Cherry Hill East girls’ cross country looking to improve on 2013 season

Cherry Hill East’s girls cross country team is looking to build upon last year’s success when they finished fifth in South Jersey Group IV sectional and qualified for states for the first time since 2008.

This year’s team is led by senior co-captains Monica Lee, Rebecca McCormack, Isabella Roncace and Leah Schearer. Other varsity members returning from last year’s strong team include junior Jill Ranes and sophomores Greer Field, Taegan Field and Carrie Baeckstrom. Both Lee and Field were Olympic All-Conference selections in 2013.

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Not only did last year’s team qualify for states but it did so with a varsity lineup that included three freshmen. In the previous four years the team started a total of three freshmen in the South Jersey Group IV sectionals. With the experience from last year and the loss of only one starter to graduation, the expectations for this year’s team are strong. The challenge, though, will be finding someone to replace Maddy Berman, who graduated in the spring and is now running collegiately for the University of Delaware. Berman was East’s top runner last year, finishing sixth in sectionals and earning a First Team All-Conference title. Berman’s sectional time of 19:09 and sixth place finish were the best in the last six years at East since then junior Melissa Showers ran a time of 18:42 and finished third in 2007.

In cross country meets, a team can field up to seven varsity runners with the top five finishers on each team awarded placement points used to calculate the team’s overall performance. The race distance for varsity meets is 5000 meters, which is approximately 3.1 miles.

Besides head-to-head meets against the always tough Olympic Conference members including Cherokee, who finished right behind East in last year’s sectionals, the season features the Shore Coaches Invitational on Oct. 4th at Holmdel Park, which is the same iconic tough course used for the State Group Finals. The season culminates in November with the Olympic Conference meet and then the South Jersey Sectionals on Saturday, Nov. 8 when the girls teams tries to improve upon its success of 2013.

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