Northern Burlington sophomore Liliah Gordon ran 18:26 at Thompson Park in Jamesburg to win her first sectional cross country title.
Gordon ran 18:38 last year on the same course and placed 2nd in the Central Jersey Group 3 sectional to senior Lily Shapiro of Colts Neck, who went on to win Meet of Champions titles last spring at 800 and 1,600 meters and is now at North Carolina.
This year, she raced away from the field and became the first Northern Burlington girl to win a sectional title in 29 years, since Colleen Sunderland ran 19:01 to win South Jersey Group 2 in 1993 at Kingsway.
Gordon won by 165 meters over Allentown senior Meghan Renter, who was 2nd in 19:04. Gordon will race next weekend at the state Group 3 meet at Holmdel Park. She was 2nd at states last year behind Shapiro before placing 8th at Meet of Champions.
Her time is 2nd-fastest ever by a South Jersey girl at Thompson Park. In 2009, Highland’s Megan Venables ran 18:22 at the Old Bridge Classic on the same course.
Burlington Township senior Maeve Timms ran 21:00 for 15th place to lock up the final qualifying spot for the state Group 3 meet.