Burlington County rivals Cherokee and Rancocas Valley find themselves locked up in a titanic battle for the South Jersey Group 4 sectional title.
With 10 events down and 10 more to go Saturday, Cherokee held a four-point lead over R.V. at Buena.
Cherokee, with 37 points in the 800 and 3,200, had 50 ½ points after Day 1, and R.V., led by a win in the 400-meter relay and a 1-2 finish in the intermediates, was sitting in second with 46 ½.
Southern Regional , Toms River East , Eastern  and Washington Township  were separated by four points.
You can find full Day 1 results here, but R.V. won the 400-meter relay in 48.99 with senior Anabella Chin, senior Jya Marshall, senior Sanai Jenkins and junior Kasey White.
Jenkins and Chin also went 1-2 in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles, with Jenkins running a huge PR of 1:02.40 – more than two seconds faster than her previous PR – and Chin 1:04.65. Jenkins is the first R.V. girl to win a sectional title in the intermediates since Tonya Lee won her 4th straight in Group 3 in 1988.
Marshall and senior Joyce Adegoke each picked up a 3rd-place medal, Marshall with a 12.48 in the 100 and Adegoke with a 16-6 ½ long jump.
For Cherokee, Nicole Clifford cruised to wins in the 800 in 2:12.86 and the 3,200 in 10:54.92. Her 2:12.86 is fastest in SJ-4 since Southern’s Jill Smith won the 2009 race in 2:11.49, and she’s the first Cherokee girl to win a SJ-4 title in the 800 since Monica Olkowski won her second straight in 1990. Junior Kelsey Niglio was second with a full-second PR of 2:13.31, and freshman Megan Niglio added a 5th-place finish in 2:18.28.
Clifford doubled back to win the 3,200, with Kerry O’Day PR’ing for 3rd in 11:09.48 and Megan Niglio taking 6th in 11:17.47. With 1,600 to go, O’Day was 5th and Niglio 7th, but both moved up steadily, helping Cherokee deliver 37 points in the day’s two long track races.
Also for Cherokee, senior Alison Cooke placed 3rd in the intermediate hurdles in 1:05.74
Rancocas Valley won S.J. Group 4 in 2018 and 2021. Cherokee won its only title in 2013.