Team of the Year

: Haddonfield

Most great cross-country runs cover 3.1 miles.

Haddonfield's covered four seasons.

The Bulldogs' seniors completed one of the great runs in South Jersey history this season by capturing their fourth consecutive Group 2 state title.

Still, it was a measure of the strength of the team - led by seniors Jon Vitez, Colin Baker and Ray Schlitt - that the Bulldogs felt they could have accomplished more in 2009.

"Our whole goal this entire season was to win the Meet of Champions," Vitez said. "That was definitely disappointing."

The Bulldogs finished fourth in the Nov. 21 Meet of Champions. But they won the Group 2 state title for the fourth year in a row, went 10-0 in the regular season, and captured the team title at the Bowdoin Cross County Classic in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in late September.

At the Group 2 state meet, Haddonfield dominated the field as Vitez finished first in 15 minutes, 57 seconds, and juniors Matt Nussbaum (16:30) and Ben Potts (16:32) finished second and third. Baker (16:38) was fifth.

Juniors Ethan Quanci and Tim Malloy also ran well for Haddonfield that day, and Schlitt returned to competition with a strong effort after battling injuries late in the season.

Vitez said that although the Bulldogs' fourth-place finish in the Meet of Champions was a bit of a letdown, the team's three seniors were proud of their career accomplishments.

"It kind of sank in when we went to the coaches' banquet," Vitez said. "They were saying all that we've done over four years, and we were able to step back a little and say, 'We really did some pretty cool stuff along the way.' "