Briana Gess wasn't happy with her performance.
The anchor for Haddonfield helped the Bulldogs take second place in the girls' distance medley relay Championship of America on Thursday at the Penn Relays at Franklin Field. They were beaten by West Springfield (Va.), a team that also outran Haddonfield at the New Balance Indoor Nationals in March.
Indoors, Haddonfield took silver by less than a second. Outdoors, the margin was nearly 10 seconds.
Although Gess and her teammates - Shelby Cain, Carly Bonnet, and Kaitlyn Bonnet - agreed that a second-place finish at the Penn Relays is something to be proud of, they weren't fully satisfied.
"We set such high expectations for ourselves that anything less than first is like, 'Ooh,' " Gess said. "But we have to put it in perspective."
Haddonfield finished in 12 minutes, 2.37 seconds, and West Springfield ran the relay in 11:53.07. The Virginia team was boosted by its anchor, Caroline Alcorta, who ran her leg nearly six seconds faster than anyone else.
At the beginning of the second lap of the anchor leg - which is four laps long - Alcorta got a burst of speed and began overtaking runners, taking the lead for good from Suffern (N.Y.) just before the end of the second lap.
Gess said West Springfield ran an "amazing" race, adding that she expected Alcorta to slow down, which would have allowed Gess to close the gap.
"I don't know why I didn't go with [the leader]," Gess said. "Just not feeling good today."
The Haddonfield relay runners have not been running together for very long, since both Gess and Kaitlyn Bonnet are freshmen. Gess said the indoor national race, on March 14, was the first time the quartet ran a race together.
"We're close socially," Kaitlyn Bonnet said. "We're all really good friends. We'll just go out there and run for each other. It doesn't really matter how long you've been together."
Whereas the Bulldogs said racing at Franklin Field was fun but distracting, the Lenape girls' 4x400 relay runners said they loved running there.
The Indians won the South Jersey Large School final with a time of 3:58.42. Their leadoff runner, Carly Pettipaw, took a lead that her teammates never relinquished. Pettipaw ran her leg in 58.86 and was the only leadoff runner to complete the leg in less than a minute.
The race was restarted after a few seconds because of a girl falling, so the runners had to reset themselves. Pettipaw said the restart didn't affect her mentality, but it did tire her a bit.
"The first time I was out [to a lead], but the second time, I kind of got boxed in," Pettipaw said. "I tried to run with it and get a lead for my teammates."
Ariel Mitchell, the anchor, took the baton with a lead, but knew that Winslow Township's Torie Robinson, a senior who has committed to Clemson, was right behind. Robinson ran her leg in 57.63, the fastest leg of anyone in the race, but Lenape had enough of a lead that it didn't matter.
"I knew she was a really good runner," Mitchell said of Robinson. "I just wanted to establish and keep that lead. I didn't want her to come up on me, because I know she can be a stronger runner than me. She is."
Robinson also ran on Winslow's 4x100 team along with Brittany Preston, DeAnn Cross, and Cidea'a Woods. That team came in 11th in the Large School heats, running a 48.09. The Eagles missed out on qualifying for the Championship of America, but they will run in the Large School final Friday.
Robinson was also the second seed in the 400-meter hurdles. She finished 10th with a time of 1:02.87. Kingsway's Thalia Cooper ran the course in 1:06.01, good for 16th place.
Woods placed fifth in the girls' long jump championship with a leap of 19 feet, 31/4 inches.
Delsea won the 4x400 girls' South Jersey Small School final. Sabrina Burrell, Cece Gerstenbacher, Ciara Moore, and Christina Barbaro ran a time of 4:06.24. Audubon came in second.