Highland’s Grace Wassell wins wild sectional 800, smashes meet record!!!

What an 800 race for Highland senior Grace Wassell, who edged Toms River South’s Lily Oliver in a photo finish Friday at sectionals.

Wassell and Oliver were both timed in 2:16.68 in the South Jersey Group 3 race at the Bubble. Both ran well under the meet record of 2:18.38 set I 2014 by Danielle Leavitt of Lacey Township.

The official results should provide a breakdown of both times down to the 1,000th-of-a-second but they did not.

Oliver and Wassell had both run 2:15-low last spring, and Oliver edged Wassell in outdoor sectionals at Delsea, Oliver in 2:18.17 and Wassell in 2:18.90, so this looked like an intriguing showdown, and the race live up to expectations.

Wassell shattered her indoor PR of 2:21.13 set last month at the Bubble and broke the Highland indoor school record of 2:18.00, set in 2019 by Nia Holden. Her time is No. 9 in Camden County history. It’s also No. 1 in South Jersey this year and No. 9 in the state. 

Most impressively, Wassell was doubling back after placing 3rd in the 1,600 in 5:11.56, an indoor personal best.

Wassell has now won six sectional titles. She won Group 3 XC in 2019, 2020 and 2021 with a chance at four in a row next fall. She also won S.J. Group 3 in the 3,200 in the winter of 2020 and the 1,600 last spring.  

Here’s the updated all-time Camden County top-10:

2:10.0h … Erin Donohue [Haddonfield], 2001
2:12.55 … Marielle Hall [Haddonfield], 2010
2:15.05 … Briana Gess [Haddonfield], 2015
2:15.06 … Sydney Coppolino [Sterling], 2017
2:15.31 … Lindsay Colflesh [Haddonfield], 2020
2:15.46 … Tara DeBrielle [Overbrook], 2000
2:15.86 … Greta Feldman [Haddonfield], 2009
2:16.63 … Lindsay Thomas [Winslow Twp.], 2003
2:16.68 … Grace Wassell [Highland], 2022
2:17.00 … Sarah Naticchia [Haddonfield], 2020

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