Jess Woodard's teammates were bundled up and spectating, watching her compete in the final event of the afternoon. It was the team's fourth hour in the miserable, unseasonable weather.

"They were out here supporting me," Woodard said. "But I think even they were ready to get back on the bus at that point."

It was a spectacle to see so many so bundled up in late May.

But Woodard's game plan for the weather stood out just as much.

Through sideways rain; strong winds; and bitter, cold temperatures, the Cherokee senior never stopped moving - running in place, jogging, stretching, shuffling back and forth. Anything to stay warm.

That was a common theme among athletes Friday on the first day of the South Jersey Group 1 and 4 track and field championships at Egg Harbor Township.

For Woodard, the strategy worked out well. The Cherokee senior, one of the state's best weight throwers throughout her high school career, won the Group 4 shot put with a throw of 44 feet, 11/2 inches. She came in second in the javelin with a throw of 111 feet.

The shot-put result was expected. The same is expected of Woodard in Saturday's discus championship. Woodard was the top American in the high school girls' discus competition in April's Penn Relays with a throw of 156-6.

But Friday night, Woodard, a University of Oklahoma recruit, seemed most proud of her second-place finish in the javelin.

"That was a surprise," she said. "Javelin isn't my best or favorite event. But when the team needs me to throw it, I throw it."

Woodard has earned almost every personal accolade a high school field athlete can earn, including a national championship in the shot put last June.

But Cherokee has never won a team sectional title. This year, the Chiefs are favored, along with Egg Harbor Township, for the team title in South Jersey Group 4.

"That's what it's all about for me right now," Woodard said. "I'm putting the team first. I've been on the same team with many of these girls since I was 7 years old. And it would mean a lot for us to have a strong performance."

Irons' will. The key to a good triple jump, Dominique Irons said, is high knees.

"And that comes naturally to me," the Haddon Heights senior said. "So I translated that into my running. All the things that have made me successful in the triple jump - the high knees, the quick start, the power - I've really learned to use those things to my advantage in track events."

Irons won his second Group 1 boys' sectional title in the triple jump with a distance of 45-71/2. He also won his first sectional title in the 100 meters in 10.88 seconds.

"It means a lot to get both titles," said Irons, who will compete in track and field at North Carolina. "This is my last time through these events in high school.

"I'm just trying to do everything I can to go out on top."

Three-peat. Faleesha Dowe is again proving to be one of the top Group 1 girls' runners in the state.

The Penns Grove junior three-peated in the South Jersey Group 1 400 meters. She finished in 57.40.

"It's not my best time, which is expected because of the cold," Dowe said. "But it's still a great feeling to win."

Penns Grove is the defending sectional Group 1 champion, and is, again, overwhelmingly favored to win.

"We've been training so hard," said Dowe, who is set to run the 200 and the 4x100 and 4x400 relays on Saturday. "We want to win sectionals again, and we think we can win states this year. That's what we've been working for."