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Narrow Group 1 victory for Pitman

The Panthers beat Lindenwold, 73.75 to 73, to win their second title in three years. Coach Bob Eck called it a "total team effort."

By the slimmest of margins - three-fourths of a point, to be exact - Pitman captured the Group 1 team title Saturday at the South Jersey Group 1, Group 4 and Non-Public A track and field championships at Egg Harbor Township.

The Panthers edged Lindenwold, 73.75 to 73, to win their second team championship in three years. Woodbury (61), Schalick (60.75), Maple Shade (36) and Penns Grove (35) finished in the top five.

"For us, it was a complete and total team effort," Pitman coach Bob Eck said. "Every single place was vital for us. I expected us to do well and be in the mix, but I wasn't sure if we had enough guns to win it."

While Pitman had three individual event winners - Rachel Greenberg in the 3,200 meters, Shoma Potrzuski in the 800, and Chelsea Cioffi in the discus - girls such as Emily Vendetta proved the difference.

"Rachel went out aggressively in the 3,200 and, when challenged, rose immediately to meet it," Eck said. "But it was girls like Vendetta that won the meet. Emily improved her time by 13 seconds in the 1,600 and by 30 seconds in the 3,200 to take a pair of fifth places for us.

"The key was that every girl who scored raised her game to the highest level today."

In Group 4, Eastern's English Gardner was the meet's only triple winner as she again proved she's one of the fastest girls in the state.

After taking first in the 100 (11.99) on Friday, Gardner won the 400 in record time, clocking a 55.29 to top the previous time of 55.50 set in 1980 by Camden's Loretta Thompson. Gardner then won the 200 and anchored Eastern's 4x400 relay team to a silver medal.

In the race for the team championship in Group 4, Southern won its fifth consecutive title, topping Lenape, 99-85.

Lenape was led by Shaya Wilkerson, who won the long jump (18 feet), and distance runners Caitlin Orr, Natalie Ocasio, and Amanda Restivo.

The trio finished 1-2-3 in the 1,600 on Friday. Orr and Ocasio took second and third in the 3,200, and Ocasio and Restivo finished second and third in the 800 Saturday.

In the Non-Public A meet, five area girls won gold medals.

Camden Catholic's Serifat Junaid won the high jump (5-2); Bishop Eustace's Holly Bischof took the 3,200 (11:06.94); Paul VI's Kelsey Bezila won the discus (119-1); Bishop Eustace's Kelsey Damato took the 100 hurdles (15.23); and Sara Dorres of Holy Cross triumphed in the javelin (123-7).