Delsea senior Lillie Widmer and junior Gillian Lovett and sophomore Sofia Day all earned auto qualifiers into the Meet of Champions with top-10 finishes Saturday in the state Group 3 race.
Widmer placed 4th in 19:26 at Holmdel County Park, Lovett 5th in 19:27 and Day 7th in 19:41. Including winner Liliah Gordon of Northern Burlington and seniors Abigail Waddington and Abigail Kotran of Clearview – who led the Pioneers to the team title – six of the first seven finishers in the Group 3 race were from South Jersey.
Widmer reached the Meet of Champions in outdoor track last spring in the 3,200, but this is her first trip to XC M-of-C. She lowered her Holmdel PR 51 seconds from 20:17 at Shore Coaches last month to 19:26. Widmer’s time is No. 15 of more than 700 runners and No. 3 among South Jersey girls, behind only Gordon [18:57] and Waddington [19:10].
Lovett qualified for her first Meet of Champions in track or XC and posted the No. 16 time in the six-meet merge.
This will be Day’s 3rd Meet of Champions out of three tries. She placed 15th in last year’s XC Meet of Champions with an 18:49 at Holmdel and 13th indoors at 3,200 meters with a PR 11:08.72. Her 19:41 is 2nd-fastest among all New Jersey sophomores, behind only Gordon.