Led by junior Ava Thomas, Haddonfield turned in the most dominating performance in South Jersey sectional cross country history Saturday, sweeping the top five spots in the Group 2 race and packing all five scorers in an absurd 21 seconds to win its 13th straight sectional championship with one of the fastest team averages in state history.

Haddonfield, ranked No. 2 in New Jersey behind Union Catholic, became the first school in state history to win 13 straight sectional titles and the first to pitch a 15-point shutout in consecutive years.

Thomas won the race over 5,000 meters at DREAM Park in Logan Township in 18:06, with junior Riley Slootsky, freshman Riley Austin, senior Helene Usher and junior Audrey Naticchia following in 2nd through 5th, Slootsky in 18:15, Austin 18:23, Usher 18:26 and Naticchia 18:27.

Haddonfield’s absurd 18:18 average shattered the course record of 18:51 that the Bulldogs set last year. That’s the fastest team average on any course ever by any South Jersey team and possibly by any New Jersey team. We’re working on that.

What’s incredible is that Haddonfield swept the top five spots in the race with only two girls – Usher and Naticchia – who were part of last year’s 1-2-3-4-5 sweep.

Haddonfield finished with a 15-68 margin of victory over 2nd-place Sterling, which packed four runners in the top 15. Haddon Heights [93], Seneca [127] and Cedar Creek [136] also advanced to the state Group 2 meet.

Haddonfield’s team average of 18:19 is faster than any Haddonfield girl had ever run at DREAM Park before this race. That average time would have ranked No. 7 in course history as an individual performance coming into action on Saturday.

Here’s a look at the nine perfect 15-point scores in state sectional history. Haddonfield now has more shutouts since 1986 than every other school combined:

Bernards, Central Jersey Group 1, 1981
Bernards, Central Jersey Group 1, 1983
New Providence, North Jersey Section 2 Group 1, 1985
North Hunterdon, Central Jersey Group 3, 1985
Mount Olive, North Jersey North 2 Group 3, 1995
Moorestown, South Jersey Group 3, 2001
Haddonfield, South Jersey Group 2, 2005
Haddonfield, South Jersey Group 2, 2021
Haddonfield, South Jersey Group 2, 2022

Overall, Haddonfield has now won 30 South Jersey XC titles. In addition to the current 13 in a row, the Bulldogs won SJ-2 in 1979, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 and SJ-1 in 1982, 1985, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1997 and 1998.
Haddonfield has won a sectional title 17 of the last 18 years and going back to 1990, 25 of the last 33 years.

Sophomore Dylan Melcher placed 8th for Haddonfield in 19:46, giving the Bulldogs six of the first eight finishers. Scoring Haddonfield vs. the field, Haddonfield wins 15-43.

Cinnaminson senior Stephanie Renouf was the first non-Haddonfield finisher in 6th place in 18:56. Haddon Heights senior Ava Severino ran 7th in 19:41.

Also in the top 15 and headed for states are Haddon Heights sophomore Grace Duffy [9th in 19:54], Sterling junior Cara Coppolino [10th in 19:56], Cinnaminson junior Anna Marino [11th in 20:05], Sterling sophomore Jonalee Adams [12th in 20:11], West Deptford junior Isabella Mackey [13th in 20:22], Sterling sophomore Isabella Patruno [14th in 20:26] and Sterling sophomore Kaysie Luna [15th in 20:31].


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