Indoor national performance bodes well for Haddonfield girls

Haddonfield's Kaitlyn Bonnet, Carly Bonnet, Shelby Cain, and Briana Gess posted the second-fastest time in the distance medley relay in N.J. indoor track history March 14.
Haddonfield's Kaitlyn Bonnet, Carly Bonnet, Shelby Cain, and Briana Gess posted the second-fastest time in the distance medley relay in N.J. indoor track history March 14.
Posted: March 23, 2014

The last event of the winter heralded what could be a remarkable spring for the Haddonfield girls' track team.

With freshman Briana Gess running an eye-opening split on the anchor leg, four Haddonfield girls produced the second-fastest time in the distance medley relay in New Jersey indoor track history. They did it March 14 at the New Balance Nationals at the Armory in New York.

"Every single girl ran their best," Haddonfield coach Jason Russo said. "That's so rare in a relay."

Gess, running in the first high school track event of her career and just days removed from the end of the basketball season, brought Haddonfield home with a stunning split of 4 minutes, 48.64 seconds on her 1,600-meter leg.

Senior Shelby Cain opened the race for Haddonfield with a 3:38.99 split for the 1,200. Junior Carly Bonnet ran 58.21 for 400. Her younger sister, freshman Kaitlyn Bonnet, completed the 800 leg in 2:18.10.

"It was one of the best races I've ever seen in my career," Russo said.

Haddonfield finished second in the race in 11:43.94. That is the No. 2 time in state history in the event, behind only the 11:41.12 run in 2009 by a Southern Regional team that included future University of Michigan stars Danielle Tauro and Jill Smith.

The Haddonfield team's time shattered the South Jersey record of 11:54.63, set in 2013 by Lenape.

West Springfield of Virginia won the race in 11:43.39.

The Haddonfield girls were competing as the Haddonfield Track Club, because the indoor nationals were not an NJSIAA-sanctioned event.

But the performance, as well as those by Haddonfield's 4 x mile and sprint medley relays at the competition, trumpeted the possibilities of a special spring season for the Bulldogs.

That's especially true for Gess, the precocious freshman who won the Meet of Champions in cross-country last fall. Barring injury, she seems poised to take the state outdoor track scene by storm this spring.

"We had her run a time trial on [March 10]," Russo said. "It went phenomenally well. We were thinking she might be able to break five minutes for the [1,600].

"With a kid like Bri, you know how she is going to run. She ran great, but all the girls ran great.

"It kind of let us know that we could have some great things to come this spring."


panastasia@phillynews.com

@PhilAnastasia

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