Sterling senior Madison Coppolino won her first South Jersey title in cross-country on Saturday.
Coppolino finished in 18 minutes, 29 seconds to pull away from the field and capture the Group 2 sectional crown at Delsea.
Coppolino finished nearly a full minute ahead of the second-place finisher, Madison Edwards of Cinnaminson, who ran 19:20.
Coppolino advanced to the state championships next Saturday at Holmdel Park.
Coppolino's twin sister, Sydney, is a soccer player in the fall. In the spring, the siblings run for the Sterling track team.
Q: How did the sectional race go?
A: It went pretty good. I wanted to go out a little faster, but I'm still happy about winning.
Q: Coming into the season, was winning a South Jersey title one of your goals?
A: It wasn't something I thought about a lot. It was sort of in the back of my mind. But once we entered into our championship season I was like, "OK, I got this."
Q: What are your thoughts heading into the state championships next week?
A: I'm really excited,. This race definitely got me more hyped up. So I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully it will be faster and I'll have a lot of competition.
Q: What do you think of the course at Holmdel?
A: I like it. I don't necessarily run fast times there all the time, but it's a fun course, good atmosphere. It's just always an exciting race. Lots of talent.
Q: When did you start running cross-country?
A: Middle school. Me and my sister, we were part of a group that all went out for it and everyone else dropped off and we stuck with it.
Q: What is it about running that you like so much?
A: I like being busy, if that makes sense. So it takes a lot of time, school, running, homework. I like the idea of staying healthy. It helps me clear my mind, gives me time to think. And I love the people. That's another thing. I've met so many amazing people, even outside of my team. People I would never have known.
Q: Are you and your twin sister, Sydney, very competitive with each other?
A: She's more competitive than me. I think we look at each more as teammates than competitors. We don't do the same races a lot. We do a lot of relays together. But when we are in the same race, we tend to use each other and help each other.
Q: What's the best thing about Sterling?
A: Definitely the people. They're great. I love them. We have great school spirit.
Q: What's your favorite TV show?
A: I started watching Stranger Things [sci-fi/horror series on Netflix]. It's really good.
Q: Who has been the biggest influence on you as a runner?
A: Can I say more than one? I'd say Coach [Jeff] McIlvaine and Coach Blum [Jim Blumenstein]. And my sister.
Q: Are you one of those runners who loads up on pasta the night before a race?
A: I really like pasta. It's not necessarily for carbs. It's mostly because I love pasta.