minutes at Holmdel. She ran 19:00 at Group 3 states, and the fastest time before that by a BCSL runner at Holmdel was a 19:17 by Kari Vigerstol of Holy Cross when she won the 1994 state Parochial A race.
Highland junior Grace Wassell placed 13th in 18:48, which makes her the third-fastest Highland girl ever at Holmdel. Megan Venables ran a series of fast times, including the former course record 17:27 at the 2010 Meet of Champions, and Arianna McKinney ran 18:44 at the 2003 Shore Coaches Invitational.
Here’s a complete look at all 16 South Jersey runners in the top-50:
8. ***Liliah Gordon [Northern Burlington], 18:29
11. Nicole Clifford [Cherokee], 18:43
13. *Grace Wassell [Highland], 18:48
15. ***Sofia Day [Mainland Regional], 18:49
25. **Shaelan McNally [Paul VI], 19:06
35. **Kelsey Niglio [Cherokee], 19:22
37. **Anne Earp [Haddonfield], 19:22
38. **Kerry O’Day [Cherokee], 19:24
39. *Aubrey Pierontoni [Kingsway], 19:24
43. *Helene Usher [Haddonfield], 19:29
44. **Olivia Parkinson [Cherokee], 19:30
48. **Audrey Naticchia [Haddonfield], 19:39
49. *Alexis Tepper [Cherry Hill East], 19:41
53. Stephanie Renouf [Cinnaminson], 19:46
56. Madison McNiff [Cherry Hill East], 19:54
60. ***Megan Niglio [Cherokee], 19:58