How fast did the Haddonfield girls run Saturday?
It defies belief.
In winning its 13th South Jersey Group 2 cross country title – and 25th in the last 30 years – Haddonfield swept the top five spots in the race, packed its five scorers in a 21-second gap and averaged 18:19.90 – fastest on any course in South Jersey history and believed to be fastest five-runner average ever recorded by any school in New Jersey XC history.
Yes, this was on the flat, fast DREAM Park speedway in Logan Township, and yes conditions were perfect. But whatever the course or the conditions, this was a historic performance by Haddonfield, ranked No. 2 in the state.
Junior Ava Thomas [18:06.37], junior Riley Slootsky [18:15.42], freshman Riley Austin [18:23.34], senior Helene Usher [18:26.70] and junior Audrey Naticchia [18:27.67] not only outscored 2nd-place Sterling 15-68, they placed 3-5-8-10-12 in a merge of the four sectional races, meaning they had five of the 12-fastest times in a meet that involved nearly 400 runners.
Only 12 girls have run under 18:20 at DREAM Park, seven of them on Saturday. Haddonfield’s average from sectionals would rank 12th on the all-time DREAM Park performance list:
17:52.89 … Isabella Turner [Shawnee], 2018 South Jersey Shootout
18:01.50 … Abigail Waddington [Clearview], 2022 Group 4 Sectionals
18:04.02 … Jessica Abbott [Toms River North], 2022 Group 3 Sectionals
18:05.24 … *Grace Wassell [Highland], 2021 Group 3 Sectionals
18:06.37 … *Ava Thomas [Haddonfield], 2022 Group 2 Sectionals
18:11.40 … Anna Macdonald [Germantown Friends], 2021 Bob Kiessling Invite
18:12.02 … **Sofia Day [Mainland Reg.], 2022 Group 4 Sectionals
18:13.17 … *Shaelan McNally [Paul VI], 2022 Olympic Conference
18:15.42 … *Riley Slootsky [Haddonfield], 2022 Group 2 Sectionals
18:15.54 … Alexis Tepper [Cherry Hill East], 2022 Group 4 Sectionals
18:16.87 … *Lily Oliver [Toms River South], 2021 Group 3 Sectionals
18:19.90 … Haddonfield, 2022
Clearview is ranked No. 4 in the state and outscored Ocean City 31-86 to easily win the South Jersey Group 3 title. Yet scored against Haddonfield, the Bulldogs win 20-36, with Haddonfield 6th runner sophomore Dylan Melcher bumping Clearview’s fifth runner.
Clearview’s 18:53.20 average was 2nd-fastest from sectionals, and only two Central Jersey schools were also under 20 minutes per runner – Toms River North [19:49.01] and Southern Regional [19:57.57]. Mainland was just over at 20:03.12.
Scored as a full merge, Haddonfield beats Clearview 38-87, with Toms River North  and Southern Regional  the only other teams within 200 points of Haddonfield.
Coming into this year’s sectionals, the fastest team time ever run at DREAM Park was Haddonfield’s 18:51 at last year’s sectionals. Haddonfield beat that by more than half a minute. Haddonfield also recorded a 1-2-3-4-5 sweep last year but only Usher and Naticchia returned from that team.
And get this: Haddonfield’s 2022 average of 18:19.90 is faster than any other school’s all-time top-five average. DREAM Park has only been in use since 2018, but still. The fastest all-time team average other than Haddonfield belongs to Cherokee, whose five-fastest all-time at DREAM Park averaged 18:35.55.
Haddonfield’s all-time top-5 is actually a tad faster than 18:19.90 – 18:19.58, to be exact, since Anne Earp ran a fraction of a second faster in last year’s sectional than Audrey Naticchia ran this year.
After Haddonfield’s 18:19.58 and Cherokee’s 18:35.55, the next-fastest all-time team at DREAM Park is Haddonfield’s B team – Audrey Naticchia [18:27.67], Sarah Naticchia [18:37.00], Jess Goode [18:46.01], Sabrina Miller [18:53.29] and Allison Colflesh [18:59.70] – is next-fastest at 18:44.73. Clearview is next with its 18:53.20 average, all from this year. Cherry Hill East is 4th at 19:06.11.