Fittingly for the Lenape High School girls’ track team, the elusive state championship came down to the last event — the 4×400 relay.
And the relay team of Jasmine Staten, Carly Pettipaw, Shannon Storms and Marissa Topolski delivered to secure the first outdoor state title for the Indians.
The 4×400 was the only event Lenape won on the Egg Harbor Township track, but their overall depth proved superior.
“It means a lot to be the first in the school history,” Pettipaw said. “It’s super exciting to do that in my senior year. It is an awesome way to go out. Some people don’t always have the best senior year, but it was an awesome feeling to be able to bring it home and finish out strong.”
Lenape also earned the title as the Courier-Post girls’ track Team of the Year.
“It means a lot, all that hard work during practices,” Staten said. “It is just an accomplishment for all of us.”
Lenape scored 50 points to win its first state crown and edge Columbia, which had won the last five titles, by three points.
“Our team chemistry was really good and our practices were really hard and we were all on the same page,” said Topolski, who will attend Rice University to play soccer. “I think all the work we put in really helped us, it wasn’t just the good people that we had.”
The Indians are the first South Jersey girls’ team to win the Group 4 title since Winslow Township in 2004.
“It was a big accomplishment,” said senior Sabrina LaRosa.
The Lenape girls own four indoor championships, but this was the first outdoor title.
“I think we were very talented, our top end talent was really, really good this year,” Lenape coach Gerald Richardson said. “We were able to score in multiple events with multiple places.”
Pettipaw placed third in the 400 hurdles at the Meet of Champions with a 1:01.25.
“We had so many people place in so many different events,” added Pettipaw, who will run next year at the University of Delaware. “That was super exciting get the whole team involved.”
The 4×400 relay team of Staten, Storms, Pettipaw and Topolski finished second in the Meet of Champions with a 3:49.25.
“The other factor is we had a large group of seniors who have been with the program for four years,” Richardson added on the team’s success. “They’ve seen the good times and some of the bad times and they were more determined to go out on top then in the past years.”
Camille Franklin was one of 21 seniors.
“We’ve all been together for four years and we have been building up to this and to peak this year,” Franklin said.
Sophomore Megan Quimby finished fifth in the 800 at the Meet of Champions with a 2:12.78. Like Staten, she has two more years to continue to make a name for herself and Lenape, but neither will forget this season.
“ It’s an honor,” Staten said on being the No. 1 team. “It’s something I will definitely remember.”
Kevin Callahan; (856) 486-2424; email@example.com